WATCH Lyka travel around the world!
How it Started and Why it's Important
I’m dyslexic. It’s something that has challenged me throughout my life. In elementary school I was almost held back twice. It was only thanks to the efforts of my mother working with me during summer vacations that I was able to keep up. So when my son, who is now 6, started to exhibit what his school at the time determined were “focus” issues they wanted to test him, to label him and then suggested that we should consider medication. Feeling as if the cycle would repeat itself, my wife and I decided to pull him out of that school and place him in a Montessori program. The results have been amazing as he’s taken to the discovery-based approach, which allows him to learn at his own pace. The methods are very much in line with 21st century skills.
Inspired, I decided to create an educational initiative that brings an experiential learning approach to parents and students, no matter if they can afford a Montessori program or not. Three years ago my team and myself at Connected Sparks began an educational adventure of our own. We formed a startup whose sole focus is to create toys and stories with passion and purpose. Our first effort is entitled Lyka’s Adventure and it centers on a small robot scientist from another planet with a big heart. She travels to Earth in an effort to save her home, which has been decimated by climate change. On Earth she learns about planet Earth from a fish-out-of-water perspective, which provides a unique foundation for teaching about earth science and igniting children's curiosity to explore the world around them. Lyka’s Adventure gives your child the tools they need to become responsible global citizens on planet Earth. Her story is a beautiful metaphor for our own collective story of habitants on planet Earth. The book series and app guides children through different experiences in which children learn how to converse life on planet earth with their sidekick and friend, Lyka!
At Connected Sparks we aim to provide parents, teachers and schools with storyworlds that challenge children in a way that inspires and ignites their imaginations and creativity. Our approach is rooted in amazing storytelling, strong characters, and innovative uses of emerging and established technology along with a healthy dose of play and design thinking.
- LANCE WEILER (co-founder of Connected Sparks)
What People Are Saying
What is Lyka’s Adventure
Lyka’s Adventure allows children to travel the world with a curious cute robot from another planet. Children help Lyka to get back home by finding 8 hidden capsules around the globe, 7 on each continent. Children play with the platform and bring Lyka to life by interacting with an 8 chapter book series, an interactive toy, and their own imagination’s.
Why is Lyka traveling planet Earth?
Lyka’s on a mission to save her home planet by finding 8 capsules hidden on Planet Ahmee and Planet Earth. As she travels she wants to meet all the children on Planet Earth in order to learn from them and complete her mission.
How is this product and experience good for my child?
Lyka’s Adventure sparks the most crucial and invaluable ingredient of learning - curiosity. Children aren’t learning this - every child already does this - Lyka’s Adventure is merely creating an environment where curiosity and exploration can thrive. Children will get to travel with Lyka, as she learns about planet earth for the first time.
(Illustration from Book One: Lyka and the Secret Forest)
How is this educational?Lyka’s Adventure is a unique educational product that includes a trip around the world with a lovable robot that is featured in a series of chapter books published by Penguin Books. Lyka’s book series and interactive toy is vetted by educators and is designed to get children excited about the world around them. Lyka becomes a storyteller and messenger for kids to share and learn with.
Why do you want Lyka’s Adventure in your home?Lyka’s Adventure grows with your child. Whether they play with the interactive toy or read the books, a rich world of discovery awaits them.
A Closer Look at Lyka's World Tour
Lyka’s full of curiosity and has so many questions about Planet Earth. What will she learn next? Will she find the 8 hidden capsules? Power her adventure with your imagination.
Besides following Lyka's world tour in the book series, the educational app, as well as online, Lyka will also visit students in classrooms worldwide via the Lyka's Adventure Labs, which bring hands-on, discovery-based science and technology workshops directly to young learners. Each standard-based workshop combines storytelling, science experiments, coding, and the principles of design science. This encourages exploration and enables students to collaborate with each other and with classrooms around the world to help Lyka save her home planet, Ahmee.
So far, the Lyka's Adventure Lab has visited the following places. With your support, this list will grow!
- FNC Festival (Montreal) - 2011
- diy days LA - 2011
- diy days NYC - 2012
- diy days Ghent - 2013
- diy days Gothenburg - 2013
- Sheffield Film Festival, Sheffield, England - 2013
- Lambeth City Learning Centre, London - 2013
- The Neighborhood School NYC - 2013
- Tribeca Film Festival, New York - 2014
- New Media Center / TFI Interactive - 2014
- Montessori Development Center - Furlong, PA - 2014
Lance Weiler is a co-founder of Connected Sparks and is responsible for overall company vision and strategy. Named by BusinessWeek as one of the 18 who changed Hollywood, Lance teaches at Columbia University, sits on a steering committee for the World Economic Forum on the future of entertainment and has worked with the UN and others on initiatives that mix storytelling, technology and social good.
