The NogginStik: A Baby Toy with a Strong Agenda
Writer / Kara Reibel
Marcia Haut’s love of toys and the joy found through play inspired her to create the NogginStik.
Haut has spent over 30 years as an educator for children with special needs. She utilized every toy available to encourage early milestones in infants, realizing there was not an ideal toy to accomplish all that she needed in order to do her job. Through her efforts working with babies, she was inspired to create her own toy to fit this special purpose.
Haut’s first developmental toy, the NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle, was launched January 2013. It may look like a cute baby rattle, but it has a powerful agenda. The NogginStik was designed to help parents and caregivers begin encouraging early milestones in infants with the hope of helping every baby reach full potential.
“As an Indiana First Steps developmental therapist, I used various toys and objects to help evaluate and encourage milestones,” shares Haut. “I began piecing together the elements that I had the most success with. One of these items was a lighted golf ball from my son’s golf bag that I used for visual tracking.”
Playtime is learning time for babies and children, and having an ideal toy that enriches that experience can be vital to growth. With a deep understanding of the importance of early development, Haut started her company, SmartNoggin, headquartered in Noblesville.
“Achieving developmental milestones is critical for growth,” states Haut. “The NogginStik is a culmination of the most effective methods I found for encouraging infants and babies to reach their milestones.”
These early developmental milestones include eye tracking, auditory orientation, grasping, tummy time, motor milestone and oral motor.
The accolades keep piling up for the NogginStick, including Winner of the 2013 Parents’ Choice Award, a 2013 PAL Award for infants and children, 2013 Top Ten Toys Award, a gold 2012 National Parenting Publications Award, 2012 Toy of the Year for Creative Child Magazine’s developmental baby toys category, 2014 Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products Award and Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Toys for 2014.
The NogginStik is being sold in over 1,000 stores across the country and is being used as a therapy tool by early education therapists and home visitors throughout the United States. Mass Ave Toys is one of the local retailers that carries the NogginStik.
“Very few infant toys have won this many awards,” shares Mass Ave Toys Owner Natalie Canull. “The NogginStik is one of our best sellers, and I bought one for my granddaughter.”
Haut has come full circle. When she and her husband Bill would vacation with their children on Mackinac Island, a favorite tradition was shopping at Green Turtle Toys. The joy and fun of toys has always been important to Haut. Now her toy is sold there.
“I have been fortunate in my teaching career to have had the opportunity to work with children birth through 12th grade. Every experience I have had working with each child has added to my knowledge,” shares Haut. “I am so grateful for learning as much or more from my clients as I taught them.”
What’s next for the SmartNoggin company? “We have recently added the NogginRings Reaching and Grasping Rings to our SmartNoggin Milestone Makers line, and more are on the way!” says Haut.
For more information on SmartNoggin and additional retail locations, please visit smartnoggintoys.com.