Meet the Entrepreneur Sara Barokas who is channelling creativity in young minds
Sara, co-founder of toucanBox, the creative subscription service for children who deliver hands on creative activities to kids on a monthly basis.
What did you do before toucanBox?
I was an early childhood educator and taught in classrooms for 10 years and was the Head Mistress of a private school in the states for 3 years. When my husband and I relocated to London two years ago I knew that I wanted to stay in the field of education but I did not want the restrictive schedule of teaching in a classroom nor did I want to stay in school administration.
What inspires you the most about co-running toucanBox?
Working at toucanBox allows me to use the skills and projects that I developed from years of being in the classroom. I love that I am able to develop projects that encourage parents and children to play and learn together at home.
Describe a day in the life of you at work in toucanBox?
A day at toucanBox means brainstorming ideas, crafting at our craft area in the office, gathering feedback from our product testers, working with the designer to get project instruction just right, and liaising with the purchasing team to get just the materials for each project.
What or who are your business role models?
I lucky to find my role model pretty close to home. My mother started a private school with just 10 children in 1986 and has grown the program to just over 220 students from preschool through 5th grade. She did all this while raising three kids and running a household. I think it was her hard work and dedication that inspired my sister to start her own company and for me to do the same.
What or who inspires you to work so hard?
I come from a family of hard workers. When you have an idea and a passion you work at it to make the dream come true. That’s what I was taught and that is how I live my life.
What are the top three skills you think people need to succeed in this area?
I think first you have to be passionate about what you are doing. You need to have knowledge of the field you are working in and an understanding of the customer you are working with.The holidays can be a hectic time for kids and parents. You often find that at the last minute you’ve got to find an activity to entertain and occupy the kids indoors. If you don’t have a toucanBox on hand try these crafts with things you probably have in the house.
How to inspire & be creative with the kids in your life. Maybe you are a busy mum, a doting auntie or god parent. Here are some Christmas craft activities that will provide lots of fun & creativity for the children in your life.
Here are Sara’s top 3 Christmas activities:
1) Scented Salt Dough Ornaments: The kitchen is the place you are most likely to find last minute art and craft supplies. This simple dough recipe is easy and will provide hours of entertainment.
You will need
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup cinnamon (optional)
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- Optional Decorations (paint, glue, glitter, sequins,etc.)
- Mix the dry ingredients together then mix in the hot water. Turn out onto greaseproof paper and knead until smooth. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Cut shapes out with cookie cutters. Use a pencil to poke a hole in the top of each shape. Leave the dough out for 24 hours to dry. Decorate and thread a string through the hole at the top and hang on your Christmas tree.
- See blog.toucanbox.com for more ways to make craft dough with ingredients from your kitchen.
2) Paper Roll Ornaments: Make a habit of saving those empty loo and paper towel rolls and you’ll have lots of quick craft options when you need them. This one is a simple Christmas craft.
You will need
- Several empty loo rolls (cleaned of all paper scraps)
- Paper clips or binder clips
- Optional Decorations (glitter, sequins, etc.)
- Cut the rolls into the 1-inch segments. Paint each segment. Arrange the segments into a snowflake pattern. Glue the segments together. You might want to clip or bind the segments together while the glue dries. When the glue is dry decorate the snowflakes. Thread a string through one segment and hang on a branch of your Christmas tree.
See blog.toucanbox.com for more easy ways to make snowflakes at home.
3) Thank You Cards: Make saying thank you to family and friends for all the lovely gifts they receive a fun craft for the kids.
You will need
- Blank paper
- Wrapping paper scraps
- Cut the wrapping paper into thin strips. Fold the blank paper into a card shape (in half or in fourths). On the front of the card glue strips of wrapping paper trimming each layer a bit shorter to create a triangle tree shape.
- See blog.toucanbox.com for more ideas for decorating homemade thank you notes.