My friends are having children…

It’s been happening for a while now. If you’re reading this as a 30-something or perhaps a mid-to-late 20-something, you’ve likely been greeted on (insert social media platform of your choice) with a barrage of updates, pictures, GIFs, posts and articles about the joys, woes, successes and fears of young parents (your friends, acquaintences and total strangers) living through a highly-connected digital age. How special.

All sarcasm aside, it’s an inspiring time in many young people’s lives, inclusive of my own. In April of 2016, I’m going to marry the love of my life. A woman who makes me better as a man. A person who I hope to grow old with through rich and poor, success and failure. I’ve been looking forward to our wedding date for some time. Items are being checked off the master-list as we near closer to the date. Venue? Check. Dress? Check. Caterer? Check. Baby? Thankfully no. But if we’re lucky, children will be a part of our future and hence the reason for the Tiny Tent Co.

As I write this in my early thirties I’ve had the opportunity to see a transition in children’s habits and style of play. I grew up (for better or worse) without smart TVs, cell phones, the massive reach of the internet and the constant level of connectivity we are blessed to have today. Our time as children was free from distractions — when one of the only phones in the house was attached to a long cord mounted to a wall in the kitchen. I was able to play outside for hours on end. We were fortunate enough to have woods behind my family’s home where I could explore, build, create and imagine. As a kid I remember Lincoln Logs, Legos, Erector Sets and other interactive, do-it-yourself games and activities.

Thinking about a future family of my own, I want to be able to provide a tool, toy and resource that could make reading, discovery and daydreaming an important part of my children’s lives. The Tiny Tent Co is an opportunity to give children (hopefully many), the same opportunities I had as a child. A chance to play, to imagine, to be bored and to develop into well-rounded, responsible young adults. (The jury is still out on whether or not I’m well-rounded OR responsible.)

I’m not in any way suggesting that current parents are doing it wrong. I can emotionally and mentally put myself in the situation when you’re drained from the day’s events that a video or game on an iPad makes all the sense in the world. I get that. I can sympathize. I’m relieved after your child has been crying for ten minutes on an airplane and are now calm because of that magical, divinely-inspired piece of technology that sits in their hands.

The Tiny Tent Co (which will launch on Kickstarter May 1, 2016) will be a children’s tent product featuring interchangeable tent fabrics that correspond to illustrated stories about characters faced with trials and obstacles in which they’ll have to use bravery, honesty, integrity, and resourcefulness to ‘win the day.’ The tent itself will serve as a refuge, an area of calm, an area of creativity and curiosity, and an area where parents and children can interact, bond and be excited about life.

As a group of designers, illustrators, engineers and writers we’re also passionate about helping people in under-served, war-torn and disaster stricken areas of the world. Profits from the Tiny Tent Co won’t just line our bank accounts but instead be put toward the design, advancement and implementation of modular, mobile and smarter housing units. We don’t just want to give our children and our friend’s children a place to be creative, successful and safe — we believe in the importance of global citizenship and the betterment of society through design.

We hope you’ll follow us in our journey as we work toward a May 1, 2016 Kickstarter launch. We’re excited about the opportunities this project will bring. We’re thrilled about the connections we’ll make along the way and about the lives of children we’ll (hopefully) impact with our product’s creation.

Please follow us, cheer us on and support us. Thank you.

James O’Brien | Co-Founder and Partner at Tiny Tent Co

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