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$5,776
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
88
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, October 21 2015 4:25 PM UTC +00:00
$5,776
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
88
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, October 21 2015 4:25 PM UTC +00:00

About

Check out our fans, Martha Stewart American MadeBaristanetFeng Shui Mommy, Boston Mamas and the Montclair Times!

Meet the Smarty Box

What is a Smarty Box? It's a box of science. Science experiments designed for kids 7-12 years old, with easy to follow instructions and an explanation of the science behind it. Experiments that are easy to do with a bunch of kids or just one. 

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Our Story

As science loving parents, we have always been interested in promoting STEM education for youngsters. So, when we would invite a bunch of children over for a birthday party, we had to do science. At our parties, we wanted kids to do their own experimentation, and take the discoveries home after, to show their parents what they had learned. We wanted it to be easy and fun to run with a group of kids, we made sure all the experiments were ready to go before the party. The parties were great, but putting this all together turned out to be a lot of work.

Here's what we found, there was no easy way to shop for a hands-on science party. Existing science kits were either too expensive to buy enough for everyone, too complex, too unreliable or a combination of all three. So we did it ourselves. 

We spent a lot of time researching and testing experiments that would work in a group setting. We bought supplies from various sources, or created our own materials for the kids to use because no one made what we needed. The result, each kid at the party had their own supplies for a one to one science experience.

The parties were a huge hit, the kids had a lot of fun and parents were impressed with the science we taught. Friends asked us to do parties for them, but we're not party planners, we just love science. We decided instead to use what we learned to create a product, the Smarty Box, making it easy for parents to host their own science parties. Turns out, the kits are also fun to do anytime.

Our Smarty Box experiment kits have everything you need except water and a workspace. You don't need to supply 'common household items' and you won't need elaborate set-ups. Simply open the box, hand out the experiments, and the exploration can begin. Of course, we highly recommend reading the Host Guide and viewing the video support before your party, preparation is the key to success.  Here's an example of a Smarty Box featuring one of our favorite experiments, Benham's Disks:

Let's Party

We developed 12 party-friendly experiments for kids to explore Physics, Chemistry and Vision Science. Smarty Boxes are customized, you choose which experiments you want to try, and how many kits you will need. Each child gets to have their own complete kit, for a personal hands-on experience with science, letting kids collaborate on the project instead of competing for supplies. As the host, you get a friendly set of directions to help you step the kids through the experiments, tips to keep the activity running smoothly, and video support, showing you exactly how each experiment works. We even help you explain the science and history behind it.

The kits are intended to go home with the kids after your party. We want Smarty Boxes to be a great value, serving as a party activity and favor. The kits are reusable, include a Smarty Guide for exploration at home, and come in drawstring bags for easy cleanup. Experiments generally take 20-30 minutes to run. For the average party, we would recommend 2 or 3 experiments as a group activity.

A More Intimate Affair

You like science, your kids like science, do some science! We're not just about parties.

Our friends got so excited about the Smarty Box, they wanted to try it at home themselves and encouraged us not to limit our focus to parties. 

You can get a Smarty Box filled with different experiments for your child to explore anytime. You can pack a Smarty Box for a memorable playdate, it's even affordable to throw in an extra kit for a younger sibling, so they don't feel left out.

Each kit comes with a Smarty Guide to explain all the steps of running the experiment, we take great care in making sure the steps are easy to understand and follow.  We step it up with the History Behind It, learn about the scientists who discovered the ideas behind the experiment.  We also give you the Science Behind It, a walk through of science theory.

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Meet The Experiments

For Kickstarter, our Rewards are organized into 3 pricing levels, depending on the experiment you select. Smarty Box Alpha (starting at $35 for 5 kits), Smarty Box Beta (starting at $40 for 5) and Smarty Box Gamma (starting at $45 for 5).  You can also select a Variety Box (starting at $25 for 3 kits) if you want to mix and match experiments for exploration anytime.

We've tried to keep a home-made 'DIY' feel to the kits, kids should know that science doesn't just come from inside a box, science is everywhere. After the kids work through the kit, we want the exploration to begin, not end. We want kids to realize they can make their own experiments, and use their own creativity to test the world around them.

