The complexity of the modern world is clear for everyone, it often displaces us, catches us unprepared and puts us in front of topics or scenarios that we don’t know how to deal with. Issues such as discrimination, marginalization, cyberbullying are on the agenda in newspapers and too frequently the protagonists of these events are the youngest because they’re fragile or naive. To counter these phenomena, Webecome was born, a service to prevent social unrest in primary school promoted by Intesa San Paolo.
As a designer I feel a sense of slight satisfaction in seeing beautiful products; if I then discover that they are not only beautiful to look at, but also easy and fun to use, well designed in all their parts, this satisfaction grows with the desire to share my reflections about it. This brief digression is to explain my state of mind when I discovered Yoto, an audio player designed for children…actually calling it audio player is a bit resizing, but let’s go one step at a time!
Artificial Intelligence is making giant strides and it begins to be perceived naturally also in the market of educational toys. If few months ago we talked about more or less static robots, and the discussion that ignited the most careful parents was about the amount of data that a voice assistant could steal from an unwitting child, well today we introduce you to Moxie; in addition to being the latest news in the field of AI for children, it is also proof that design serving artificial intelligence for kids can open new roads for interaction with robots.
If you believe that there’s no more room for news in the educational field, if when you think about innovation you only consider Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence and if you divide the child’s emotions into extreme happiness and hysterical crying, well after this article you’ll need to change your mind. In our relentless hunt for stimulating projects, we came across QUID+, a young Italian editorial company that represents an important innovation for the education of children and parents.
“Children are capable of healing themselves, they just need the right conditions for it”. Today we start from this quote to tell you about a new project, a set of six wooden dolls for play therapy, winner of the last Kids Design Award in Cologne.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that the ‘child-friendly coding‘ is an hot-topic for us (if you have not read the past articles on the subject, you can retrieve here or here); our attention comes both from the boom of products that have populated the toy market and from the great educational potential of these games. In this article we present Robo Wunderkind, an easy-to-build robot that has just successfully completed a second campaign on Kickstarter.
What brought Awareness Toys at Games for Health Europe and on ADI Design Index 2019 I think it was especially the idea of being able to create toys for adults.
The project, born from the cooperation with Dario Gianoli, counselor educated in generative psychopedagogy, started in 2015 with the goal of bringing objects that could act as facilitators at diverse levels into educational practices. The concepts of instability, void and loss have been represented through simple shapes in order to be able to “dress” with player’s thoughts, memories and emotions.
Awareness Toys have been presented last 8 October at Games For Health Europe 2019, a conference focussed on serious games we already spoke about in this post, this year at its ninth edition. In a context where digital and virtual reality have been main characters, these totally analog toys have tried to give a different perspective on the role of sensory activation in the play as well as on the role of the educator/guide in such critical and deep educational paths.
The collection has also run for the selection of the ADI Deign Index 2019, yearly publication produced by the Italian Industrial Design Association, that every year brings together the best Italian design in production, selected by the ADI’s Permanent Design Observatory. The selection features both products and product systems from diverse markets, theoretical-critical researches, process or corporate researches applied to design. Awareness Toys have been featured in the section of Social Design in the occasion of the presentation of the publication, held in Milan the last 14 October at the Auditorium of the National Science and Technology Museum “Leonardo da Vinci”. An award that confirms the innovative approach of the project and opens it to a specialized audience. Awareness Toys at Games for Health Europe and on ADI Design Index 2019 is maybe the signal of something changing, of an attention that is moving toward play and the adult world.
When we play (or we played, that’s up to you), we are used to following instructions, opening a booklet that explains how that toy works or listening to indications, a more or less rigid path that guides us in a sequence of actions. What if all this was limiting for a child? What would happen if instead of following consequential steps, was given a final goal without caring about the route? We find out with Rigamajic, a toy without instructions that challenges different clichés related to the sphere of childhood and the toy world in general.
Dinosaurs have always been one of the favorite topics of children of all times, we have all been fascinated (maybe we still are) and we have owned at least one puppet. To confirm this statement there are also scientific bases that confirm that almost one child in three has an immeasurable interest in this subject. The academics of the University of Virginia have also found that in children interested in dinosaurs there is a higher threshold of attention and greater capacity to process information, mainly because they read a lot about it and try to deepen their knowledge to expand the possibilities of play. Today we present Dino, a dinosaur toy that helps you learn.
‘Less is more’ is a famous quote by the German architect Mies van der Rohe; from architecture to product design, from fashion to technology, it laid the foundations of a philosophy for which the best design result is inspired by essentiality. This phrase comes clearly into my mind like a luminous neon advertising, as soon as I started to deepen my research on Bilibo, an educational toy that stimulates imagination.