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ARTDESIGNOPEN TOYTOY Blog

A playground made with imagination and the big blue blocks

16 December 2021 — by _Fabio_Guaricci

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We have previously talked about how a toy without instructions designed by Cas Holman. It challenges different clichés related to the sphere of childhood and the toy world in general and lets a child re-imagine their own toy. Today we are writing about one such wonder, a playground made with imagination and the big blue blocks

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you want what you imagine, and at last, you create what you want.

– George Bernard Shaw

Cas Holman was brought onto a team to re-imagine the archetypal playground and playground furniture by Rockwell group. At first, they were trying to create something new like, How can they make the playground look different? Beautiful sculptural things and different ways of holding up the slides. It looked different but the play was the same. The idea was to generate the adrenaline that a slide gives with quick uncontrolled movements. Ultimately, a playground made with imagination and the big blue blocks was created based on the Caroline Pratt unit blocks.

Imagination Playground has no shape, size or any defined entity. Kids use enormous building blocks and stack them/ join them / balance them or simply just place them around. It’s a way for children to build and create a playground that would change and evolve throughout the day. It gives them the sense of “I can do it, I can think for myself.” And be like, “Hey, I had an idea, and I did it.”

The large size of the blocks increases social interaction and collaboration as children work together to move them and construct temporary worlds and create their own games. It all started in New York in 2010, when the first “Playground in a box” was installed in a school and thereafter launched officially in 26th September, 2010. And after that many schools and public parks have adopted this playground made with imagination and the Big Blue Blocks. It has reached 25+ countries, 10,000+ schools and 100,000+ kids worldwide with initiatives by UNICEF’s P.L.A.Y.

We thought about how we could let the kids become the designers

– Barry Richards (studio leader at Rockwell)

They believed that, the constructed environments were places that enforced certain hierarchies and power structures, are not always friendly to everybody, especially children. It sets a premade boundary for young minds and restricts their thought process into categorizing “RIGHTs” and “WRONGs”.  To move away from this they wanted to create tools for children to feel understood for who they are, what they want, what they think, how they feel and finally what they can create.

Edited by – Jesal Patel

DESIGNEDUCATIONALOPEN TOYTOY Blog

The Language of THINGS in a Six Bricks construction toy design

24 September 2021 — by _Fabio_Guaricci

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We are today writing about a product design that teaches the Language of THINGS in a Six Bricks construction toy design.

Children must master the Language of THINGS, before they master the Language of WORDS

Friedrich Froebel

Have you ever wondered how many ways can you combine 6 Lego bricks?

There are 915,103,765 ways to combine six, eight-stud LEGO bricks. Yes that is a huge number and that very number is possible ways of being creative. Lego has essentially taken the concrete block, the building block of the world and made it into the building block of our imagination. (Previously, we have talked about SumBlocks, which is open ended blocks used for learning basic arithmetic).

Coming back to the 6 bricks !!

Six Bricks is a product design that teaches the Language of THINGS in a Six Bricks construction toy design, a hands-on learning tool conceptualized by Care For Education(CFE) South Africa in partnership With LEGO Foundation to uplift children, schools and organizations in under-resourced communities. Through fun and short activities with the set of LEGO DUPLO bricks in six bright colors, consist of red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue and light blue 2 x 4 DUPLO bricks

WHY SIX BRICKS ?

6 Bricks is a concept which playfully engages children in variety of skills development, as with any skill, to develop it, one need to explore it, to explore it, and to practice it. Children grow and develop at different rates – it is so easy to adapt 6 Bricks activities to any child’s level, thereby making the activities suitably challenging for all. It caters for different learning styles by using many different ways to teach – it caters for visual learner, the auditory learner, and the tactile learner.

There are over 500 activities available for Six Bricks which enable physical, cognitive, social and emotional development for preschool & elementary children. They can be used by individual working towards skill development in children! It is an ideal educational resource for Teachers, NGOs, Home Scholars, Parents and Social Initiatives like Sunday Bricks, teachSTEAM and many more..

Six blocks helps in mainly Building 4 main Development Areas :

  1. PHYSICAL : With Fine motor skills(hands and fingers), Gross motor skills(whole body), uses senses (sight, touch etc.), Spatial skills / orientation, Balance / Coordination.
  2. INTELLECTUAL : With Attention skills, Reasoning / Logic, Problem-solving, Experimentation, Memory skills, Creativity and Imagination.
  3. EMOTIONAL : With generating Empathy, Motivation, Self-awareness, Express feelings, Self-confidence and building self-esteem.
  4. SOCIAL : By learning language (description), Perspective-taking, Collaboration, Sharing ideas, Thinking, Roles and responsibilities.

WHEN TO USE SIX BLOCKS ?

These activities can take 2-5 minutes. They are Short, Sharp, Engaging and Fun! They can be used as ‘warm up’ activity to begin the day. As an ‘unwind’ activity to close the rigorous academic session. Or as a ‘Brain Break’ during the course of a school day. Or as a ‘Brain-gym’ in any of the learning areas to develop working memory, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility.

They can be used Individually, In small groups, In large groups, With a variety of ages, To remediate learning challenges or as an assessment tool for teachers and therapists. There are some Books and Videos related to the guidance of activities and different categories to learn with these brick like Perceptual Skills, Literacy Skills, Physical Skills, Numeracy Skills, Social-Emotional Skills and Groups Games.

It allows children to make mistakes without feeling ashamed or embarrassed- enables the PROCESS to become important, not the result. Children can make mistakes and learn from their mistakes– improve; try out; experiment without the fear of “being wrong”. In this way they become confident and adventurous and spark their own Imagination to boost up the Creativity.

Edited by – Jesal Patel