#Cleaning up is a daily household chore that children should learn to help with from a young age. Now, a newly released line of playful characters known as "Polite PigPals" helps teach kids tidiness and good #Manners in a fun way. Created by a mother of two boys, Polite PigPals emit funny messages and actually talk kids into wanting to be neat. The franchise centers around the characters of Max and Emmie, brother and sister piglets who recently moved from a farm to a busy city. The piglets subsequently master manners and proper cleaning techniques in order to make a good impression on their new friends and neighbors. While toys that teach are nothing new to the market, toys that teach about tidiness are somewhat of a rarity.

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Most “educational toys” focus on math, science or reading while common courtesy lessons are largely left out of the picture. While the elegant toy chests by Wayfair and colorful Trofast shelves by IKEA are intended to keep rooms neat, they are not interactive or playthings in of themselves. It is their legitimacy as actual toys that sets PigPals apart.

Background 

Polite PigPals are produced by a company called Manners Made Easy that aspires to help parents teach kids good social skills and hygiene practices. Essentially, the PigPals use sensors—akin to the ones used in Nature Garden’s Croaking Frog gag gift--that reward children with funny sayings after they remember to perform simple chore-based tasks such as cleaning up their toys, hanging up their clothes or even flushing the toilet.

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Launched in 2016, the company was named after Lisa Burns, the organization’s founder, struggled to teach her sons common courtesy. “I created the PigPals to make learning social skills like manners and tidiness easier,” Lisa explained. “The PigPals make funny statements but they are also designed to be repetitive which creates long-term positive habits.” 

Upcoming 

There are currently three items in the line. The "CleanUp Crew” clips onto laundry baskets and/or toy chests and is programmed to cheer when items are put away. “HangUp Helper” serves as a hook for clothing items and “Bathroom Buddy” is intended to be placed on the toilet tank and reminds kids to flush the toilet and wash their hands. All the items work as advertised and the statements they make are clearly understandable and quite humorous. “I made the PigPals kind of funny because I thought that would help my boys learn faster with humor,” Lisa stated. “Initially, I had over a dozen different ideas and ran them past friends, preschool moms and other kids.

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Some ideas, such as table manners, are areas where parents are already working with kids and don’t want toys or games at the table. We started with the top three ideas where parents felt they could use the help and kids thought they were fun.” Lisa plans to continue the line in the near future and she currently has many new designs in the pipeline. At present, she is preparing to show her wares at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair between the 19th and 20th of November, 2016 at Navy Pier. #Toys & Games