Tablets and other tech devices are pretty much unavoidable, but innovators are finding ways to combine this new wave of technology with classic, "real" play. Thinker-Tinker CEO and founder Yuting Su wanted to find a better way to educate her toddler without so many screens and with more “tactile play," so she created the Octobo Interactive Sensory Plush toy using her medical informatics and game design masters degree background.
This incredible plush toy combines sensory experiences and technology to provide tangible learning opportunities that kids of all ages can really get their hands on, whether it’s playing the interactive games with Octobo, reading stories, learning fine and gross motor skills through soft touch, or all of the above. So instead of your kid passively learning by staring at your tablet screen, you simply insert a tablet into the Octobo and he comes to life through the app that the parent controls.
It started with humble beginnings as an idea and a Kickstarter Campaign in 2018, but Su has now been able to successfully create this interactive sensory plush toy, which “brings warmth and comfort to kids gadgets,” for kids of all ages — infant through 7 years old. Now a toy that grows with your child and is relevant throughout the majority of their childhood is hard to find. But this toy is just too cool, and I can't see how they'll ever shove it to the back of their closet.
While most kids' tech and gadgets are plastic, robotic, electronic, and definitely not soft and cuddly, the Octobo combines all of the technology and interaction of a tech toy with the comforting softness of a stuffed animal. This sensory toy was a hit at CES, and the fact that it can work for practically any kid in your family has to be part of the reason.
Infants can play with Octobo by grabbing, cuddling, and sinking their gums into the soft and cuddly body, causing Octobo to react to their touch. Younger toddlers can learn emotions by observing Octobo’s reactions to different interactions with him “such as poking his eye, wiggling his arms, etc." There’s even a storybook and app that will help guide the child through “developmentally appropriate tasks and puzzles.” For older toddlers through 5 years old, there’s an ABC storybook, Octobo and the Great Letter Search, and the “accompanying app,” which teaches kids everything from letters to spelling
The Octobo Starter Pack ($149, Thinker-Tinker) will work well for infants through 2-year-olds, and it includes the Ocotobo plush, six interactive tokens, the storytime play app, and the “Underwater Adventure Storykit and Audiobook,” per the website. And The Advance Pack ($200, Thinker-Tinker) “extends the starter pack to kids 3 through 7,” and it includes the starter pack mentioned above, 26 letter story tokens, a new storykit and audiobook, Octobo and the Great Letter Search, eight mini games to teach memory skills and spelling, and the spelling contest game mode.
This incredible toy was such a brilliant idea that in Spring 2020, Thinker-Tinker will be working with Universal Dreamworks to create a Trolls interactive plush and companion app for the new movie coming out. But if you don't want to wait that long, definitely head over to the Thinker-Tinker website and grab the OG Octobo.