Kneebouncers.com offers tinier tots mouse-free leisure and lessons


The Internet has something for everyone -- including babies and toddlers.

Just about the time parents start bouncing their kids on their knees, they can share a seat at the computer and head to Kneebouncers.com (www.kneebouncers.com), where children get a hands-on experience playing games, learning colors, the alphabet and more. All of this happens without the use of the mouse.

Site creator Jim Robinson said the idea for Kneebouncers came about when his daughter was 9 months old.

"My older kids found the PBS and Disney sites, where they had to use a mouse. They were 3 and 4 (years old) at the time, and their little sister wanted to play online, too," he said.

Robinson said he was frustrated in his efforts to find sites that younger children could use, so he decided to create one. Site co-creator Kurt Dommermuth had a 6-month-old baby, and he shared Robinson's frustrations.

"I drew up a simple game of peek-a-boo and popping a bubble," Robinson said. "The baby could touch any key and something would happen on the screen. It was cause and effect.

"I was working with two of Walt Disney's cousins at the time," Robinson added. "Walt was a hero of mine and his ideas were simple but innovative. He took animation to a new level."

Kneebouncers started with six games and a cast of animated characters, including Sly Cat.

"It was basically just a little site we put up there," he said. "If you found it, great. I shared it with my sister and her kids and their mommy groups. The grass roots effort grew, and I got e-mail from all around the world. I heard from every continent except Antarctica. They were all telling me how great the games are."

Today, Kneebouncers has 18 games and many downloadable activities. Robinson said the next phase is in development and will include point-and-click games for older children, as parents are telling him their kids have grown up and are ready for more complex games.

"I will eventually develop webisodes for Internet TV, so when TV and the Web become one, we'll be there for the interaction," he said. "We are already building an audience, and are on our way to 150,000 to 200,000 visitors per month."

The site is free, as Robinson said he is still building his brand and growing traffic. He said paid mobile phone applications are in the works, and parents can buy Sly Cat toys and clothing and make donations through the site. Ten percent of proceeds go to children's charities.

Share your Internet story with me at agibes@reviewjournal.com.

 

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