I was invited to meet the founder and CEO of “Kidlandia”, a great online company that allows kids and parents to create personalized kingdoms together, and I wanted to tell you more about their designs that can be produced on over 20 products and their new coloring app launched on the iPad this summer!
I have also found a wonderful yoga class with Amanda Mount that is taking place outside this summer, which is the best way to decompress at the end of the day!
I was lucky enough to be invited to meet Brian Backus, founder and CEO of “Kidlandia” based in San Francisco. Kidlandia is an online destination that offers personalized gifts for children’s rooms that you can create with your child on the computer. Designing one of their unique maps and fantasy kingdoms is a fun and educational activity to do together full of “teachable moments” that engages your child in geography and their family tree.
Brian, tell us how and when was Kidlandia created?
“Kidandia was founded in 2008, based on little monsters that I have been drawing since I was 4 years old, when Dr. Seuss lived next door to my great aunt and he would come over for Sunday tea which was certainly an inspiration. Then I became a biologist and became very interested in eco systems and the way different animals all interact to create an environment. As I kept drawing I became obsessed with maps and was the navigator on a family vacations to make sure we wouldn’t get lost.
As an adult I started illustrating personalized maps and fantasy kingdoms for kid’s rooms for fun and for the love of it. I was very lucky that I could never keep up with demand. I was making them by hand and the commissioned work was very expensive, costing about $2,000 to produce. When I was a software producer working at Disney Interactive, one of my clients said; I am going to write you a check so you can do this as a company! We then realized that the platform could work for the Disney movies”
Kidlandia offers Disney designs such as Disney Princesses, Cars, Toy Story, Winnie the Pooh, also the Nickelodeon brands; SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer versions, with more exciting licensing agreements to come!
“We started doing them on various products such as placemats, posters, growth charts, and fleece blankets, but what was delightfully was that our own little characters called “Kreechurs” that we created sold just as well if not better than most of our licensed characters, 3 to 1 in fact”.
How can we create a personalized Kidlandia map with our child?
“When you find a product you like and find a design you like, for example a canvas scroll of a fantasy kingdom for a child named ‘Carter’, you can name the main city, the main mountain, a lake and ocean after Carter, as he is the king. The national holiday is his birthday, with an aspirational story about him, and other elements in the map can be named after his parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles etc. Carter’s brother is called Will so a plot of land is named after him called ‘Willtopia’ and so on.
It is essentially a family tree or a social network for a child, and you can add as many or as few names on the map as you like. When you work on a map it is a fun way to learn and engage a child in geography, you put their name on it and it instantly becomes more interesting to them.
Adding relatives who may live abroad gives the child a consciousness as too how far family are in relation to themselves. My sister lives in Italy and my children don’t get to see their cousins that often, so when designing your personalized map with your child you can add information in the text about the different places around the world and who lives where.
What is amazing about a map in terms of connecting to cognitive function is there are cues beyond text, such as ‘size cues’, ‘shape cues’ and ‘distance cues’; all kinds of things that will tell a child a piece of information which can be hard to get across just verbally.
The information you add to the map will stay in the cloud and you can add to it over time so you can see it as a project that grows with your child. It is about decorating on one level and family memories on another level. The work in progress or finished article can also be emailed to a family member such as a Grandparent so they can share in the joy of this unique piece of artwork. You can start a project as a poster and if you really love it you can invest in a high-quality fine art print on canvas that will be packaged in a travel-friendly tube for the customer.”
Kidlandia have recently launched their Kreechur Coloring mobile app for the iPad that allows children to personalize their favorite characters with touch screen colors.
Tell us about the new Kidlandia iPad app?
“The Kidlandia iPad app is a very simple but sweet coloring app, you can choose your favorite ‘Kreechar’ and color it in different colors from the color spectrum, and also create your own shade of color. Each character has a special story such as ‘Thumblebottom’ (pictured) who can’t stop talking, he is a gossip so you have to be very careful what you tell him, he also has big eyes and is afraid of the dark. In the future children will be able to create their own characters, as it is an art education application and creativity is very much the intention.”
The app offers hours of fun with this easy to use interface that features you favorite ‘Kreechar’ in 24 different castles and kingdom scenes, which you can share on Facebook or print them at home. The app is free and available at the iTunes app store, it will also launch on the iPhone and iPod Touch later this summer; click here to download app
Brian’s quest is to make a website that is fun for both the child and parent to use, to make the creative process a journey that you can both take together which is constantly evolving and can be stored in the cloud and updated as you child grow. It is a great company and there are exciting developments in the future for Kidlandia whose brand pillars are “Personalize it, Rule it, Make it!”
Kidlandia Discount Offer & Giveaway!
The Marin Scoop is giving you the chance to get 20% discount on your Kidlandia online order by using the code “momblog20” on their website; view website
Also the first 25 people to email me with “Kidlandia Giveaway” in the subject line will be able to spend $35 on their website.
Kidlandia are also celebrating the launch of the Kreechar Coloring app with a giveaway of an iPad2 by entering a competition on their website or by “Liking” Kidlandia on Facebook at: Facebook page
Summer Yoga Class with Amanda Mount
As moms we know how important it is to carve out some time to decompress at the end of the day, and what better way to do that but to enjoy yoga in the outdoor setting of Oleander Park in Terra Linda.
Amanda Mount is a wonderful yoga teacher whom I met while doing her Pre-natal yoga class at Yogaworks in Larkspur Landing. This summer she is offering classes in the park every Monday and Wednesday at 7.00 – 8.15 pm. Teaching will be adjusted to all levels so you just need to bring your matt and an extremely reasonable $10 donation.
Amanda says; “Benefits to practicing outside in the fresh warm air during the summer is saluting the sun during your sun salutations, watching the sunset, freedom with the open space and softness of the grace is more forgiving.”
I certainly agree and will be enjoying yoga in the golden evening sunlight, surrounded by rolling hills throughout the summer with the anticipation of Amanda’s new “Embrace Yoga” studio that will soon be opening in the Terra Linda Shopping center off Manuel T Freitas Parkway (by Three Twins Ice-Cream Parlor and Scotty’s Market). Amanda will be starting pre-sale memberships and teaching in late August, more information to come!
Directions to class: Exit Hwy 101 at Terra Linda/Freitas Pwy, turn right on Las Gallinas Ave and right onto Oleander Drive.
Baby & Toddler Weekly Activities Calendars
Looking for something to do to entertain your toddler or want to reach out to new moms with babies this week?
Click on the ‘Weekly Calendar’ bar at the top of the page to view this week’s “Baby & Toddler Weekly Activities Calendar”.