Design children's toy
Created: March 17th, 2016
In order to engage kids' interest more, we will make our pieces much larger than the original 3-D printed cube, and they will come together to form a keystone arch. We will simplify the shapes to basic prisms that the children can build into creative structures. The new keystone arch model, with the option of creating whatever the child can imagine, encourages creative building that would not be possible by simply stacking the blocks or having them make a certain shape. We will make the blocks out of cardboard, allowing them to stay kid-friendly and durable.
We think this toy will be educational for children because the toy teaches children about shapes and how they relate to each other because children must deduce how different pieces/shapes fit together. This toy also teaches children how to work/play together since multiple children can play with several pieces to build a shape, and they will need to learn how to share. Considering the size of the pieces and the liberty that kids have to create whatever they want, we believe this toy is suitable for a much larger range of children.
Materials Needed: Cardboard, Ruler, Masking Tape, Exacto Knife
1. Draw faces of each piece on cardboad
2. Cut out each face with an exacto knife
3. Tape faces together with masking tape to form each piece
Our final product consists of 6 base pieces and 1 keystone piece, or 7 pieces total. While children can build anything they want with the pieces, they can build an arch measuring 31 in. high (floor to top of keystone) and 50 in. wide (edge of bottom piece to edge of other bottom piece). There is velcro attached to one face of each piece so that the arch can stay together (not part of original manufacturing plan).
By building this toy, we were able to better understand how to create a positive and fun learning experience for kids. We used our observations from Moving 4th into Engineering to create this toy.
While we did not have the opportunity to test the toy on children, we believe kids would enjoy playing with the toy. Firstly, the size is optimal since it's so large, which eliminates the possibility of a choking hazard, increases the range of children that can play, and allows more children to play at once. Next, the multi-answer format is educational because children can use their creativity to build whatever they want and learn about shapes. Our "suggested" answer, the arch, is still educational because it teaches children about how a less common, but extremely important, structure works. In fact, we originally wanted to make a larger cube, but we thought the arch would be more interesting and still believe so.
Some problems we ran into during the building process included how the pieces would not "stick" together and form an arch (i.e. the pieces would just fall down). We remedied this by placing the bottom pieces in between a wall and chair to prevent them from sliding. Then we attached velcro onto one face of each piece as another measure to prevent them from falling. We could have also placed place something inside the bottom pieces to make them stay but the wall and chair were more convenient at the time. We recognize that attaching the velcro may seem like we are reverting back to the one answer format, similar to our original cube idea, but because there is not a lot of velcro, children can still easily create whatever they would like with the pieces. The durability of the toy may also be a problem because we made it from cardboard and tape and some pieces fell apart while we were manufacturing them. Kids often prefer to handle objects roughly so we are unsure how long our prototype would last in real life.
If we could work on our toy some more, we would definitely work on the aesthetics. Currently, we believe the color and the tape may not look appealing to children, and if we included color, children could even learn how colors look/are related to each other. We actually wanted to paint the pieces, but due to time and supply constraints, we had to leave the cardboard boxes as they were. We would also consider changing how we placed the velcro because right now there are just velcro strips on one face of each piece. We are unsure if this is aesthetically pleasing, and it is definitely something we will continue to think about.
Introduction to rapid design through virtual and physical prototyping. The class will cover the design process, problem solving methods, interdisciplinary team work, current industrial practice, an...more
Design children's toy