TUSTIN, CA – First 5 California was created by voters under Proposition 10 “to recognize that children’s health and education is a top priority, especially in the early years of development”.
According to the First 5 California website (http://www.first5california.com/), “Research shows 90 percent of a child’s brain develops in the first five years of life.”
This breakthrough in child development research is what inspired Mark Feldstein, a CFO of a local pool remodeling company, to create The Storytelling Box and his new company, A.E.O.Boxes (www.aeoboxes.com)
“I recognized that I had helped my own daughter’s development without even realizing it. I simply told her original stories,” Feldstein explains.
Feldstein made it a habit, when his daughter was young, to tell spontaneous stories to his daughter to entertain her on long car rides, planes, even restaurants. With his wife being Chinese, family dinner conversations were often spoken in Cantonese leaving Feldstein and his daughter, Quina, on their own to provide entertainment.
According to Feldstein, he was simply engaging his daughter but, per First 5 California’s vision, he was actually participating in their mission to “promote, support, and optimize early childhood development” by encouraging his daughter’s language skills, memory, and imagination. “We also read books, but telling stories using her name as the main character were her favorites. Also, decades of research have shown that allowing a child to imagine rather than showing them a picture creates new synapses in their brains and helps further development.”
“The Storytelling Box,” explains Feldstein “is a simple concept yet challenging to create.”
The box is a collection of 300 cards. 100 are original story concepts to inspire an adult or older child to tell a story with embellishment. “Read the 4 or 5 sentence idea and let imagination take flight,” Feldstein explains. The remaining 200 cards contain either a story-inspiring image (dinosaur, fire engine, fairy) or word prompt (“Talking Tree”, “Flying Grandpa”, “Ice Castle”) where participants randomly pick a card, begin a story and then continue building the story by selecting additional cards.
Feldstein says, “Writing 100 original story ideas was the most challenging step in the process. That alone took many months.” Feldstein credits his father, Al Feldstein, the co-creator and former editor of Mad Magazine, as the source of his creativity.
Joe Udzenja, Tustin, an early tester of The Storytelling Box with his 5-year-old daughter, adds, ”There are many more ways to play with the box that we have discovered only after a few weeks. My daughter is now reading the cards on her own; a sudden change we credit to the box.”
Feldstein added The Rewards Box to his line; a box filled with 250 rewards, family activities and crafts for children and teens. “We have plans for many more themes to come, for both children and adults. We want to be known as the suppliers of fun in a box,” Feldstein says.