Janine Saunders is a co-founder of Connected Sparks and leads product and operations. Becoming a mother has intensified her commitment to make Lyka’s Adventure the most amazing and memorable toy in a child’s life.
Atley Loughridge is a co-founder of Connected Sparks and Reboot Stories. She authors the Lyka's Adventure books and designs the app experience.
Liz Nord is a documentary filmmaker, multi-platform producer, and media educator with a professional history designing award-winning educational software. In addition to directing the Lyka's Adventure Labs, she is currently producing the multi-platform doc Jerusalem Unfiltered.
Teymour N. Sursock works on Lyka's Adventure as a producer. He is also a culture hacker & collaborative storyteller+designer w/ a master's degree in Media Studies and Media Management from The New School, NYC.
JUST ADDED! The Lyka's Adventure Everyone is a Scientist t-shirt for kids!
How is the money getting used?
$50,000 will help us to complete our book series, app and tour the Lyka's Adventure Lab. Here's how it breaks down.
Books: We still have 6 books to complete which require research, writing, illustrations, and project management. In order to ensure our books are truly teaching for sustainable practices and science, we consult with leaders within universities and institutes. $15,000
App: Building an app costs money, plain and simple. Development time, graphics, sound, research and testing. It all adds up. The app is being given away FREE as an educational resource. $25,000
The Lyka's Adventure Lab tour: Our plan is to outfit a traveling eco truck turning it into a traveling lab for kids, and driving across the nation visiting schools and students. We hope to run 20 Lyka's Adventure Labs at schools across the nation this fall. Besides production cost, this will also require insurance. $10,000
You have partners like Penguin, Tribeca and the Ford Foundation why do you need to crowdfund?
The book advances and initial grant funding have gotten us to this point. We've stretched our funds as far as possible. But as much as the crowdfunding will help us to move forward with the next phases of Lyka's Adventure it also enables us to continue to iterate and improve the toys, stories and learning products that we produce. Crowdfunding enables us to validate the market as well as gain feedback from the crowd. Lyka's Adventure benefits from the very skills that we strive to teach in our products and labs. That rapid prototyping is a form of re-writing and an opportunity to challenge yourself to make better work.
What's the recommended age range?
Lyka is primarily meant for children ages 5 to 10. While children outside of this age range often enjoy playing with Lyka, it will depend more on their temperament and preferences.
Why is the toy and book only available to North American customers?Penguin Books is our international book and toy partner and as books become available in territories, so will the toy and app. Right now only North American and Australian customers can buy Lyka's Adventure products.
When will non North American customers be able to buy the toy and book?
We are working hard to secure other territories across the globe in order to make Lyka available world-wide. The more interest this campaign produces, the sooner other territories will sign on. So spread the word and help Lyka get in the hands of children world-wide.
What IOS does the Lyka App run from?
Lyka currently supports iPod touch (4G and newer) and iPhone (4 and newer). Stay tuned for Android!
Is the app free?
You can download the app for FREE and play the heart activity. Lyka’s Adventure products unlock additional app content for a full educational experience. Book codes unlock the audiobook and activities. The toy code unlocks Lyka’s voice to bring the toy to life.
Additional Product FAQ's can be found here:http://www.connectedsparks.com/faq/
How Can Kids Follow Lyka's Adventure?
That's easy! Purchase the Lyka toy and book bundle in the perks section and you'll receive everything you need to follow her adventure and make a new buddy and travel companion. When you receive the toy and book, activating the free educational app is a breeze. We'll be releasing 8 books total over a 2 year period, and with your support we'll continue building the app and making Lyka's Adventure the product we believe every child deserves. Children can also follow Lyka's Adventure and learn fascinating Earth facts at the @welovelyka twitter. Plus this interactive website produced by Penguin Books will surely get your children excited about Lyka and her story.
There's a ton of fun stuff to do while you are waiting for your Lyka toy and book to arrive in the mail!
Other Ways You Can Help
Love Lyka's Adventure? Please help us by spreading the word to friends, family and colleagues. Use our IGG campaign link below to share the campaign and video via email or social media:
And here are some pre-made tweets you can use:
Help Lyka get into the hands of children worldwide. Support the @connectedsparks campaign here: igg.me/at/welovelyka
Help to inspire children’s curiosity to explore the world around them with Lyka's Adventure. Support the campaign: igg.me/at/welovelyka@Connectedsparks is creating #toyswithpurpose and needs your help! Perks include adorable plush robot! igg.me/at/welovelyka
Every bit of support helps!
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