Alpha Level:

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Paper Airplanes

Who doesn't love paper airplanes? Explore the science of flight, learn about wing shape, angle of attack and Newton's 3rd law...with a twist. Thanks to our Banooper exclusive launch hook, and elastic powered launcher, you can fire these planes over 40mph! You're going to want some space for this experiment.

Our Standard kit comes with four different plane designs, and crayons to decorate them before flight. If you have younger kids, we recommend the "First Timer" version.  This version is easier for little ones to fold. You'll get four copies of a single plane design; two of which are color-coded for kids to learn with. Feel free to mix and match Standard and First Timer kits in any Smarty Box.

Thaumatrope

This is a simple, but cool, device to explore the concept of Persistence of Vision, an important aspect of animation. When spun, two images combine into one, kids get to draw their own images, and turn them into Thaumatropes. Each kit comes with 6 Thaumatropes, 3 pre-printed, 1 guided drawing and 2 blanks for kids to do their own thing. Your Kickstarter investment will help us replace these simple computer designs with hand-drawn child friendly images.

Benham's Disks

Invented over 100 years ago, these black and white disks, when spun like a top, fool your eyes into perceiving color. Learn about the Fechner color effect, Rod Cells and Cone Cells while exploring this illusion that still baffles scientists today. Kids get to try our designs, then make their own. Each kit comes with 6 Benham Disks, 5 patterned, 1 printed blank, the backsides of each disk also serve as blanks for children to create a pattern all their own.

Newtonian Racers

Put Newton's Three Laws of Motion to the test with these high quality pneumatic powered racers. Pit your racer against your friends', or conduct time trials. We've found these work best on a smooth level surface like a table or hardwood floor. Each kit comes with one car, 2 emergency backup balloons and rubber weights to explore mass vs. acceleration.

Beta Level:

Phantasmascope

The earliest incarnation of the moving picture is the Phantasmascope. Kids get to see pre-printed animations, and work with a set of guided drawings before creating their own mini-movie. Your Kickstarter investment will help us create a variety of hand-drawn animations for this project. Each kit comes with 3 double sided disks, containing 3 pre-printed animations, 1 guided drawing and 2 blanks.

Pop Rockets

Harness the awesome power of chemistry to launch these little rockets over 20 feet into the air. Each kit comes with a pop rocket, launch tube, safety goggles (a must for every participant, young and old) and enough powdered propellant for 10 or more runs. Kids can adjust the propellant mix and observe the results. It should go without saying, this is an outdoor experiment, unless you like to put dents in your ceiling.

If you have younger kids, we have a simplified version to offer that uses propellant tablets instead of loose powders.  Request the "novice" version of the of the experiment and we'll replace the powdered propellant with tablets that are easier for youngsters to use. Feel free to mix and match standard and novice kits in any Smarty Box.

Catapult

Release your inner Medieval Warrior and fire away while learning about trajectory, velocity and parabolic motion! Our exclusive design is easy to assemble and won't accidentally knock out a window. The kit comes with a catapult base, 2 launch arms, ammunition and handy targets for bombardment.

CO2 Balloons

You'll never guess what happens when you mix Baking Soda, Citric Acid and Balloons. Ok, you can probably guess that pretty easily, but it's still fun!  Each kit comes with a reaction vessel, 6 balloons, and the gear to make it all work. Get gassy, and learn about ions, acids, bases and how they combine to release Carbon Dioxide.

Gamma Level:

Zoetrope

This is the classic pre-motion-picture animation device. Insert an animation strip, spin the Zoetrope, and watch through the slots. Our straightforward design makes it easy for kids to build their own Zoetrope.  Kids get to watch our animations, work with guided drawings, then draw their own animation and watch it come to life. Each kit comes with 3 pre-printed animations, 1 guided drawing and 2 blanks. Your Kickstarter investment will help us create a variety of hand-drawn animations for this project.

