Do you remember building fortresses with your friends and siblings as a kid? You would gather up the largest blankets and secure the corners to bedposts, doorknobs, and tightly shut drawers. Then underneath this two-feet high enclosure, you would layer in pillows and cushions, your favorite stuffed animals, action figures, and yourselves living there for hours.
This doesn’t happen as much anymore. Although kids still have the need for creative outlets, it is more and more being replaced with digital entertainment. ‘Screen time’ has become an important term in the modern American lexicon and parents are struggling with ways to limit, supplement or embrace it.
Husband and wife co-founders Bryan Thomas and Amelia Cosgrove experienced the same issues. Bryan has spent his career in solar energy and has experience with several startups. Amelia is a product design engineer. The couple resides in Austin, Texas, and together, they have come up with a neat idea for the kids.
The couple’s solution to this problem is called PopUp Play --moving kids from screen time to play time. The idea begins with what kids are familiar with—an application. In the application is a Build Lab where the child can create a framework such as a castle or rocket ship. This framework can be modified with different cutouts (windows and doors) and even a tower for the castle. The PopUp Play is further personalized by selecting artwork and characters to fill its outer walls.
Now, the real fun can begin when the digital creation is transferred to large fiberboard sheets and flat-packed to your home. The PopUp Play comes to life in real 3D, fitting together at the seams like Lincoln Logs. Once the children have constructed their fortress, the final touch will be to color in the artwork and characters on it's walls.
When play is done the PopUp Play can be disassembled and tucked out of the way under a bed. With only a little more than a week to go, the PopUp Play can still be backed on Kickstarter for as little as $49.
The couple is very excited with the concept of and purpose behind PopUp Play and others seem to agree as well. Amelia shared, “over time, we shared the idea with family, friends and strangers. We knew we had something good when they would encourage us to quit our jobs and start it right away”.
For the short term future of PopUp Play enhancements will be made to the app. Currently it is only supported on iOS but they are hopeful to have an Android version by year’s end. More frameworks will be offered (like a pirate ship or fire station per the Kickstarter pitch video). For the Long term Amelia stated, “we expect PopUp Play to grow as more kids mix technology with their play time. We see ourselves making additional toys and apps that inspire kids to imagine, create, and play.”
PopUp Play is a brilliant idea well deserving of this Thursday POP review! Please check it out.
PopUp Play’s Kickstarter Campaign Page
PopUp Play’s Website