Imagine Box create Heuristic and Educational play boxes for 0-5yr old children. Our aim is to encourage imagination, free play and to make available natural and creative toys. We strongly advocate letting kids explore things in their own time and in any way, they want in a positive sense. I love the environment and offer an alternative to plastic toys that have a pre-determined outcome and get used a few times then the kids move on. My boxes have the flexibility to grow and change with your child. I came up with the idea originally as a gift for my coffee groups kids and my nephews. My background is in Outdoor Education so it was natural for me to get my kids into the outdoors and encourage imagination and free play. Imagine Box is based on the values that I have from working in the outdoors. Our target market is Early Childhood Educators and Parents of 0-5yrs olds. We love a mixture of natural and man-made products. I have 5 types of boxes; 1. Mixed Age Box $90 2. Young Child $120 3. Toddler $120 4. Infant $120 5. Build your own $50-$60 The boxes all come ready to use and included is a NZ made handcrafted wooden box that is made in NZ by The Vally Crafstman, ensuring each box in unique. Each box has two holes, one that fits an adult hand and one that fits a child's hand. Each box has my logo and 20 specific words laser engraved onto the lid and sides. My point of difference from other companies is the Activity booklets I have created from scratch. I looked at the different developmental stages of children and chose items that fit with what the child is into at that stage. Then I went thru the ECE Curriculum and created activities that use these items and explore the concepts at that developmental age. The objects are a mixture of natural and man-made items. It includes objects with different textures, weights, sizes, malleability, sounds, and colours to provide diverse opportunities for a child. There are two ways to use the box; 1. Heuristic Play (free exploring) and there are instructions on how to set up the environment to encourage this in the booklet. 2. A activity booklet with specific activities that are linked to the 2017 NZ Early Childhood Curriculum - Te Whariki.
I started Imagine Box after I gave birth to my second child. I was missing working as an outdoor educator and was finding raising kids with no family around and my husband working long hours very challenging. I realised that I had post-natal anxiety, after some research and reflection on my past challenges. My husband and I decided to dip into our savings and hire a nanny and pay for a life coach for me instead of the free counselling that was available to me. From an idea, I created it and I have achieved a lot since then, it has given me something positive to focus on and the learning has been very satisfying. All my achievements have been done in less than 5hrs a week, as I was also a full time mum. I am here to inspire you to get out there and achieve your dreams, by showing you with my actions that you can achieve anything you want to. I am very proud that Imagine Box has survived the challenges of Covid and me crashing my car in 2019 and the ongoing repercussions of this. I am still aiming high and keen to get children outside and to let them play, create and have fun. I love that my business is adaptable in these times of change, being all online will allow me to keep on growing. I am proud to be supporting the environment and offering an alternative to one use plastic toys with a set outcome. I love giving children natural play items that I have found in the outdoors, that they might not otherwise have access to. How many people can say that wondering along a beach, barefoot with your children and collecting shells and driftwood is your work for the day? How lucky are we in New Zealand with our amazing outdoors that we have on our doorsteps and the freedom we have to get out there? Voting for me gives my small business a wider reach and allows me to continue learning and growing. Thanks for reading my story.