Lockdown inspiration leads to Ballymena mum launching fab new kids toy
Ballymena woman Caitrin Kinkaid is celebrating the launch of a brand new fun educational toy, CubeFun, that she designed and has brought to market with help from the Go for It NI programme, and seed fund money from the Gallaher Trust.
CubeFun is a fun, educational resource that helps keep 3-8 year olds actively engaged during any playtime or activity session. Fundamentally kids party type-game, it is a soft plush cube with themed designs - farm, jungle, garden, and exercise, showing illustrated actions for the children to copy and move to.
The cube promotes spatial awareness, physical movement, colour recognition, turn taking, gross motor skills and encourages the development of young imaginations, and is becoming a valued resource for preschools, nurseries and creches.
The stay at home mum of two children, Cooper (3) and Carter (4), found inspiration during the lockdown of 2020 when faced with the challenge of keeping two active and imaginative boys entertained.
“Lockdown 2020 I was a stay at home mum with my two sons Cooper and Carter. Pre-lockdown my two very active boys attended swimming, gymnastics and jiu jitsu. When they could not get to the local park to burn off their excess energy, I spent lots of time outdoors on walks with them.
“However taking a 3 and 4 year old for a walk, alongside main roads is no easy feat; it was fine when they would both sit in the double buggy for me, but within a few months that became near impossible. They would cry and beg me to let them walk by themselves, I would give in, and spend the rest of the walk trying to manage two running kids with a double buggy in tow.
“So as a mummy, I knew I had to make these walks more calm for me and more fun as well as safe for the kids so that they wouldn't run off on me. I created the walk like a game... I would tell the kids to walk to the next red car like a penguin, walk to the lamppost like a turtle, run to the bus shelter like a cheetah, and so began our fun walks during lockdown 2020. The kids would do the actions of the animals and I would give them a designated location to wait for me, that was not too far ahead and safe.”
Caitrin continues: “By the summer of 2020 I had the two boys' birthday parties coming up and as we had to have a socially distanced outdoor party, I was thinking of some games that they could play with their cousins. During this time I happened to receive an amazon delivery in a perfectly cubed box. I knew I would repurpose it so I kept it and came up with the idea to draw some pictures of the animals doing the actions.
“We sat and decided on what animals the boys would like on the cube box and designed a walk like a crab, hop like a frog, waddle like a duck and glued these images onto the box.
“The party game was created!”
During the summer of 2020 the cardboard box, that became the prototype of CubeFun, was used at four different parties, then was repurposed again for a Halloween themed party in October.
The simple but fun and educational cardboard cube was a hit, and it’s success encouraged Caitrin and gave her the confidence to seek help to in getting the concept from a homemade cardboard box to be manufactured as a real toy.
The entrepreneur contacted Go for It NI in November 2020, and eight months later launched four themed products for sale through her dedicated website www.cubefun.co.uk
Reflecting over last 12 months, Caitrin said:
“I am beyond proud of the journey I have been on this last year and I am so grateful to have an army of supporters cheering me on.
“My plan is to sell my cubes to as many parents, schools, crèches, nurseries, and educational shops as I can. I am hoping to create a wider range of themes on my cubes and I have lots of ideas for different ones.
“Looking forward to the festive season, I am planning to release a Christmas themed CubeFun, and I am talking with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to hopefully sell through a pop-up shop and Christmas markets in December.”
For more information about CubeFun, visit Caitrin’s website at: