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Tinker with Nature "Design Kit(d)"

The idea helps children from 2 to 5 ("Design Kids") and their parents in third world countries to create simple toys and household items with the help of materials found in nature that can aid in the development of the children but also the family household in general.

Photo of Tino Elgner
21 12

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The idea is to create a Tinker with Nature "Design Kid" that will show children how to create their own toys, and parents to craft useful household items with the materials found in the nature of their country at a particular time of the year.

The "Tinker with Nature" Design Kid would include:
  • Toy designs for kids (look at attached pics)
  • Household item designs for parents (look at attached pics)
  • Additional tools such as scissors, glue, colored sheets of paper, etc

In addition:
 
  • No written words will be needed as the illustrations will be self-explanatory due to the representation of every step
  • Designs will be adjusted to the specifc natural materials found in specific countries
  • Toys will be categorized by age, including easier to create toys for children from 2-3 and more difficult to create toys for children from 4-5
  • Designs for household items are applicable to the needs of the community  and include explanations on for example...
    • How to create baskets?
    • How to create clay vases?
    • How to create paint?

UPDATE 23.11.14

Based on feedback from the openIDEO community, the idea could be expanded to include a degree of mentorship by recruiting local children who are a bit older (8-10 year old children, perhaps) as mentors to the younger children to encourage creativity when creating these toys and to help and take on responsibilities.

UPDATE 24.11.14

We need to think about a way that increases the Kit's value to parents and children equally, as parents might no see the immediate value of creating toys from natural materials. Bundling the Kit with other "products" might work but needs to be looked into deeper.

UPDATE: 4.12.14

For the older kids, maybe toys or products to help them at school and develop their knowledge can also be part of the kit. Math, geometry and other subjects are easer when kids visualize some products and use them during the classes.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Children from 2 to 5 will benefit from this idea by learning crafts from an early age, while developing their imagination through playful interactions with the products they themselves designed. In addition, parents will be able to sell their creations to others and thus increase the household income of the family.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

We would need the creative minds behind the designs of the toys and household items based on specific geographical limitations. Also the scope of the idea at this point focuses on third world countries in general, and thus is too big. Help on reducing would be needed.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • This idea is meant to inspire. I hope someone else takes it on!

21 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Jéssica Casagrande
Team

Hey Team! Love this idea! Why not create some instructions to make games? In this way, parents or others kids would be able to play with the younger kids and improve the relationship between them.

Photo of Vishagan Baskaramoorthy
Team

Great idea! The example images show that there are endless possibilities; and the fact that what you can find/use will differ depending on the location will further differentiate the creations from someone in one country compared to someone from another. Could there be a way to encourage kids to create their own illustrations for what they have come up with to then go and share with other kids? Perhaps there could also be a way for them to keep track of everything they have done/made?

Photo of Jinal Sanghavi
Team

This is a really cool idea! I am just slightly concerned about whether playing around with nature will be sterile for infants- given dirt, etc. Must be careful that it does not adversely impact health

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Hi Jinal!!! :) thank you for your feedback. Ill use it to adjust the section on who will benefit from this idea. I was actually thinking of focusing on children between 2-5 years of age. Maybe 2 years is even still too young. But I was thinking back to my childhood and the simple designs I did with my parents. I was also thinking of including a section for parents that includes more difficult designs that can be used to create products which parents might be able to sell to others to aument the household income. Any suggestion on that would be appreciated.

Photo of olga kostina
Team

Hi guys, your idea is very interesting and I have seen some other toys creation ideas. Our team is working in the same direction (cheap bright toys for kids). So I hope we`ll be able to elaborate a great conception and ensure little children from developing countries cheap bright toys all together

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

hi olga, thank you very much for thinking with us. we are going to have another meetup next week and will talk about your idea as well. lets see what we come up with.

Photo of Eduardo Babo
Team

Hi Tino. Very interesting the idea of use natural materials found arround to develop new toys and household items. For the older kids, maybe toys or products to help them at school and develop their knowledge can be a good. Math, geometry and other subjects are easer when kids visualize some products and use them during the classes.

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Hi Edu,
thank you very much for your feedback; I love the addition in terms of creating tools for school. As you said, this might increase the scope of the product to a "folder" but I see a lot of value in it.