Build a Battery

How do batteries work? Find out by replicating the work of Allesandro Volta, the inventor of the battery, and build a your very own Voltaic Pile. Learn about anodes, cathodes, and ions while lighting up an LED. Each kit comes with a non-conducting post, disks, electrolyte powder, an LED and connecting leads.

Circuitry

Explore the work of Edison and Maxwell in this advanced 2 part experiment. First create a circuit, light up a bulb, and test the conductivity of different materials.  Then, build and power up a switchable electromagnet. Each kit comes with a battery, switch, bulb, electromagnet post and wire, and materials to test for conductivity and magnetic properties.

Volcano

Yes, the baking soda volcano, darling of science fairs across the globe, learn about the experimental process and how to control a chemical reaction. No paper mache here, we have developed a collapsable, reusable, waterproof cone, and styled it after a real volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai in Tanzania. Each kit comes with a cone, reaction vessel, tinted bubble mix, catch tray, and enough reactants for multiple runs.

Our Plan

Now you know what we are developing, here's how we're going to do it.

We have spent the last few months refining and testing the designs of our experiment packages, and identifying vendors (there are dozens of these). To date, we have invested from our savings to build and test dozens of prototypes as well as fit out the initial workspace.

Our Kickstarter funds will be directed to 3 aspects of the business:

Art - We are contracting with local artists to create fun, child appropriate, versions of our Animation experiments.  We intend to evoke both the era in which these devices were invented, and infuse the animations with exuberance and whimsy.

Production - Our experiments that use paper/card stock need to be printed and die cut. In order to keep our costs (and prices) down, we are die cutting in house, so we will invest in a high quality die cutter and custom dies for each product.

Inventory - With 12 experiments, and numerous parts per experiment, we have a significant inventory requirement. Kickstarter will help us fund bulk purchases of all of our parts to ensure we can offer the kits at an affordable price.

Awards & Recognition

Currently, Banooper has been selected as a Finalist in the 2015 Martha Stewart American Made program. Voting begins September, 21st and runs thru October 23rd - check us out here

Check out our first independent review by the folks at Baristanet. "when it’s easy for your kid to have a good time with an experiment, the learning just feels like kitchen-table fun."

Stretch Goals

Everyone needs goals, we've thought up a few.  For every $10,000 exceeding our target (up to $60,000), we will add something new to 3 of our experiments, here's the first set:

$30,000
  • Add 2 more drawings to the Thaumatrope
  • Add 2 more animations to the Phantasmascope
  • Add 2 more animations to the Zoetrope


Timeline

At the conclusion of our Kickstarter period, our first steps will be to begin work on the artistic portion of our product line. Once the artwork is underway, we will purchase custom dies and finalize the print layout. Throughout this process we tackle our inventory needs part by part, and begin assembly of our non-print experiments.  As the experiments enter their final form, we will upload step by step video support to ensure an exact match between what you see and what you get.

November - Artwork begins - Die purchase - Finalize print layout - Begin raw material purchase

December - Prep raw materials - Finalize artwork - Order print work - Begin assembly of non-print experiments

January - Die cutting - Upload video support - Early ship of ready to go orders

February - Complete shipment of all orders

The Future

Post-Kickstarter, we are kicking around a number of ways to direct the business, should it be a success. We intend to create an educator package for select experiments. Packages that can go into a classroom or after-school educational programs, used by home-schoolers, or group activities like scouting. These would be designed with the help of educators to ensure we provide the background and educational support necessary to incorporate the lesson into a curriculum.

Additional experiments to explore other disciplines like geology, optics, magnetism, biology, and art are also on the horizon.

Risks and challenges

Our primary risk is in the transition from prototype to bulk sourcing of materials. We need to ensure that the bulk sourced materials work as intended, we may need to modify some of our designs to account for any discrepancies.

We are also producing some custom materials in-house, especially through die-cutting, and will need to coordinate our cutting die supplier with our print supplier. This may cause delays, but certainly not prevent completion of the projects.

Given the in-house nature of production, if we were to exceed our goals by a great amount, that may cause delays in simply doing all the production work in the timeframe we have allowed for. Depending on the need, we can hire additional workers, expand our production space locally, or choose to move to a permanent larger location.

