Mary Chao, @marychaostyle
4:07 p.m. EST November 26, 2015
It’s play time for kindergartners at Margaret House, the child care facility at Rochester Institute of Technology. A group of 5-year-old boys immediately gravitate toward the pint-sized plastic chairs as they rock back and forth while stacking blocks that help them with their math skills.
What they’re playing with are Vidget chairs and Digit Widgit blocks developed by local entrepreneurs Sandra Turner and Christalyn Snyder. They are the founders of Viggi Corp., a new company dedicated to producing products to help inspire young people to learn while playing.
The seeds of the company were sown at RIT, where Turner met Snyder while studying industrial design. Turner had designed the chair that helps children who had trouble sitting still, and Snyder invented a balancing toy that shows kids how to add and subtract using blocks with numbers.
With the help of Rochester businessman Dick Kaplan, Viggi Corp. is now a reality.
The duo just returned from theNational Association for the Education of Young Children conference in Orlando, where the products were well-received by education professionals, Turner said. “Classrooms are changing and evolving,” Turner said. “The 21st-century classroom is built on collaboration.”