What a beautiful gift it is to take a challenging, tough time in your life and turn it into something beautiful, benefiting countless others. That is exactly what Jennifer Stalley, founder of Meemzy Magic, has done. When she recognized the importance of sensory play in child development, Jennifer was inspired to create sensory kits to support her daughter. She created an entire beautifully thought out company that my family has absolutely fallen in love with.
I hope she inspires you, as much as she did me, while you listen to our recent chat on the podcast. She was in a really hard place and wasn’t getting answers on how to best support her child with her speech needs. If you have ever been in a position in motherhood, left to your own devices to figure out how to help your child, I hope you take comfort in Jennifer’s story.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
The Story Behind Meemzy Magic Sensory Kits
Jennifer is the mother of a 4 year old little girl, the ultimate reason behind Meemzy Magic. The company itself began about a year ago. The idea blossomed out of her own efforts to help support her child’s speech delay. At first, they didn’t know how much of her daughter’s speech issues were due to being a pandemic baby or due to genetics. However, at the time, she was not hitting her developmental milestones.
When her daughter was 8 months old, a coworker said to Jennifer “Don’t you love the babbling?” To which she replied, “Of course, I love the babbling.” When walking away from that conversation she thought “Wait, what babbling am I talking about?” She realized that her daughter was not babbling. Sure, she was interacting and communicating in the form of sign language. She was not, however, making verbal sounds.
Recognizing The Importance Of Sensory Play
At her daughter’s two-year check up, the pediatrician expressed concerns. She had already been a little behind, developmentally. At this point, her daughter should have been regularly saying at least fifty words and she was at “a questionable” five words. The pediatrician explained how early intervention is crucial for any developmental delays and referred her to a specialist. However, due to pandemic times, there was a huge demand for speech therapy. The estimated wait time was nine months before they could even get an appointment with a specialist.
That seemed like a ridiculous amount of time to wait. Jennifer went into mom mode, figuring out a way to get her daughter on track to the best of her ability. She was willing to do anything and everything to support her daughter.
The pediatrician suggested that Jennifer try speaking slower, since she is naturally a fast talker. She also, much to Jennifer’s wonder, suggested sensory play. Sensory play was not on the radar at all. Jennifer was on a mission to research, test, try out, and piece together sensory experiences. Her goal was to help her daughter not only get caught up, but to the point of flourishing and thriving.
The More Senses Engaged, The Better
The more senses engaged when children play, the deeper the learning as a result. More neurological connections form within their brains when the senses are involved. When they are little, their brains are developing folds and the more folds you have, the more intelligent you are.
For example, scent is closely tied to memory. When you smell Grandmother’s cookies, you are immediately back in Grandmother’s kitchen. This is the way our bodies interpret our environment and learn about our environment. If your children are playing and they are only including tactile and visual senses, they are missing all the other senses that could be engaged.
Jennifer fell in love with sensory play and decided to start her own sensory kit company. She has a true passion to spread awareness of the importance of sensory play.
“The more senses engaged when children play, the deeper the learning as a result.”
My Own Experience With Witnessing The Importance Of Play
Information sharing is so incredibly important. My youngest daughter is six and we had to do early intervention when she was little because she couldn’t walk. She ended up needing braces on her ankles to help give her the stability she needed. We had therapists come into our home, provided by the state. We ended up getting her to walk by using play constantly. I learned so much about what play does for kids. Jennifer’s story resonated so deeply with me and I’m so glad to be able to share her mission.
Kids Instinctively Know How To Take Part In Sensory Play
Adulthood beats it out of us: creativity, imagination, open endedness. When Jennifer first got into sensory play, she had no clue what to do with the kits she found. She prefers instructions and direction, as you might be able to relate.
Her daughter, on the other hand, instinctively knew what to do with it. The way she played was open ended, independent, imaginary. Jennifer didn’t necessarily have to participate. She started to see the magic of sitting back and watching what was in her daughter’s mind unfold physically, in 3D in front of her.
Meemzy Magic was named out of the desire to let parents know that the whole experience for parent and child is like magic. Just open it up and allow your child to take over. There is no backend work, planning, or driving to six stores to buy everything they need. You don’t have to piece together inventory, set up, clean up, figure out storage or organization. It is all taken care of.
The Breaking Point That Started It All
Jennifer had a brand new corporate job when she began this company. She was insanely busy and she thought there had to be a solution out there. Parents of neurodivergent children are already really busy. She just wanted to pay somebody $40, open the box and have it all ready to go. Nothing she found on the market was exactly what she was looking for. There was also the real issue Jennifer found with all the plastics in the sensory boxes she purchased.
One day she was playing outside with her daughter. A plastic clown from one of the sensory boxes she had bought was sitting in the dirt. How did it get there in the first place? Who knows. This was the breaking point. She realized it is madness that we tolerate this much plastic in our children’s toys.
