Tag Archives: children

New Foods for Toy Kitchens

The humble toy kitchen that kids play with has come a long way with the food selection. While many of us grew up with the old standard toy foods such as cereal, eggs, fruit, and juices, diets and food choices have changed dramatically in the last few years.

Adults (and their children) now dine on more global foods such as charcuterie boards, sushi, dim sum, tacos, tortillas, fish cakes, and more. So it makes sense that their kids want to cook those types of foods in their play kitchens. Children grow up in a connected world – they can use foods to experience different cultures as well.

For brands, it’s a great opportunity to market to the parents of tomorrow’s shoppers – the kids. Marketers need to respond to all types of new trends and things that interest the consumers. Food clearly reflects consumers wants at the time.

The toy foods also help get kids interested in trying new foods, plus learn about the culture of the food. For example, a child who likes to play with the sushi kit might become curious about Japan and its culture.

Toy designers have been careful in how they present cultural foods. For example,

labels for the taco set are written in English and Spanish. And there is opportunity to explore all sorts of cultural and geographic foods. Food definitely helps us learn about the world.

My favorite toy – the toy cappuccino machine.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the types of foods that students eat.
  2. Show the websites of toy food companies.
  3. Short video about a play cappuccino machine: https://youtu.be/zMtS6CFvmjo
  4. Melissa and Doug: https://www.melissaanddoug.com/products/fill-fold-taco-tortilla-set
  5. Learning Resources: https://www.learningresources.com/noodle-knockout-8482-fine-motor-game
  6. Maisonette: https://www.maisonette.com/product/charcuterie-basket?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=wp_g_conv_ff_pmax_all_play_0&utm_content=g_conv_ff_0_pmax_all_play_0_0_0&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQjw2cWgBhDYARIsALggUhqN0W_GhU6Yc9mKLwlgmR7pKlu6drzy3SMphVufFwnAHwn-abC2zmQaAolGEALw_wcB
  7. Tender Leaf: https://www.tenderleaftoys.com/products/babyccino-maker
  8. Divide students into team. Have each team select a toy food group and prepare a marketing plan. Include sections on target market and promotional plans.

Source:  Morales, C. (3 March 2023). In the toy kitchen, tacos, lumpia and charcuterie are on the menu. New York Times.

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Who Smells?

Most of your students are probably in their late teens or early twenties. They can surely remember how it felt to go through puberty and all the physical changes it wrought in them. Using ‘adult’ products may have felt too old and stodgy, but the ‘youth’ products may not have fit all the needs too.

Deodorant is one of those tricky products to choose as youths turn into adults. Deodorant is used daily by 90% of Americans aged 18 – 29. That’s a lot of product and it comes at a time when the younger consumer is trying on different products and personalities to fit their needs.

Entering the tween/teen market with a fresh approach is Miles, a deodorant designed specifically for teens. The products were designed to help ease the stress of being a teen and uses inclusive branding for all teens, regardless of gender, expectations, or activities. While legacy deodorant brands represent a more traditional view of manhood, Gen Z views themselves with more focus on individuality. Key words for the product are clean, rugged, and fresh – quickly conveying the scents and brand focus.

Only sold online currently, Miles is sold at $8.99/unit. It will also be available this spring at Target stores.

What does your deodorant smell like?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Miles’ website: https://hey-miles.com/
  2. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  3. In the case of Miles, is the buyer the same as the product user? What are the differences between the two groups?
  4. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Miles. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  5. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  6. Next, have each team select three different tactics to use for Miles. Explain why each tactic was selected and how it will be used.
  7. Debrief by putting together the entire suggested lists on the white board. As a final step, have the entire class vote on the top three tactics to use.

Source:  Norfleet, N. (24 February 2023) Sweet smell of success? Deodorant line hopes so. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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Are Apple Watches for Kids?

A quick poll: How many of you have an Apple Watch (or similar smart watch)? What age were you when you got the smart watch?

Now, how many of you think young children (under age 10) should also have a smart watch? Hmm…. Interesting.

Smart watches are now moving to younger children for activity tracking. And, Apple is now actively targeted families with young children for their Apple Watch, promoting the device as a way to reach and track their children. Offered as a simpler and cheaper watch – the Apple Watch SE includes a feature called “Family Setup.” This software allows parents to track children’s location, manage contacts, and limit notifications. (No iPhone is needed for the kids.)

But of course any technology intended for, or used by, children presents questions and concerns for its use. In particular, social media is seen as dangerous to young children as is the increase in amount of time spent viewing ‘screens’. However, smart watches have limited applications; no cameras or browsers so there are fewer games and opportunities for accessing adult content. Parents want connection, but don’t want children to have more screens or screen time. Starting at $249, the Apple Watch SE is cheaper than iPhones or other smart watches, but that is still a hefty price tag.

Where are your kids playing today?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What is their opinion about Apple Watches for young children?
  2. Show video about family setup with watch: https://youtu.be/Ga8hyrp2PkY
  3. Have any opinions changed after considering the video?
  4. Show Apple Watch website: https://www.apple.com/watch/
  5. Have students research other smart watches for children. They should develop a table to compare the watches, trackers, price, and functions.
  6. Garmin: https://www.garmin.com/en-US/c/sports-fitness/kids-wearables-fitness-activity-trackers/
  7. Fitbit: https://www.fitbit.com/global/us/products/trackers/ace3
  8. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a description of the target market (families with young children) for the watch.
  9. Have each team develop a promotional plan for marketing the watch to families with children.

Sources:  Huang, K. and Chen, B. (1 September 2022). An Apple Watch for your 5-year-old? More parents say yes. New York Times.

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