Next Generation Play

Play for a Digital Age

What does “play” look like in a digital age?


We’ve all seen kids completely absorbed in the screens in front of them. Yet, what if we could move kids from consumption to creation. That was the motivation behind this research project done at Handmade.

A very small team gathered together to discuss what could be done. We looked into current trends, as well as research coming out about the impact of smart devices on kids. We saw an opportunity in open-ended play. Child psychology will tell you of the importance of open-ended play. It’s here that kids can process their own emotions and experiences in healthy ways.

The above video is where we landed in our process. We moved through two key phases and concepts. The first approach was to create “Building Toys.” From there we moved into concepts around “Building Play.” It was here that we felt the highest amount of open-ended play would be found.



Product Concept

Principal Product Designer + Film Production

Concept and Story Development, UX, Visual Design, Film Direction & Editing

The process as seen from my sketchbook

I begin my work in tangible expressions. Some people have a temptation to jump straight into computer work. I like to get away from the computer when I think and brainstorm. There’s something special about literally putting pen to paper to form new ideas.

Building Toys

Curio was a concept we created that taught basics in programming. In a way, it’s a tangible version of If This Then That (IFTTT). It’s your Erector Set meets Mr. Potato Head. Start by putting on either an input or output device, and then keep adding more for surprising results.

Building Play

This concept moves away from the engineering toy perspective to simplify the play experience. Here we have one hero device that can be used in multiple ways. Bring the “Shapie” to a smart device to set the parameters or the game.

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