Concept of thoughtless awareness in toy industry & a toy line of lightness

juana

It is an ancient yet extremely modern concept. Thoughtless is the state of the person who is always focused and happy, whose creativity constantly flows with brilliance and purity, no space for misinterpretations, sadness, stupidity and other kinds of imbalances. This concept is related to a positive and healthy state of mind, very close to the ideal lifestyle which we want to create nowadays in our urban and no urban environments. Hence, it is a concept valid and fully adaptable to the toys manufacture.

Focus: to transmit feelings of joy, lightness, fun, simplicity.

Design: preference of rounded shapes, elements & inspirations from the nature, fresh character and great characters. 

Toy materials: soft materials, attractive to the hands, really easy to handle and carry, not harsh, sometimes not hard at all, fabrics, an examplary line where the child can have complete control on it and does not have to ask the parents to do something (like changing batteries, push the button ecc).

Example of toy: From the idea of Sensitive Floor, developed by IO Agency last year: an interactive video projection designed specifically to be walked on. ~~~~> Brought to toy industry in form of a….

… scene – projector which creates, on the wall, a touch sensitive playing platform. Scenes can include:

a. interactive art scenes

b. learning games

c. story telling sequences

two examples of scenes:

1. A spiral is projected and a small elephant has to be accompanied by one finger along the spiral path from the outside to the inside extreme.

2. Moving sea Waves are projected with floating jellyfish. When a jelly is fully covered by the hand it will disappear but another jelly will appear in another corner of the sea scenario.

How to use it: the projector can be placed on a cabinet, and images will appear on the wall or furniture cabinet in front of it.

 

 

Developing love is basic reality to educate children

 

I spent more than an hour skyping with Clara and Vicky from England yesterday at my office. These two young girls, we were living together in Italy few years ago when I was nanny and their mother was pregnant of the third child. At office I did not have the microphone so could only write down everything and listening to all they were speaking from the other side. The most beautiful chat: little things: stories, laughs, sending funny emoticons, chewing candies and so on. Just in the middle of the busiest time of my schedule at work. Just at the perfect moment for inundating the heart with something strong and sane.

 

Now the attention towards how the children do spend their time is growing more and more everywhere. They are becoming the centre of our mind. There are plenty of books talking that we have to keep our kids engaged as much as possible to learn, to grow, to absorb in order to develop their skills and talents. This is false actually. I think that orientatively if they can be busy for half of their time with homework and activities they can also do nothing for the other half of the time. I grew up at this way: School, home works and dance class three times a week were all on a fixed schedule for about ten years from 6 to 19. All the left free time was spent to create things with the help of parents or friends. Painting, reading, listening to music, playing an instrument without any instructor, just alone, toys, journals, swimming in the summertime, going for mushrooms, asparaguses or cyclamens and mimosas during spring time, pic-nics, tons of free walks around the town and so on. The love surrounding was soft and spontaneous, just enough to guide explorations and personal growth.  

My birthday parties were memorable, sometimes at the central park among rocks and small animals sometimes at the beach, and aunties, mommies and friends were all enjoying at the same time. It has been going for years like that. There were no scheduled activities and we used to run free in the nature or making a volcano or a castle with the sand. Everything was really simple and familiar, the environment comfy and the people smiling. Love was developing on its own natural way… and still is.

 

Here in Hong Kong my friends-mothers tell that the schools are putting a lot of pressure on the little ones. They have to pass examinations and study hard even at night several times during the week. Plus at least three courses-activities in afternons and/or weekends. I am sure this is not the right path to educate children. I am sure both teachers and educators, parents are lovely and careful. But love and pressure do not combine nicely most of the times, do they? If a child feels he is too often forced to do something, that means he is not comfortable with this rhythm and this situation will be translated sooner or later in another problem. It is obvious. There are other ways to educate which are safer and more adapting to a child inner self. And it is in the inner self where all the talents and the skills already reside! 

Toys today

Working with electronic toys… I would never expect to do also this job. But now that I am used to this circle I realize that working with toys today puts you in such delicate tasks! You are dealing with the softest of the minds and the skills to really understand the world of a child are lacking tremendously. No matter you have been studying for becoming a teacher at primary school level, or as a psychologist or as infancy educators, or as animators. There are plenty of people with these majors out there but that does not mean that also the quality of understanding is playing a mature role out there.

 These are quotes I collected from an email-thread pointing out resources for toys today: 

…the wonderful paper ideas are fine, and needed for children over 6. Books too can be designed and printed in India, no need to worry about pleasing western publishing firms, print them for our own use, or to sell/give to children we reach.
But for little children, we need classic wooden toys and dolls, excellent control of paints, fabrics, and stuffing, i.e. organic, so they are not toxic.

How about building toys – blocks – an established way to teach math and geometry in preschool – but they don’t have to be boring they could be hand painted with all kinds of creative designs, like mendhi, or abstract, flowers, and angel faces.

Our world economy is going in dire straits. Attention has to be somehow on handicraft too, on artist creation also. All of these we can build it with a good and collective attention on the proper channel to “manufacture it”. Let’s know what you think about the local power of handicraft…???

 Examples of content scripts, the basic software matrix for electronic learning products, proposed by modern companies trying to play their role to educate children on a mass level.

USE+ARROW01+INST17a                  Use the arrow keys to finish building the equation.
 
SELECT+INST18a+ WSABERKBRD                                 Select a correct operation sign with the lightsaber or the keyboard.
 
INST19a+INST19b+NUM001+ TIME02                                                Pay attention!  Solve as many as you can in one minute!

Found in an article:

 

“We wanted to get away from the branding. I don’t think children should be advertised to,” says Lee, who co-founded the store two years ago with wife Danielle and sister-in-law Shelley Goldschlager. Their mission: selling toys that would encourage kids to construct, create and invent their own storylines.

Then there’s InquisitiveKid.ca, a new online store offering more than 300 minimalist playthings.

“A good toy is 10 per cent toy and 90 per cent child,” says Peter Emmenegger of Toronto, a software engineer and father of two who launched the venture last month. “The child’s imagination is the engine of healthy play.”

Some important “must have” requirements to work in this field: 

  • To have an innocent and childlike personality
  • To be familiar with (after having absorbed thru background and other experiences) eradicated good values, humus for a child personality
  • To have an established and overflowing creativity covering at least 3 branches of art (e.g. music, painting, drama).
  • To have the ability to not think too much
  • To have the skill to simplify contents
  • To have an extremely flexible and adaptable character
  • To have an open mind and heart
  • To be able to seek  the playful aspect of the daily life
  • To be extremely collective and not individualistic

Today the chances to become really professional in the toy industry (at any level) are not so high, if we give an honest glimpse around ourselves. If at least we already covered three of the above qualities we are probably on the right path to succeed…