Child’s Play

Competition Details

Children's Building System

by Danielle Pecora

As human beings, we are distinguished from other animals by our instinctual desire to create things. From the early days of mankind, people have been seeking out materials to make artwork, tools, utensils, clothing, shelters, and much more. So it seems to come as no surprise that children, when left to their own devices, can take seemingly ordinary objects and put them together to create whatever their minds can dream up.

Think back to when you were a kid. Can you remember participating in the childhood ritual of “building forts” from furniture, blankets, and whatever else you could find around the house? This personally nostalgic memory became my main source of inspiration for designing a new creative building toy that would allow children to build their own unique life-sized structures.

The system is intended for children ages 6—10 and is comprised of six components. Its design was influenced by various forms of “architecture” ranging from the innovative creations of architect, Frank Gehry, to Native American huts and teepees, to forms found in nature. When assembled, the pieces create a skeletal structure that is covered with a “skin”. Soft, bendable Rods (foam tubes with an aluminum wire running through the center) make up the “bones” of the system. They can be connected with three types of joints—Star Joints, T-Joints, and Tube Joints, all made of recycled plastic. The Pods, made of natural rubber, can be used make the Rods stand up. Once a structure is complete, it can be covered with translucent Fabric Squares, which have Velcro straps for attachment.

Besides offering nearly endless possibilities, the variety of flexible components also helps children gain an understanding for how things function together while they design, build, and play in their very own creations. There is no limit to where their creativity and imagination can take them.