Last week we sat down with Director of Educational Toys Online, Danielle Copplin to ask her a few questions about the business and where it’s heading in the future.
How did you start Educational Toys Online?
“Educational Toys Online actually started as a side project, which I ran out of my spare bedroom for a few years. I’ve always been passionate about education and development, and fascinated with how learning through play can operate as an intervention for educational difficulties. I noticed there was an absence of online toy stores that provide support for different symptom sets, and that sparked an idea to build a platform run by psychologists, where people can come with a concern, and we can provide them with a toy able to engage that concern. I’ve been on a journey with the business, and it’s come a long way from where it started. Now we have multiple staff members, lots more products on our store and a much larger space to operate in.”
Do you remember the first educational toy you added to the store?
“I do! It was A Penny For Your Thoughts, an educational tool that we still love and sell today. In the early stages of developing the company, I was particularly interested in emotional processing through play, and came across the American duo of psychologists that created A Penny For Your Thoughts.”
“It’s an open play game that allows and encourages structured conversation, facilitating conversations between parents and children. We actually still use the game as a resource in our therapy sessions at Scope Psychology Services Australia!”
A Penny For Your Thoughts (The Game)
These 80 beautiful hand-illustrated communication cards help to bring a new level of connection with your children and tweens. They help kids to identify and talk about their feelings, teaching them skills that build confidence, help problem solve and increase their emotional connection.
What do you think makes Educational Toys Online stand out from the rest?
“I think it’s that we’re not all about aesthetics, we’re trying to provide toys that have real scientific benefits and give customers access to our knowledge about educational development. A customer can come to us with a child with language difficulties, and we’ll be able to find them a resource that facilitates their difficulties and helps them to develop it too. If our customers have any ideas on more ways we could provide them with this information (for example sending out information cards with each toy) we’d very much like to hear from them via our contact page.”
What’s your mission for Educational Toys Online?
“When I think about it, it’s not just about providing quality play, it’s about being able to educate parents, caregivers and health professionals about the best child-friendly resources that support brain development. There’s so much more than fun when it comes to toys. I don’t want parents to buy our toys just to hand them off, I’d like to see them ‘serve and return’ – respond and engage when their children reach out for interaction. That’s when educational toys provide the best value for kids!”
Where do you find your inspiration to lead the business?
“I’ve always loved learning and teaching. One of my favourite things is providing supervision for the psychologists at Scope Psychology Services Australia. Idea generating and all things creative give me energy, and I try to surround myself with professional people who derive similar joy from the same sources as well. I think all of our staff do a fantastic job of inspiring each other.”
What are your favourite educational toys that you’ve brought to the store?
“I’ve always felt a strong connection to the brand, Djeco. Not only do I love everything French, but I’ve found that all of their toys lead to thoughtful and open ended play. They remind me of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books, in the way that they spark idea generation and inspire you to create your own story.”
“Another brand that I can’t go without is PlanToys. I absolutely love the ethical ethos of the brand and how they’ve taken such a nuanced approach to sustainability. It’s inspirational and something that we are working towards as well.”
“Lastly, I’m really proud to support local businesses with heart. As an example, we stock lots of beautifully handmade wooden toys by My Little Set, created by a woman who once lived just down the road from me. These small businesses share the passion and integrity that goes beyond monetary value”
Rhyming Words – Memory Match
Butterfly Life Cycle Story Teller
The Dreaming Story Tellers