The obligatory references to the film Big, made by almost everyone outside of the industry who asks what it is we all do, aside, a career in toys is often a fascinating and fulfilling one. It’s peculiar then that it is also a career, that, for many of us, we have by one route or another, fallen into.
That it is a sector that attracts and retains such a wide-spanning wealth of talent, from product design and manufacture, to marketing innovation and determined retail, there to make sure that what the industry has to offer is placed in the hands of the next generation, is only testament to its own strength.
In a continuing series of features, interviews, and articles, ToyNews will be celebrating what it means to work within the toy industry, gathering an entire spectrum of perspectives, and opening up the floor to conversations around personal experiences, triumphs and the hurdles that present themselves; day to day, year by year, in an ever-progressive business of toys.
Continuing ToyNews’ new Inside the Industry series, we hand over to the CEO and co-founder of the award-winning Twin Science, Asude Altintas as she shares the journey that put her and her company on the path to empowering the change-makers of tomorrow through play.
Reflecting on the beginning of Twin Science, the thing that inspired me most was seeing how education, if developed with the right values and leveraged well, could transform the circumstances of a community and its members. Twin Science from the very start was a project with humanitarian values in mind.
In fact, Twin’s roots were founded almost 10 years ago as a social responsibility project while I was volunteering alongside those who would be my future co-founders at YGA, an NGO based in Turkey. My time and work at YGA left a deep impression on me. We had focused on educating kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds, especially those in disadvantaged and under-served communities.
My peers and I saw that kids, particularly those in underdeveloped areas, were not receiving the kind of education that equipped them with the right kind of skills to succeed in the 21st century nor motivated them to bring about positive change. After extensive travels around the world with YGA and reaching over 20,000 children through the social impact known as the Science Movement, my co-founders and I were inspired to create a new way for students to develop skills and be inspired to learn through play.
With issues such as climate change, economic crisis and pandemics looming large on the horizon, it is now more critical than ever to equip kids with the right kind of skills so they can confidently and competently become the change-makers of tomorrow.
“Tackling the problems of the future will require individuals to not only be well rounded in important subject matters like STEM fields, but also carry within them a deep sense of social responsibility.”
At Twin Science, our quest is to do just that. We wish to affect a positive change in the world by raising double-winged individuals through a wholesome STEAM education. The first wing represents strong competences in different subject areas while the second wing denotes highly developed 21st century skills and a strong sense of social responsibility. By growing these two wings, kids will be empowered to fly high and have a truly positive impact on our world. We believe that to raise such individuals, we need to make learning fun, engaging and inspiring.
With making fun, hands-on learning projects in mind, Twin Kits were meant to be easy to use and accessible to all. Our magnetic modules can easily be attached and detached and integrated into everyday play since they are compatible with building blocks like LEGO. Kids can play and learn by following our curriculum or tinker away with the modules and see where their imagination takes them, all while developing crucial STEM skills.
The kits encourage kids to question, and problem-solve every step of the way, providing them with a medium to hone their 21st century skills. Our flagship product is the Twing app. We’ve found a way to make screen time more productive for children – Twing provides skill-based development based on our unique lecture concepts, hands-on challenges and quizzes. Kids can discover hundreds of skills and competencies this way while having fun.
Tackling the problems of the future will require individuals to not only be well rounded in important subject matters like STEM fields, but also carry within them a deep sense of social responsibility and strong core values. By instilling children with our double-winged approach to play and education, we hope to pave the path forward to a brighter and more hopeful future.
I write all this from a place of optimism and the knowledge that we are on the right path to cultivating such double-winged children. Within the fairly short lifespan of Twin, I have already heard inspiring stories – though, there is one in particular that I’d like to share: a boy who was studying in an underprivileged school in Anatolia developed an alarm system using our Twin Science Kits because he had seen on the news that a child had died because they were left and forgotten in the bus. His taking the initiative after witnessing a problem and turning it into an opportunity to create a positive impact in his community should be an inspiration to us all.