Child’s Play

Competition Details

The Unpredicta Ball

by Jeni Rosenthal

This toy is meant for toddlers to preschoolers. It is inspired by the multiple uses children find for the average cardboard box.

This toy provides diverse options for play as the various layers can be used together or separately or in conjunction with other toys the child may already have. The forms are suitable for individual play as well as social play.

The nested balls were inspired by the classic Russian nested dolls. The innermost ball is a wool felt ball. The outer layers are made from 2 cm thick wool felt which can be produced using a machine recently developed by Canadian Deborah Loxam-Kohl (see the winner of the World Wool Award - Concept and Innovation category 2005). The two outer layers are cut in curved lines to provide an additional challenge when re-assembling the layers encouraging the development of motor skills and hand - eye coordination. Velcro placed on the 2 cm edge of the forms allows the pieces to be held together tightly.

Using durable dense wool felt provides a number of desirable benefits. Wool is a 100% natural renewable material. Wool felt repels liquids and is easily washed. It is flameproof and non-toxic. Colours would be obtained through the use of non-toxic natural dyes. It repels allergens such as dust mites so it is safe for children with respiratory disorders such as asthma. There are no hard edges, small parts or strings to cause injury. When the toy reaches the end of it's life cycle it can be safely returned to the ground adding valuable nutrients to the soil.

The forms have a desirable soft texture yet are firm enough to hold their shape. The uses depend on the imagination of the child and as the child grows, they can find new uses for the toy.