Today, Unruly Studios is opening up their first Kickstarter Campaign for the general public. Founder Bryanne Leeming and her team have spent all summer at the LearnLaunch Accelerator program refining their business and developing their product. Today, we sat down with Bryanne to ask her more about her product and her reasons for developing the product. If you share their vision and want help Unruly Studios reach their $40,000 goal, make sure to visit their page.
What is Unruly Studios?
Unruly Studios creates interactive games to empower kids with critical STEM skills while encouraging physical play and social engagement. Our products get kids moving around and engaging with the whole room for the their first ever experience of Active STEM Play.
Why did you decide to do this?
I studied cognitive science in undergrad and I’ve always been really interested in how people learn. Through my own personal experience, and exhaustive research, I’ve found that kids learn best through active experiential learning. At Unruly Studios, we are on a mission to teach kids the crucial 21st century technical skills but with a twist! We are changing the way kids learn STEAM by introducing physical play, social engagement and active learning in their learning experience.
Studies show that physical activity improves executive function for kids. A recent New York Times article read that physical activity for kids peaks at age seven and that two out of three kids in the US today are not getting enough exercise every day. I’ve been seeing this trend for a while now and I want to do something about it. I myself learned to code when I was about eight years old, and it really helped me later on in life. I wanted to create something that has a positive way of integrating the power of traditional play with the modern day tech learning experience
What has the reaction been?
It’s been great! We’ve tested the product with over 2,500 kids, parents and educators so far, in Boston and New York City, mostly. We’ve done testing and play testing, and brought the product out to places like Boston Children’s Museum, the Museum of Science (Boston), few YMCA programs, Girl Scouts and at events such as the Boston and New York Maker Faires, Newton STEAM Expo, Boston Festival of Indie Games and more! It’s been amazing how much traction we’ve gotten with that early audience. It’s just always amazing to see what kids come up with when they’re coding the Splats. They always want to stay at the booth, we even have kids crying when they have leave the booths,
which I think is a good sign? (laughs). We’ve always had great conversations with the parents and educators on how the product would really solve a challenge to get kids off-the-screen and playing!
Being open about our testing process throughout has been really crucial to our development because it has enabled us to include educators and parents in the process to make sure our product is truly educational and fun!
What are your next steps?
Well, one of the biggest moments for us is today! Unruly Studios is officially LIVE on Kickstarter! We love the Kickstarter community. They are big supporters of STEM products and are similar to the audience that has already expressed interest in our products at the Maker Faire’s. Jay Silver, the Founder of Makey-Makey and an advisor to Unruly Studios, experienced a very successful campaign and highly recommended that we use the platform for our launch.
We currently have designed the product for manufacturing. This summer, through the LearnLaunch Accelerator program, I brought on the Head of Design for Unruly Studios. He’s a Former VP Design at Hasbro and had worked at Mattel, so he’s been in the toy industry for over 30 years designing products for manufacturing. He has played a major role in helping us get to the next level to bring this product to market. There’s a lot going on, mostly a combination of running this Kickstarter and then going through the entire process of manufacturing the product so we can get it out for next holiday season.
Why is this an important product for now?
I think there are a lot of different reasons. The biggest one being screen-time. I think a lot of parents and teachers both are getting frustrated with the over six hours of screen time and have been waiting on a product not only lets kids consume and create media, but do so while having fun with their friends!
Technology is innovating and changing so fast. Everything we say, do, touch, create and consume has a component of tech, either in the back-end or front-end. Every year industries are getting wiped out and jobs are disappearing in those industries and are being replaced by newer technology like AR and machine learning. To thrive in this environment, you need to be able to think on your feet, solve problems with technology, and be creative digital problem solvers. We aim to help kids tap into their innate creativity, use the power of technology to actualize their creativity and build things for the real world.
The skills of today won’t be enough to solve the problems of tomorrow! Our product is important now to teach kids not only the technical hard skills, but more essentially the mind-set and logic of creative problem-solving.
Check out Unruly Splats on Kickstarter now to help support Unruly Studios!