Photo of Jinal Sanghavi
Team

Tino, are there any additional items you discussed at your meetup? Do let us know of any updates :)

Photo of Sam Graham
Team

I love this idea! Its a very effective way to, in a way, clean up the community by creating these toys from household materials and recycled materials.
Could these children potentially get together and create stories and tales with their created toys?
Maybe a puppet show?
Check this idea out, it is very similar to yours and maybe you could collaborate together.
Share Ideas and discuss.
https://openideo.com/challenge/zero-to-five/ideas/travelling-puppet-theatres

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Hi sam, the idea about the puppets actually is mine as well :)...but thinking about it I did not think about combing both. Maybe the travelling puppet theaters can add a "puppet design kit" to their shows which the communities can use to create their own puppets once the puppet shows are travelling to another destination. what do you think?

Photo of Sam Graham
Team

Creating the puppets is a great way to boost confidence! Go for it!
Good luck!

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Dear Tino,

It's really fascinating idea. I really wonder how are you going to motivate parents to spend money in order acquire the "Design Kid" because they may be reluctant to spend additional money without being aware of the benefit of the respective kit.

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Hi Eleftheria, thank you very much fir your input; this is a great point your are bringing up which is something we have not thought about. We were thinking of possibly offering this Kit as part of a bundle of other "utensils" to maybe increase the overall usefulness of the bundle in case the "kit" itself does not lead to a buy decision. Maybe it would also be a good idea to highlight the fact that the kit would also include designs for parents which they can use to create products that can be sold to other families or used at home by themselves. but nevertheless, we will have to put some more thought into this. Any suggestions are totally welcome.

Photo of Valeria Fernandez Cortina
Team

Hi guys I liked your idea very much, I am totally for hands on creative projects for children.
Check out y post
https://openideo.com/challenge/zero-to-five/ideas/yuum-making-education-a-game

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Hi Valeria, thank you very much for the invite :)....we will talk about the idea in our next meetup this tuesday. hopefully ill come back with some more insights.

Photo of Susanne van Lieshout
Team

Hi Tino, the idea is has potential and in my career in many different countries I've come across very creative 'toys' ideas made with empty sardine cans, plastic bags, pine cones, beer bottle tops, and you name it. There is already so much creativity out there, we just need to collect and share it. We can learn a lot from children in poor communities that are often very resourceful, and they can learn from us. Our idea about the toy libraries (check my team please) is to create more educational toys, so that children learn skills through safe, educational and entertaining toys. There is a difference between 'play materials' (which can be anything, from a piece of strong to a mango seed) and 'toys'. I think the trick is to bridge the two, and create safe toys which are made with locally available, simple materials. Let me know what you think. Susanne

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Hi Susanne, thank you very much for your comment; and I totally agree - it is all about bridging these two aspects. Another point that could also be of interest to you is the question of how we can create an idea that basically kills two birds with one stone...meaning how can the idea help children, but also the parents. We thought that with the Design Kit we could include design for kids, but also for the parents which they then can possibly sell. For us helping the parents meant finding a way of creating an opportunity that could increase the family household income as often food and things that are needed for the physcial well being of the child cost money; but this is obviously not the only way. Has your team thought about it in that way as well? This way you might increase the scope of the idea but thus might solve the problem from all angels,,,,

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Looking at your idea now :)

Photo of Natasha Abadilla
Team

Hi Tino,

You've got a great concept here! I love that you're encouraging creativity in a very low-cost, environment-friendly way. Another great aspect of your idea is how the instructions won't include any words - you'll be able to implement this idea across many cultures and countries this way.

Something you might want to consider is recruiting local children who are a bit older than your 2-5 year old age group target (8-10 year old children, perhaps) as mentors to the younger children to encourage creativity when creating these toys. I know children around this age are always so enthusiastic to help and take on responsibilities, so this may be a helpful component of your program.

If you have the time, I'd love to hear what you think about my team's idea, under the Parenting Information mission: Maternal and under-5 health and education clinics. Thank you!

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Natasha, this is great feedback; the mentoring part is genius. This way children also learn the importance of sharing and treating each other with respect by becoming "Design Teachers." Ill look at you idea now :)