What are we doing with all this plastic anyway? It’s so important to zoom out and pay close attention when we look at our purchasing patterns around toys. The cost of the plastic toys is so great, and even greater after the toys leave the house. We are completely out of space. There are already 22,000 pieces of plastic in the ocean for each person on the planet. There is plastic in our breastmilk at this point. Plastic is literally everywhere. That was the last straw. She was on a mission from that point forward to figure out a better solution.
Everyone Can Benefit From Sensory Play
There are so many families out there who should be doing sensory play. The barrier to sensory play so often lies in the fact that parents don’t have enough bandwidth to put sensory kits together on their own. Everyone should be able to just open a box and get right to it. Jennifer wanted to provide a solution but was not willing to do that if it meant she would be scaling plastic into the world. So she brainstormed, researched, and came up with the solution.
Everything in Meemzy Magic kits are non-toxic, made of natural materials, and totally sustainable. These boxes will not outlive us and our children. The kits come in the most insanely gorgeous boxes, all perfectly thought out. There are different themes for each kit, truly something for everyone.
The Inspiration Behind The Name
Jennifer has learned so much from her mom in so many ways, she is incredible. Incredible women make incredible women. Meemz is Jennifer’s daughter’s nickname for her grandmother (Jennifer’s mom). When naming the company, she couldn’t help but think of the magical feeling when her mom comes to visit. When mom comes over, you can finally cook dinner, take a shower, and focus on one thing at a time.
That is the feeling she wants her customers to feel when getting out these kits. Just like when grandma comes to visit. If you don’t have a mom who gives you this feeling, try one of these kits and you will gain that feeling. This is how Jennifer got through the witching hour. When she was exhausted, she would grab one of these boxes and instantly feel like the best mom ever.
This is the only thing her daughter would do independently for the longest time. Jennifer would pop open one of these kits while she was preparing dinner. Jennifer was still able to remain present and engaged while also getting the dinner taken care of. It was a total parenting win. She was checking the box on the speech thing, all while getting dinner ready. They have now been doing this for several years now and her daughter, now four-years-old, loves to cook. Jennifer believes it has everything to do with these sensory kits.
Getting Started With Sensory Play
Meemzy Magic kits give your kids a connection to you. Even if you aren’t good at pretend play and being imaginative with your kids, these kits are especially made for you. If you are ready to do sensory play, starting today, check out this free download packed with 5 sensory play activities with items that are more than likely in your pantry.
You can buy these boxes as birthday gifts, and there is even a birthday kit. Examples of the other kits include Winter Wonderland, Unicorns, and Dinosaurs. The Winter Wonderland kit has wooden pegdolls, cutout wooden characters, bottle brush Christmas trees, pipe cleaners, and paper snowflakes.
Sustainable And Purposeful Sensory Play
The paper snowflakes are plantable and they grow wildflower seeds. Everything is so purposeful and sustainable. Jennifer opened the car door at the park one windy day and all her daughter’s little toys went flying out. She had to run and chase them down. That moment inspired her to include plantable paper pieces in every kit. If they fly away, it’s totally fine, you’re just making more flowers for the bees!
You can buy a single kit or you can purchase the subscription. Jennifer is all about automation in her personal life. She stacks her habits, uses time blocking, and automates everything. This is the reason for the subscription. When it comes in the mail, you will automatically feel like the best mom. The subscriptions also serve as a reminder of the importance of sensory play.
A Sensory Play Company With A Cause
Meemzy Magic also offers a buyback program. If your child receives a kit that just wasn’t their theme for whatever reason, you can send it back. They will send you a coupon to cover the cost of shipping for your next kit. The kit will then repurposed and donated to a school in the area.
The Meemzy Magic warehouse, in California, works with a non-profit hiring people the day they are released from the county jail. These employees get a job in the warehouse for 90 days. After that, they receive job placement services, keeping them from ending up right back on the street. It’s a neat opportunity and they feel like Santa’s elves putting these kits together. Just another reason why this is such a unique, purposeful company.
More Than A Sensory Kit
This is so much more than a sensory kit. There is a QR code underneath the kit that opens a digital experience that goes with the theme. Jennifer consulted with a child psychologist and asked how to make the kits a better experience overall. She learned from that consultation that audio can be challenging for some children.
Some sounds are overwhelming and overstimulating, and it’s important for children to gain exposure to common loud noises associated with certain environments and situations. The digital experiences have ambient sounds that go with each kit to help stimulate all the senses.
A Little More About Jennifer
Jennifer Stalley is a pandemic parent who genuinely wants to help a mother out! As the Founder and President of Meemzy Magic, a for moms, by a mom company, she has set out to bring sensory play to children around the world and help moms take a load off.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, she spent 15 years in the entertainment industry marketing the biggest entertainment releases of the year, in theaters with Fox and Sony Pictures, streaming at home with Hulu, and in video games at PlayStation. She is a big believer in the power of play, for all ages, on screen and off.
Resources To Get You Started
Take a look at all Meemzy Magic has to offer, both in beauty and sustainability. You will quickly see why we have absolutely fallen in love with these products. If you are ready to get started on your own, check out this list of 5 DIY Sensory Activities to get your child started today. Follow along to see all of the Meemzy Magic goodness over on Instagram!