The Kansas Children's Discovery Center is very excited to start offering A+X Puzzles in the Discovery Shop. Amanda Wilson, founder and Chief of Innovation at A+X Puzzles, shares her inspiration for the company below.
As an expectant mother of twins, I was thrilled to build the baby registry. It can be so overwhelming trying to pick the right bassinet, cribs, color scheme, etc. I was met with some disappointment when I noticed there weren’t a lot of things for twins and there weren’t a lot of educational tools or devices for black and brown children.
When I first became pregnant, I knew that the representation of my babies was high on my list. I wanted books, puzzles and everything else that money could buy to represent them. Without representation, children do not know it is possible to reach certain heights or levels. They start to believe that it is impossible because they don’t see people who look like them in those areas. This must change.
Without much luck searching the internet for items that represent black and brown children, an idea came to me that I should create my own puzzles. I started drafting images and storylines. I came up with A+X Puzzles. The A is for Adric, my son, and the X is for Xola, my daughter. The goal was for the puzzles to be relatable and fun for children and their parents.
I became so enthralled with the process that I began to research the history of puzzles and how they help children with shape recognition, concentration, relief of anxiety and develops key fine motor skills. Puzzles are essential in a child’s development. A+X Puzzles is a puzzle company that is reinforcing positive imagery.
Our community needs this. The world needs this. I am happy to follow a vision that has impacted so many lives already. My favorite part of this journey so far is a little girl coming up to me and saying, “I love the puzzles because they look just like me.” That is why I will strive to ensure every black and brown child will be represented through my work. Affirming our brightest minds, one puzzle at a time.
About the Author
Amanda Wilson is the Founder and Chief of Innovation at A+X Puzzles and a mother of twins, Adric and Xola. Amanda grew up in Topeka, Kansas where she graduated from Topeka High School. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA where she is the Operations Manager for the August Wilson African American Cultural Center.