About Toys with Intent
Toys with Intent’s mission is to help parents raise kids and teens who are emotionally intelligent and who have the key social and emotional skills to thrive throughout all stages of life. Our site provides a one stop shop to buy meaningful toys and products that teach children and teenagers about these important life skills and also aide in the development of their personal growth.
Toys with Intent has teamed up with some of the best businesses and authors to offer you the top Social and Emotional toys and products. From everyday toys to highly specialized items for particular struggles, all of the items on this site serve a purpose-to help and teach your child to have a better understanding of themselves and others. Toys with Intent hopes to create a generation of emotionally intelligent kids and teens who are resilient, self-aware, empathetic, and self-compassionate-with the help of meaningful products and play.
A letter from our Founder
Hi- My name is Kelli and I am the founder of Toys with Intent. I wanted to share with you how Toys with Intent was founded and a little bit more about our goals and mission.
I am a Marriage and Family Therapist and I have worked as a School Counselor for almost a decade. In my various roles as a mental health professional, I often encountered a lot of stressed and anxious kids who lacked resiliency and the essential skills to cope, manage, and understand their emotions or the emotions of others. As a counselor, I spent most of my job helping students (and their parents) manage stressors while also educating them (and their parents) on various Social and Emotional topics. When working with these kids and teens, I often recommended a particular book/toy/gadget/product/app that would aid the child in learning about themselves or the life skill we were working on. Whether it was stress balls to help regulate emotions, mindfulness cards and coloring books to ease anxiety, or compassion bracelets to teach empathy, all the products I recommended served in helping my students learn a key life skill.
While searching the internet for products at work, at home, I was applying a similar philosophy with my two young children. I began to wonder about the toys I was purchasing for my daughters and how these items were actually helping them develop as emotionally intelligent, thoughtful, and resilient people. While shopping, I would often shift through aisles upon aisles of highly commercialized toys that were trendy and easily replaced by the “next big thing”, never really taught them much of anything, and sometimes did more harm than good. I started questioning what my children were playing with and what that toy was teaching them.
Instead of purchasing meaningless toys, I wanted toys that served a purpose; toys that taught my children about important life skills. As a therapist, I knew that introducing topics early, normalizing them, and frequent exposure would set my children up for future success as they grew into adolescents and adults. From that point on, I made it my mission to purchase items that had intent-intent to teach them about feelings, stress management, empathy, friendship and so on. And I felt so passionate about this concept and believed in it so much that I started Toys with Intent so other parents and professionals had a resource to find such products.
I hope you enjoy shopping on our website, learning something from our blog, and most importantly, finding a community to help you raise happy, healthy, and emotionally intelligent kids!
Kelli | Founder
Kelli is a Marriage and Family Therapist and has worked as a School Counselor in both the San Francisco/Bay area and in Houston. Her experience includes working in a Waldorf school, Charter Schools, public schools and a top private college prep school. In addition, Kelli also has experience in play therapy and teaching social emotional curriculum. She is responsible for product researching and content writing. Kelli's writing has been featured on Scary Mommy and other Parenting websites, and she is also one of the recipients of the 2018 "Mother of the Year" award from Orange County Mom's Blog. She has worked with youth ranging from tots to seniors and Kelli has two children of her own- age 4 and 1.
Daniel | Chief Executive Officer
Dan is the IQ behind the EQ. He has over ten years of executive leadership in healthcare distribution and is completing his MBA at The Wharton School. At Toys with Intent he is responsible for operations, business strategy and creating meaningful relationships with our partners and other businesses. In addition, Dan is tasked with identifying ways to bring emotional intelligence to businesses and is committed to doing business mindfully and intentionally. Dan also has two children of his own-you guessed it- age 4 and 1 (Yes they are a husband and wife team, and yes they are crazy for working together).
Jennifer | Contributing Writer
Dr. Welch is a mom, wife, and licensed clinical psychologist who is fully committed to helping others strive to parent from a place of intentionality that reflects their values and allows their children to thrive. She has her Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and has held a variety of roles in Houston, Texas including: Director of Psychological Services and Research at The Children’s Assessment Center (CAC), private practice, middle and high school counselor, and most recently, Director of Wellness at a private co-ed independent K-12 school, and providing parenting consulting. Jennifer has served on several mental health boards and is currently a contributing writer and collaborator for Toys with Intent. Jennifer has three children of her own – 15 year old twins and a 21 year old daughter.