In Nigeria, Kedu? means “How are you?” in the ethnic Igbo language. Nicole Simon likes the idea of asking children, “How are you?” to express interest in their unstructured playtime activities. Her wryly named business, KeduKid, offers an array of creative play options featuring her own handmade play dough and classic wooden toys.
“I’ve been making ‘busy bags’ for my own kiddos for years, and these play dough activity kits are very similar,” says Simon, a mother of three young children who was inspired to start KeduKid when she realized that parents could use new ideas for creative play as the pandemic wears on.
Simon’s aha! moment happened when she whipped up a batch of play dough and “tinkering activities” for her own children. “It worked! Hours of play – and not just play, but quiet play,” she says. “With how much my children love these activities, I felt the need to create something for all the parents at home because we all are struggling or just looking for something new to do for our kids.”
Simon experimented until she developed her ideal natural, nontoxic play dough recipe. “I don't like sticky play dough, and I like for it to be a little sturdier, to be able to build and hold things up,” she says. “Play dough is the centerpiece because it’s a great art medium, and it’s able to be manipulated into many different things. It provides that sensory, tactile experience while truly being one of the best open-ended toys.”
All KeduKid’s play kits, available to order online, are assembled in Simon’s basement workshop. Her husband makes the available wooden rainbow stacking toy, and other wooden toys are sourced from various companies.
For the holiday season, KeduKid features a gingerbread man play dough kit that includes three types of play dough, gingerbread man cookie cutters and decorating supplies like googly eyes, buttons and jingle bells. Smaller versions of the full-size kits are available, including a mini nutcracker play dough kit that comes with a wooden nutcracker and a wooden peg ballerina with a tulle tutu.
Simon looks forward to sharing her kits with more parents. “I hope the company grows and gains more followers, so more parents can see the benefits of open-ended play for their children,” she says. “Not only does it benefit the children, but as a mom of three, sometimes we just need a break from 24/7 entertaining. I hope to be able to create lasting memories in so many families.”