I recently attended a launch party organized to introduce Maynards Discovery Patch – bags of fruit-flavoured jelly sweet. What was interested about this product was the philosophy behind the product: it was based on a study by Dr. Amanda Gummer about how important it is for children to use their imagination and how parents could encourage and support this process.
The study says that our children have too many adult-lead activities where the answers are provided for them, rather than allowing children to have free play where they are encouraged to explore and innovate themselves. Imagination is important because the ability to use it has been linked to good school and adult career success. Therefore the key question is why we aren’t encouraging our children more to explore and innovate themselves?
I loved the tips we picked from the session and from Dr. Gummer on doing story-telling with our children together, using discovery games of guessing objects blindfolded and so on. At this point I was still wondering how these important topics were linked to bags of sweeties?
The answer lies in the sweeties themselves: there are three kinds of bags of these fun-shaped jellies: Body Bits, Animals and Myths and Monsters. Each bag has fun facts for the kids to learn, and there is a free app that can be used to scan the front of the bags to reveal a discovery game for the children relevant to the topic of the bag.
I put my three children to test both the sweeties and the game and they had a good time. The sweeties were well received, and I’d rather that if they eat sweeties, the ones they eat are low in (saturated) fat and salt – and have no E-additives, so these products gets mom’s seal of approval.
What about the app then? It is geared to reading age children; whereas my nearly 5-year-old twins enjoy trying to capture their creatures, their reading is still rather slow for the fact part – but they still keep asking for more playtime. My oldest (aged 9) liked the app and went outside to hunt for more animals, but she got them all captured pretty quickly, and she was asking whether there will be more items to capture in the future.
All in all I think that the Discovery Patch App is a great idea to complement the sweets and to differentiate them from the ordinary sweets, but to keep children coming back one might need to consider developing more content in the future.