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Virtual high five!

    Every dollar helps, and we will keep you up to date on our progress, and let you know about new experiments we roll out.

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    Smarty Box - Mini

    Added by popular demand, get 2 Benham's Disk kits in one little box.

    It's the perfect playdate.

    Domestic shipping is included for this reward.

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    The Collegian

    Get a cool Banooper t-shirt (Keep Calm and Try Science), and one experiment of your choice.

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    The Professional

    Get a stylish Banooper Box insulated mug, and one experiment of your choice.

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    Smarty Box - Variety

    Get 3 experiments of your choice to explore. Select 1 Alpha, 1 Beta and 1 Gamma experiment for this Smarty Box.

    Add more kits (up to 10 total) to the Smarty Box for:
    $6 per Alpha Kit
    $7 per Beta Kit
    $8 per Gamma Kit

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    Sunny Day Smarty Box

    Perfect for a playdate, you'll need some room in the backyard for this one. Get 2 Paper Airplane kits and 2 Pop Rocket kits, for an afternoon of fun.

    Special Offer - Domestic shipping is included!

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    Snowy Day Smarty Box

    Perfect for a playdate, break out the hot chocolate and enjoy some indoor fun. Get 2 Newtonian Racers and 2 Catapult kits in this box.

    Special Offer - Domestic shipping is included!

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    Smarty Box - Alpha

    A 5 pack of your favorite Alpha tier experiment. Get the kids together to have fun and learn something cool about the world.

    One type of experiment per box, please.

    Add more kits (up to 10 total) to this Smarty Box for $6 a piece.

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    Shockingly Fun Smarty Box

    Let the electrons flow with this playdate Smarty Box. Get 2 Build a Battery kits and 2 Circuitry kits in this box.

    Special Offer - Domestic shipping is included!

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    Smarty Box - Beta

    A 5 pack of your favorite Beta tier experiment. A little bigger and bolder than the Alpha experiments, these are loads of fun.

    One type of experiment per box, please.

    Add more kits (up to 10 total) to this Smarty Box for $7 a piece.

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    Smarty Box - Gamma

    A 5 pack of your favorite Gamma tier experiment. These are the most lavish and complex experiments we have. More parts, more to do, more to learn.

    One type of experiment per box, please.

    Add more kits (up to 10 total) to this Smarty Box for $8 a piece.

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    Smarty Box - Variety 6 Pack

    Get 6 experiments of your choice to explore. Select 2 Alpha, 2 Beta and 2 Gamma experiments for this Smarty Box.

    Add more kits (up to 10 total) to this Smarty Box for:
    $6 per Alpha Kit
    $7 per Beta Kit
    $8 per Gamma Kit

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    Smarty Box - The Works

    Try them all! Get all 12 experiments in one big box.

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    The DaVinci

    Leonardo DaVinci was a big lover of flying machines and war machines. This Smarty Box celebrates his legacy with 10 Paper Airplanes and 10 Catapults.

    Special Offer - Domestic shipping is included!

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    The Edison

    In recognition of Edison ushering in the age of Motion Pictures, this Smarty Box includes 10 Phantasmascopes and 10 Zoetropes. Try your hand at pre-Edison animation.

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    The Tesla

    Yes, I know Tesla was an AC guy, not a DC guy, but he's all sorts of crazy and awesome. Be awesome with 10 Build a Battery and 10 Circuits experiments in one Smarty Box.

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    Vision Science Party Box

    Get down with vision, this box includes three experiments that focus on our ability to see. Get 10 Benham Disks, 10 Thaumatropes and 10 Phantasmascopes to explore.

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    Super Indoor Party Box

    Get three very different indoor experiments in this kit for an awesomely fun party. Get 10 Volcanoes, 10 Build a Battery and 10 Zoetrope kits to explore.

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    Smarty Box - The Party

    Get the entire Banooper Box team (both of us!) to run the science portion of your party. Select any 3 experiments you like, for up to 20 children. We will travel to your home (within 75 miles of Montclair, NJ), entertain the kids and help make your party awesome.

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Funding period

- (30 days)