We often hear about New Jersey’s many “momtrepreneurs” but what about the dads? In honor of Father’s Day, which is just around the corner, we’re shining the spotlight on six Garden State fathers who’ve invented amazing products for kids and inspired by kids. These awesome dad inventors have written books, created tools, launched educational companies, and more. Here we share their inspiring stories, along with their favorite NJ hangouts. Let’s hear it for the daddies!
Gennady Borukhovich, Livingston
The invention: “FarFaria is the Netflix of children’s books, available for iOS and Android phones and tablets, and Kindle Fire tablets” says founder Borukhovich. “It’s a magical world where kids can find over 1,000 different books they can read all they want for $5/month.” FarFaria has a range of stories for kids 2 to 9, so it grows with your kids as their interests mature.
The word: According to Borukhovich, parents love FarFaria because “it makes screen time educational and they don’t get bombarded with ads or in-app purchases that can unexpectedly hit their credit card bill. We’ve heard time and time again that FarFaria is stealing time away from Netflix, which is never a bad thing.”
Fave Garden State hangouts: Borukhovich and family cherish their time at West Orange’s Turtle Back Zoo, Country Pancake House in Ridgewood and Music Together classes in South Orange.
Trevor Crane, Bergen County
The invention: Crane is a best-selling author, business advisor, and doting dad to 8-year-old-daughter Phoenix Rose. Together they co-authored two popular children’s books, The 3 Ninja Kitties and Kitty Wars. Phoenix illustrated 3 Ninja Kitties but didn’t want to draw everything for her second book. So Trevor and Phoenix decided to turn the second book into a movie and use live-action shots to bring Kitty Wars to life. Trevor coordinated a movie featuring over 20 kids, 10 parents and a film crew of seven. The book has been released and the film will be out soon, complete with a red carpet premiere for everyone involved in the production.
Good to know: Looking to write your own children’s book? The father/daughter duo teach a course at Super Kids Books that helps kids (and adults) become authors.
Fave Garden State hangouts: “We ride bikes in Saddle Brook Park every week,” says Trevor. “We like the playgrounds, the lake, playing soccer in the fields, and the bike paths.”
Brian Dwyre, Chatham
The invention: Musical books! Kidioke Media publishes children’s books that rock—literally. “We take classic songs like My Girl (The Temptations) and What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong), and put their songs into action in a fun and exciting book. There’s also a musical app program,” says Dwyre.
The inspiration: “My father used to sing James Taylor and Harry Chapin songs to me, which I absolutely loved, at bedtime. I then began singing these same songs to my three kids and before you know it, they were requesting Sweet Baby James every night at bedtime. After that, I started sketching the first books and decided to take the risk to make the dream a reality.”
Fave Garden State hangouts: “My kids love Castle Park in Chatham and spending time at their grandparents’ houses in Chatham and Florham Park.”
Allan Pincus, Warren
The invention: The WriteRight, an innovative pencil grip for children that engages the entire hand in the writing process. Ergonomically designed, the grip’s animal-like features are fun and inviting, but also provide kids with visual and tactile cues that remind them where to place their fingers for proper grip. The WriteRight is available in both Righty and Lefty versions.
The inspiration: A pediatric occupational therapist approached Pincus (an engineer by trade), asking him to create a pencil grip for children who struggle with handwriting. Pincus accepted the challenge and a product was born.
Fave Garden State hangouts: “Great Adventure! As a NJ native, we have ingrained in our children that ‘Six Flags’ will forever be a misnomer.” Additionally, Pincus and family spend summers in Long Branch and enjoy visiting the Seaside Heights and Atlantic City boardwalks.
Len Saunders, Morris County
The invention: “I am very excited about my 5th book coming out this summer called Buddy and Bea. It’s a heartwarming story for children (and adults) that discusses the circle of life in a loving, caring and non-threatening way. I hope one day it turns into a family classic,” says Saunders, a healthy lifestyle advocate who also authored the children’s books Spunky the Monkey and Joey the Kangaroo.
The inspiration: “My father sadly passed away 8 months before I was born. Buddy and Bea is actually my life story, but I feel it will help any child understand loss, while fostering happy emotions at the same time. Test readers of the book fell in love with the characters.”
Fave Garden State hangouts: “We love hiking at Holmdel Park, the Pier at West Long Branch and shopping at the Tinton Falls outlets. Another great place to visit is Fort Lee Historic Park, it has beautiful landscapes and a rich history.”
Eric Weinstein, Princeton
The invention: Weinstein, the company’s CFO, and his wife Nancy, are the co-founders of Mindprint Learning, an online program that allows parents and educators to identify the unique learning needs of individual students and develop data-driven action plans specific to how each child learns best. “Our digital assessment, developed by a major research university, is the only scientifically valid cognitive tool available for home and school use, enabling educators to reap the benefits of early intervention, metacognition, and neuroscience to help all students learn more successfully,” says Weinstein.
Good to know: Mindprint’s free toolbox offers strategies to teach homework and organizational skills, suggestions for classroom supports, and thousands of teacher-reviewed educational games, apps, workbooks, websites and more.
Fave Garden State hangouts: The Weinstein clan enjoys chilling out at Long Beach Island—and swinging by Marvel’s Donuts for sweets—and hanging out at Grounds for Sculpture.
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