Sensory Based Busy Boxes: Helping Parents and Kids with Sophie Schilacci

What did you learn during the pandemic? For Sophie Schillaci, she learned just how important it was to keep her two young kids occupied when the world was locked down, for their sanity — and hers. In this week’s episode of Lift U Up: Inspiring Health Stories, Sophie joins us to share her story of being an entertainment journalist turned entrepreneur, founding Mom Needs a Minute, and selling sensory-based busy boxes to busy moms across the country. 

Breaking Away From Hollywood

For almost a decade, Sophie Schillaci worked as an entertainment journalist, both in front of the camera and behind the keyboard. She worked for media outlets like Entertainment Tonight, The Hollywood Reporter, and more. While she looks back on those years fondly, Sophie shares that once she had her first daughter (and her priorities changed in life), the “always on” mentality of the industry was no longer the right fit for her. After 10 years of living in LA, she moved back to her New York hometown with her family.

Living in Lockdown

When the pandemic hit in 2020, no one knew what to expect. This was especially true for Sophie and her family – and with a newborn at home, she took lockdown very seriously. For two months, she stayed in her home with her husband, toddler, newborn, and two dogs. 

As time went on, Sophie became desperate for ways to entertain her daughter in productive ways (away from a screen), but also in ways that let Sophie have a minute to herself. She found plenty of sensory boxes on the market, but not many that let her daughter have independent and enriching play — so she started building her own.

Building Boxes

When Sophie saw a hole in the market for the types of sensory boxes she knew her family would benefit from, she had the thought many entrepreneurs do, “Why not do it myself?” So, she did, and Sophie began building her own version of sensory boxes. She sent the first few to friends, asked for feedback, and continued to refine. She took courses on how to start a business, set up an Etsy account, and in 2021 the online shop Mom Needs a Minute was launched.

For Sophie, her mission is to support parents who “just need a minute” and who want enriching ways to entertain their little ones. Through her boxes (and new subscription boxes), she’s making parents’ lives easier one box at a time. For every box sold, Sophie also donates 5 meals to Feeding America.

What else can you expect in this episode?

  • Why journalists always must be “on” and how that impacted Sophie.
  • How storytelling is still an important part of what Sophie does.
  • What is sensory play, and why is it important for young kids?
  • Sophie’s simple health tips for moms who want to take care of themselves too.
  • How households with children see greater chances for food insecurity, and why Mom Needs A Minute supports Feeding America with their sales. 

Where to find Mom Needs a Minute: