The Land of Me
One Dad's adventure in the world of children's publishing. A great interactive online adventure
As someone involved in children's media and publishing you often feel that there are two distinct camps...
Paper or Pixels?
I think it's funny that most people are expected to be either pro or anti-technology. There's a suggestion that traditional values are at odds with modern technologies. When it comes to children this seems even more the case. A few years ago we started our company Made in Me in order to find ways to inspire children and their families to play and learn together. As a Dad with two small children I like traditional classic things but I'm a bit of a geek too. My kids are the same, although I'm convinced they're more impressed by pop-up books than they are the iPad. The most interesting thing to me though is that they don't really see the difference. They don't separate technology into it's own category like we grown-ups do.
So we started Made in Me because we thought it would be cool if we made beautiful toys and games for children out of whatever material seemed most appropriate. Paper, wood, wool, pixels... whatever! Equally, we wanted to make things that children and adults could enjoy together. I think it's pretty rare these days that media made for children recognises the adult as a member of the audience.
Well that was almost two years ago and no we're lucky enough to be doing just that. We've created The Land of Me, a family of products that encompasses both digital and physical materials and most of all has a traditional heart. Again there's an expectation that you're either a digital company or not but at the moment we're working on iPad apps and wooden toys!
Developmentally children need a variety of experiences as well as an accurate portrayal of the world they're growing up in. Whilst the idea of living in a treetop village without electronic devices of any kind might appeal to some it's probably not how our children will live. Technology is woven into the fabric of our lives and there's not a problem with that as long as we can keep things in check. After all it's not just children that face the challenges of understanding just how technology is going to affect our lives.
So The Land of Me is an example of this balanced approach, offering a screen-based starting point for all kinds of off-screen creative play. Our big news is that we've just partnered with Ladybird, our favourite children's publisher ever and so we're pinching ourselves right now about the chance to work with them to develop The Land of Me further. It's funny because always used to say we'd like to be the Ladybird of the digital generation. Well it turns out Ladybird would quite like that too, so everything has worked out well. 40 years after the first Ladybird books were published and adored by millions of people all over the world, they're now keen to explore how children can benefit from all the exciting new digital platforms out there. And well, that sounds like an awful lot fun to me!
If you're interested in taking your kids on a creative learning adventure through paper and pixels check out The Land of Me. You can watch the videos and try it for free at www.thelandofme.com.