for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant


Globally loved toymaker LEGO has joined forces with Digital Blue to create a line of classic brick-themed electronic products for kids including digital cameras, MP3 players, walkie talkies and USB drives, as well as Boom boxes and alarm clock radios that feature over-sized LEGO elements. Due out this summer in both the U.S and Europe, the range looks as though it could be fresh out of a kit box. Unfortunately it is only a design theme and the products do not come apart, although enabling kids to build – and rebuild – their own gadgets would be the ultimate in customization, as well as offering a fantastic learning tool. Maybe that’s coming next…

via KidsTechReview

Filed under: brand extensions, for the children,


citizen journalismNews School Report is the BBC’s initiative to encourage 11-14-year-olds to become interested in journalism and the news. The BBC offers children from UK schools the chance to make their own video, audio or text-based news at school and to broadcast it for real, with the website becoming a live channel for one day. Launched last year with 120 schools and 3,000 students participating, the successful initiative streamed nine hours of school-based activities and pupils’ news reports, and this year has involved more than 10,000 students from over 250 schools across the country who are all readying themselves for their deadline- of 2pm GMT today, 13th March.

The BBC have also been supplying lesson plans and 200 journalist mentors to share first hand experiences of working in a newsroom and compiling their own stories with the students, and add support throughout the project. The schools will be acting like a real live newsroom, assembling their stories and deciding which order they are to be in by the deadline. They then publish their stories and broadcasts on their own school website which links to the School Report website for today via an interactive map. BBC News has the inside scoop:

Emulating professional journalists, participating 11 to 14-year-olds from over 250 schools are covering breaking news stories and broadcasting prepared reports on a range of topics including mobile phones, anti-social behaviour and body image.

Students from nine schools are holding politicians to account, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrat Party, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Ian Paisley, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and Presiding Officer of the National Assembly of Wales, Dafydd Elis Thomas.

Hollywood actor Dustin Hoffman, artists Rolf Harris and Dinos Chapman, and author Nick Hornby are among the celebrities who have already given interviews. Sport is high on the news agenda and Lord Coe, who chaired the successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and Minister for the Olympics Tessa Jowell both spoke to School Reporters. One group of students met the England women’s cricket captain Charlotte Edwards, while another is investigating the sporting pay scale for male and female athletes.

A dedicated TV channel and radio station is streaming from 9am today on the BBC News School Report site and through interactive TV

Filed under: education, for the children,



With the recent reports on McDonald’s being allowed to run it’s own A-level qualifications and Government offering cash incentives for losing weight, it seems that the British Government have got a bit confused in how best to educate the next generation. How refreshing then to see some people taking it upon themselves to teach children about the importance of giving rather than just receiving. The Observer reports on the Dragon School in Oxford’s new plan for ‘generosity’ classes, teaching philanthropy to the next generation of business brains. Having employed Daniel Gill as the exclusive private school’s director of social impact, Gill decided to introduce lessons on philanthropy as an alternative way to give back to the community.

‘I think it is crucial,’ he said about the initiative. ‘We are sowing the seeds for a new generation. We do want the pupils here to understand that by any stretch of the imagination they are privileged. We hope a lot of them will be successful in the future and in a position to give.’

Classes include giving children a pound, asking them to ‘grow it’ and then encouraging them to discuss which charity to donate to. They are also asked to consider whether their school fees have been well invested and to think about what else the money could be used for.

Beyond private school privilege, the article also comments on the Institute for Philanthropy, a non-profit organisation that aims to teach all people understand the impact of giving:

‘Philanthropy is not just about money; it is about time,’ said Musa Okwonga, a spokesman. Lending a charity a manager for two days a week could be equally valuable. The consultancy recently started working in a handful of state schools in London with 14 and 16-year-olds. ‘Giving is not an impulse, it is a skill,’ he said.

The organisation is running a Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – a unique programme designed to teach secondary school pupils the basic skills of effective giving and to highlight the positive impact they, as young people, can have on their communities.

Institute for Philanthropy

The Observer: Generosity Classes at Top School

Filed under: education, for the children, good,

Stab-Proof Clothing- the Future for a Safe Life?


With knife and gun crime on the rise in the UK, is Kevlar-lined clothing the future for safe living? One company certainly seems to think so. Bladerunner is an Essex-based company that makes protective clothing for police forces and security guards, and now also offers ’stab-proof’ Kevlar-lined hoodies so that gang youths can look cool and stay safe.

After a colleague’s policeman friend came across 14 and 15 year olds wearing stab-proof vests for protection on the streets, the company’s director Adrian Davis has apparently also approached schools in East London about the possibility of putting Kevlar linings into school uniforms. A scary thought, but if there’s no prevention at least there can be some protection.

via Political Gateway

Filed under: for the children, products with a purpose

GPS enabled feet!

GpstrainersGPS has been a lifesaver for many lost drivers, so why has it taken so long for someone to create a wearable option? Embedded with Quantum Satellite Technology, Isaac Daniel trainers will make sure you can always find your way. The company sells a range of technologically advanced GPS-enabled athletic footwear that not only give the safety assurance of a satellite tracking system, but also include monitoring capabilities that can measure the wearer’s heart rate, speed and body temperature. The shoes even come equipped with bluetooth technology and an internal microphone and speaker so that the wearer can call for help should it be needed.

An incredibly useful, potentially life-saving device for children, military personnel and active outdoor types, the newly-launched trainers offer ‘ultimate performance, comfort and unmatched safety’, delivered through the company’s 24-hour monitoring service which, for $19.95 per month, will track the wearer and locate them anywhere in the world.

USA Today has an interesting article with the founder Isaac Daniel who came up with the idea after being told (incorrectly) that his 8-year old son had gone missing. Read the full article here or get yourself a pair at fele online

Filed under: for the children, technology

The Return of Ettiquette- Teaching them Young


Seen at the MOCA store LA, these books by illustrator Munro Leaf were first published in the 1930s and 40s to teach manners, grammar and polite behaviour to very young children. Titles including How to Behave and Why, Manners Can Be Fun, and How to Speak Politely and Why, define correct behaviour in gentle and sweet guides illustrated with childlike drawings. The teachings reflect the ettiquette of its time, seen now as quaintly simple and yet surprisingly relevant. An interesting choice for a contemporary arts shop.

Also available online

Filed under: for the children, products with a purpose

Inchworm- Stretching the Life of your Shoes

With most companies nowadays promoting fast-fashion, disposable oInchwormptions, it’s nice to see that there are some who utilise new innovations to create products with more longevity. Inchworm shoes contain iFit technology which enables the shoe to expand up to three sizes, meaning one pair lasts a growing child on average six months longer.

The technology is easy to use- press the side button and pull the heel and toe away from each other to increase the shoe by half size increments. Sold in a variety of fun styles that appeal to their young audience, Inchworm have created a brilliantly simple, cost-effective idea that benefits both families and the environment.

Filed under: for the children, worth buying