Mom-trepreneurs: Kadoodle Kids mask making kits creatively break COVID monotony

Brianna happily shows off her glittery creation.

Surgical masks to children are, frankly, a little scary. The texture is unpleasant, they are not durable longterm, they can make the skin sweaty and itchy and the “clinical” look is not exactly a child-friendly style.

In the beginning of the lockdown in NYC in March, New Yorkers would have taken any kind of mask they could get as store shelves ran dry and Amazon “bad actors” price-gouged our desperation.

As the de Blasio and Cuomo administrations began to get a handle on things—and capitalism kicked in its quick and clever supply/demand reflex, finally we all had choices. Masks were available online, in stores, and in every pattern, color, and with every slogan imaginable.

By the time schools reopened, children could safely wear a mask of their choosing: the CDC recommends that all children over the age of 2—apart from those medically exempt—mask up in stores, transit systems and when social distancing is not possible, such as playgrounds.

But when Manhattan mother of three Lyss Stern, whose seven-year-old daughter used arts and crafts as an outlet for lockdown boredom, observed her child spontaneously picking up, painting a mask and covering it in glitter, the idea for Kadoodle Kids make-your-own mask kits was born.

Stern approached her two partners— Jodi Okun and Pam Mandell, a speech therapist —with the idea and the team began the creation of the mask making boxes, the range of which is ever increasing.

The boxes are affordable, and along with high quality, breathable masks, come with markers, stickers, glitter pens and more.

Specially themed boxes with fun characters such as dinosaurs and unicorns are being developed all of the time. These tactile materials inspire creativity and immersion—a powerful tool against too much screen time, cabin fever and normalizing this new accessory-of-necessity.

Eleven-year-old Brianna Shahgholi of Long Island put the Kadoodle Mask Kit to the test and had a great time. Brianna said, “I had fun making my mask and I decided to use glitter and red and blue markers. I liked all of the items in the box and think that people should take their time when they are making them and can make all kinds of different types.” Brianna says she has gotten used to mask wearing and will proudly show off her creation in the schoolyard.

Stern thinks some of these masks may one day even end up in a museum, “this is their time, a part of their childhood that is completely historically unique and challenging.” By making their own masks, one of Stern’s hopes is that kids will take pride in their creations and be more likely to keep them on, thus leading to increased adherence.

Check out the wide Kadoodle Kid range at www.kadoodlekids.com


More from around NYC