Hoppers , DifferenceMakers

2 female students from the HOPPERS team holding an award pose with Brian Rist and Holly Lalos of Difference Makers against a blue UMass Lowell backdrop.

Hoppers was designed to help children build social skills and problem solving skills.

2022 Jack. M. Wilson First Product to Market Award
(Sponsored by Jack Wilson, President Emeritus)

Alyssa Kennedy and Abigail White, both juniors in biology found that today's children are having problems developing social skills and reading people’s faces due to an increase in screen time and involvement with technology. When children use technology, like watching a television screen, they do not have to be actively thinking and problem solving versus when playing a game or building something in a physical manner. Board games have been proven to help with language skills, boost problem solving and focus, as well as help soothe anxiety.

That is why Alyssa and Abigail came up with the idea for their new board game, Hoppers. This game will challenge kids to be more engaged while fostering creativity, togetherness, and a willingness to strategize. Since the game is designed for two players, it also gives the ability for collaboration, competition and socialization which are all healthy development practices for children. The lighthearted design of the game with frogs hopping across a pond is also designed to aid in the alleviation of any tension that may arise from the competition of playing. Upon winning the $4,000 award for the Jack M. Wilson First Product to Market category (sponsored by Jack Wilson, President Emeritus) at the 2022 $50k Idea Challenge, Alyssa and Abigail plan to further their idea with Hoppers and take it to the next level. In doing so, they plan to have an artist help them in creating 3D models so that they can further concept testing in schools and educational facilities in the area.