Essay: Designing Toys for Toddlers
When creating a toy it is important to give consideration to how the child will perceive the toy. For example toddlers who are below 1 year of age interact with the world around them through taste and touch. Thus, it is a habitual for them to touch and taste everything they can get their hands on as a learning experience. Once they get older however and their mental processes develop, they begin to understand the concept of shapes and how they fit together. Though they will still touch and taste every toy they come across, with adult supervision they can also begin to interpret the function behind the toy. These interpretations may be gained quite easily simply by showing the child how the toy works a few times. Not only do these help the child to gain emotional and physical independence but also forms a bond with the adult he is playing with. This interaction also serves an additional function to present frustration within the child. In this manner they can ensure the safety of the child in question, see them develop social attributes and in many ways enjoy seeing how children develop. Finally, it is essential that the child makes the choice which toy to play with and it is not forced upon him. Such an action may not only stunt the child’s individuality, but may also confuse him.
For the objective of this toy design assignment, I thought long and hard about the design about a toy which would not only prove interesting and educational for children, but also act as a developmental tool. I wanted to specially design this toy for my nephew who is currently 12 months old. I went to the nearest toy store and picked up similar objects made for the 9 to 18 month age group to get an idea of what would be feasible and safe for him to play with. I decided to simplify my initially complex ideas and create a wooden box with animal designs as my chosen toy. Once I settled on the design I decided to incorporate animal shapes on each side of the box, as a sort of simple puzzle for him to solve.
During the age of 12 months babies develop the ability to learn and remember. They can recognize love ones and interact with them and also understand that objects still exist when they are out of their viewpoint. During this time they can also stand with support and can handle physical items. Though their fine motor skills are not developed they still grab things they come in contact with and interact with them through sensory perception.
When creating the box I wanted to make sure that it was light, durable and manageable in size so that he could handle it without hurting himself. Toddlers like to fit, drop, hold and hit in these early months. So the box had to be designed to be easily grabable and provide him with something which would hold his attention.
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