NEW YORK, Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — PunkinFutz announces today the launch of its innovative, child-centric, sensory play system, including six new products intended for children ages 4 to 12. PunkinFutz, newly-launched in September 2016, is a United States-based designer and producer of children’s accessories, toys and clothing and is focused on the social, emotional, educational and therapeutic value of creative play, supporting a child’s choice-making and self-expression.
“Our products address the ‘who’ of each child,” said Lisa Radcliffe, PunkinFutz founder and chief executive officer. “Instead of designing for the masses, we focus on children with physical, sensory, developmental and emotional needs to be sure our products meet the requirements of each child, individually. We are thrilled to bring these toys to market for this underserved population.”
PunkinFutz’s patent-pending, extensible, creative play system reflects the changing needs of each child and provides a different experience with each usage. For instance, the PunkinHug is a light-weight vest and the foundation of the new integrated system. The vest has a highly-customizable 5-way fit, is made of an open-cell foam for breathable comfort and has both internal and external pockets for therapeutic weights or precious cargo. The unique fabrication features a soft external loop, which provides endless options for creative play and individualization. PunkinFutz offers capes, bags, headpieces and sensory accessories for the vest, along with easy DIY ideas to make the PunkinHug truly a one-of-a-kind play experience. It is this dynamic and personal experience of play that makes this system unique.
“The thoughtful design makes it an excellent choice for educational or adaptive play settings and sibling groups with differing needs,” noted Radcliffe. “The possibilities are boundless.”
The Importance of Development & Sensory Play
The number of children in the United States identified with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is substantial and growing. According to the 2015 National Health Statistics Report by The United States Centers for Disease Control (US CDC) there has been a 2,200 percent increase in autism spectrum cases reported over a 17-year study sample (1997 – 2014)1. In addition, findings by the Health Resources and Services Administration (US HRSA)2 and the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (2013) “National Profile of Children with Special Health Care Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Key Findings from the 2009/10 NS‐CSHCN & 2011/12 NSCH”3, show that nearly 20 percent of US children have physical, developmental, sensory and/or emotional disabilities – affecting approximately one out of five, or 8.2 million, American children between the ages of 4 and 12. This significant and rapidly growing market is largely underserved in the US and in foreign markets. PunkinFutz creates its products specifically for these children, understanding that excellent design will serve not only this population but also all children.
Taking a page from the Universal Design concept, Radcliffe and her team begin with the unique needs of a child. PunkinFutz features a collaborative, multi-functional design team, similar to those championed at technology companies. Occupational therapists, designers, parents, children, marketers, fabricators and executives all work together to create concepts, which are then crafted into models that are tested extensively in the field and by professional testing organizations, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories. Feedback is taken into consideration and design adjustments are made before approval and manufacturing. The result, Radcliffe believes, is a superior, responsive product.
Launched in 2016, PunkinFutz uses universal design to create original toys, accessories and clothing for children with a broad range of physical, sensory, developmental and emotional needs. PunkinFutz products promote individual expression, creativity and FUN! All PunkinFutz original products are manufactured in the USA in supportive and adaptive workplaces using the highest quality materials and responsible sourcing. PunkinFutz is a member of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). All PunkinFutz products meet ASTM F963 standards. To purchase or for more information, visit punkinfutz.com.