The Next Imagination Station
Every night when I was little, I asked my mom to tell me a story. “No, mommy. Tell me a story. Don’t read me one.” Every time she’d begin, I’d interrupt. “No, mommy: you be this character, and I’ll be that character, and then this happens…”
In retrospect, I was a pushy kid. It’s a memory that she shares time and time again, though, and remarks that I’ve always been a writer. I guess it was kind of obvious, what with the amount of imaginary friends I had to get me through elementary school. Bored? Eh, there’d be some invisible castle I could explore. Car ride dreary? I’d try to see an Iditarod sled running alongside us on the highway. Even in moments when I had things to entertain me, toys were always some sort of vessel to carry out whatever story ran through my heart. No matter where I was or what was happening, I could always count on my imagination to make it better. I still can and do.
The thing is, I might never have found creativity if I had never been bored. If there had been a toy to be a responsive friend, I might never have written 92-page sagas by the tenth grade. As much as kids hate boredom…it’s actually good to some extent.
That hypothetical toy, though? The one that’s responsive and can remember names and can entertain a kid for hours? It’s already here. Enter Ubooly, the brainchild of Isaac Squires and Carly Gloge. This is the first toy that’s actually designed to grow with a child. There’s far more potential for interest to stick: it’s app-based. New content is constantly being developed and uploaded, from language learning to science to stories. It’s all wrapped in a fluffy outer package that’s warm and friendly and looks like a neon teddy bear.
This is a revolutionary concept and once it hits the mainstream market, toys will never be the same. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for great tech that helps out lonely children and educates them at the same time. It’s exciting to see something so innovative. At the same time, however, I can’t help but think about what children might miss out on by, well… not missing much.
As much as I hated boredom in the moment, it now seems to me like broccoli: it makes you stronger, even if someone needs to impose it on you.
Leave a Reply