Child’s Play

Competition Details

Toy Model Kit 2.0: collaborative model-making for the inventive youth

by Karin Chen

The Toy Model Kit 2.0 is a large-scale design puzzle with variable outcomes based on collaborative interpretation and manipulation. Similar to the tradition of toy model-making, it composes of a kit of parts that require assembly. The key to its form, stability, and uniqueness is the child’s ingenuity. By deciding the location and percentage of rips and folds, he is designing a building by simultaneously constructing and deconstructing cardboard units to create a functional work of art. Toy Model Kit 2.0, however, is an activity that focuses on the physical, mental, and social experience rather than the overall object. Unlike the model airplane, it promotes group participation and debate- for example, deciding where to place a window in a shelter- as well as exercise of the creative and analytical mind.

How it Works: The Toy Model Kit is composed of identical 2’x2’ panels with layers of corrugated cardboard sheets. Embedded in the panel are written and graphical instructions open to interpretation; each layer has a perforated or scored modular pattern intended for ripping and folding by hand. Using the techniques of cardboard packaging, the panels come together at overlapping joints and are held in place by interlocking folds; a translucent plastic shell with the same modular pattern acts as a stress skin to provide structure. In the shelter example provided, the cardboard and plastic rip patterns also allow for ventilation and light openings before or after assembly.

Age Group: 12 and up

Materials: corrugated cardboard, polypropylene sheets, nuts & bolts; no tools required

Environmental considerations: cardboard and polypropylene are 100% recyclable and non-toxic.