Toy Concepts - Kyle Brittain

Made by kbrittai

Created: January 18th, 2016



With this project I intend to create three toys that teach children about the physical forces that govern the universe.



Countless toys have already been created for the enjoyment of children, many of which teach the children about the world. This project aims to add to that pool of available knowledge. 


My approach was to first think of fun toys that could be made for children, and then modify them so that they represented a physical concept. If that approach failed, I tried to think of a physical concept that was easy to display and create a toy that could capture that idea. Some toys were too unrelated to apply to a concept, and some concepts were too advanced to represent with a toy, so the process required much thought.


see below



This project required a lot of brainstorming. If I was to do it again I would use some of the other ideas I thought of, just to see how they would've turned out.


The principle this toy is based on is centripetal force, as well as spring forces. It can be observed by the child when they spin the top and notice that the spheres that were originally in the center of the top have moved out towards the edge of the top. As the top slowed down, the spring attached to each sphere would pull it back to the center. The spheres would move more or less depending on how fast the child spun the top. 

This toy would be cheap to make because it is a relatively small toy and doesn't require any complicated parts. It would be fairly durable, aside from the rods that extend out past the edge of the top which allow greater motion of the spheres. Depending on the thickness and material of the rods, they could be broken by rough usage. It would be a safe toy for children unless parts broke off or unless it was small enough to be choked on.


This toy is based on the concept of projectile motion. The child would interact with they toy buy adjusting the launch angle, loading the catapult, and firing at a desired target. The ability to change the launch angle gives the child the ability to optimize things like distance and height from their projectile to reach the desired target. This would teach the children much about the parabolic motion of projectiles. 

The cost of this toy could be fairly pricey, similar to some of the medium sized nerf guns, depending on the materials used. While it may cost a little more for quality materials, the toy would be durable. The piece most likely to fail would be the trigger mechanism. This toy presents safety hazards including getting hit by the moving catapult arm and getting hit by whatever projectile the child decided to load the catapult with, assuming he/she opted not to use the foam balls provided.


This toy is based off the principle of friction. The toy is an alteration of a remote control car. The child would play with the toy the same way, but in this model the car has many sets of interchangeable wheels. The wheels shown include smooth wheels, which would work well on tile and wood floors, wheels with small bumps that would work well on carpet, and wheels that are more suited to handle uneven terrains, like gravel. The child would see how the friction between the wheels and the ground could affect the motion of the car.

This car could range from relatively cheap to fairly pricey, depending on the size of the car and the quality of the battery. The car itself could be made very durable, as long as it does not get wet. It should also be a very safe toy, assuming the wheels are large enough to not qualify as a choking hazard. 


Thinking about children's toys has taught me about all of the different factors that go into making a toy. When I was younger I always wondered why some toys didn't exist, and realized that even though they seemed cool in my head, they probably didn't meet requirements for safety, cost, or the likelihood that a parent would actually buy it for their child. I also learned that toys teach children a lot about the way the world works and the way objects interact, even if they don't realize it.

When I was young, toys taught me a lot about how different objects interact with each other. Things like legos were able to withstand certain loads placed on them, until you exceeded the maximum stress allowed and the legos started to come apart. I learned about some of the common sense involved with friction through remote control cars and anything that slid. Physical forces could be seen in all types of toys that wouldn't normally be on such display, giving children a greater understanding of the natural laws that govern the world. 

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39-245 Rapid Design through Virtual and Physical Prototyping

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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