Dezeen Magazine

Nine student design projects that aim to enhance children's learning, play and health

Dezeen School Shows: we've picked nine design projects featured in Dezeen School Shows that explore new ways for children to learn and play in addition to projects that aim to improve mental and physical health.

This roundup includes a toy that intends to improve toddlers' communication skills and a simulation game that aims to ease children's anxiety during a blood test.

The selection of projects come from product, furniture and industrial design courses at international institutions including University of Wales Trinity St David, L'École de design Nantes Atlantique, Brunel University, Hong Kong Design Institute and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Children's activity designed to encourage them to healthily deal with loss

Growth Garden by Sophie Lazenby

Industrial Design and Technology BA student Sophie Lazenby has created a therapy game that aims to support conversations with children about loss.

Called Growth Garden, the game facilitates discussions between parents and their children through play, and aims to prevent mental health issues such as anxiety and depression in adult life.

"On average, one in five children will experience the loss of someone close to them by age 18," said Lazenby. "The Growth Garden game provides an engaging distraction activity and conversation prompt for parents to talk to their children and help the child communicate how they are feeling in a way they understand most, through play."

Student: Sophie Lazenby
School: Brunel University
Course: Industrial Design and Technology BA

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Photograph showing children's toy bikes laying on white backdrop

Build & Ride by Adam Higgins

MSc Industrial Design student Adam Higgins has made a bike that must be assembled to be used, which aims to improve children's coordination and motor skills.

Called Build & Ride, the bike's construction consists of a ten-step process. Once built, the bike intends to give the child confidence and a sense of achievement.

"Build & Ride is a children's balance bike that engages users with practical STEM learning outcomes," said Higgins. "Gaining a great sense of accomplishment and confidence, the child can hit the ground running with their first bike adventure."

Student: Adam Higgins
School: University of Wales Trinity St David
Course: MSc Industrial Design

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Design to help individuals with clubfoot

Smile Brace by Nazifa Begum

Nazifa Begum, an Industrial Design and Technology student, has assembled a device for clubfoot patients that seeks to move away from the appearance of traditional medical devices.

By creating a slipper-style design, Smile Brace includes a mechanism that helps to support children's feet while providing a comfortable and adjustable experience.

"The Smile Brace is designed to assist clubfoot patients become more compliant with their brace use by improving the overall comfort and experience, thus decreasing recurrence rates," said Begum. "An abduction dorsiflex mechanism was integrated into the design to maintain the correction of clubfoot."

Student: Nazifa Begum
School: Brunel University
Course: Industrial Design and Technology BA

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Foldable child's desk by student at L'Ecole de Design

Orbi by Coralie Haegeman

Coralie Haegeman, a Design and Innovation student, has created a moveable desk that seeks to encourage elementary school students to do their homework.

By including a handle and adjustable legs, the desk allows students to choose where to study and aims to make school assignments more fun.

"Orbi is a nomadic desk that allows the child to be mobile and choose where to study," said Haegeman. "The desk is the size of a large open school book."

Student: Coralie Haegeman
School: L'École de design Nantes
Course: MDes Design and Innovation

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White Milky Assistant device on a grey background

Milky Assistant by Leung Yee Ting, Zhu Wenjie and Hu Yuyang

Multimedia and Entertainment Technology students Leung Yee Ting, Zhu Wenjie and Hu Yuyang have produced a device and mobile app that allow parents to track their baby's feeding.

Called Milky Assistant, the students aim to reduce carers' anxiety by facilitating feeding tracking.

"The two key components for a baby's growth and development are sleep and feeding", said the students. "These create the foundation for a healthy life during infancy."

Students: Leung Yee Ting, Zhu Wenjie and Hu Yuyang
School: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Course: MSc in Multimedia and Entertainment Technology

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Photograph showing children's toy with mock syringe, tube and blue bear

PreMedPrep by Adam Higgins

Adam Higgins, an Msc Industrial Design student, has designed a toy that allows children to imitate blood tests with the aim of reducing the anxiety children experience during the test.

According to Higgins, PreMedPrep is an example of a medical prep test that has yet to be available in hospitals. With this toy, Higgins intends to distract the child during the blood test procedure, making the experience easier for children, medical professionals and parents.

"The purpose of the interactive toy is to utilise visual learning to provide emotional and cognitive support to children," said Higgins. "Letting children play with the product allows them to discover how blood tests are administered, distracting them from their fears or anxieties and feeling more in control of the situation."

Student: Adam Higgins
School: University of Wales Trinity St David
Course: MSc Industrial Design

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Visualisations of black and beige baby pram

Embrace by John Ho

Product design student John Ho has developed a baby stroller with a raised baby seat to make navigation easier for parents with low or impaired vision.

Called Embrace, the baby stroller includes a brake and a wider wheelbase that aim to enhance security and mobility in case of an emergency.

"For many parents with low or impaired vision that can only see distances of less than three metres, existing baby strollers limit their ability to navigate safely when they are with their child," said Ho. "Embrace repositions the baby seat closer to the user to give them a clear view of the environment ahead."

Student: John Ho
School: Hong Kong Design Institute
Course: HD in Product Design

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Photograph showing green and black strapped carry case attached to pink children's bike

Attach by Lauren Gooch

Product and Furniture Design student Lauren Gooch has completed an over-the-shoulder bag for oxygen cylinders, which aims to give children who require constant oxygen treatment more independency.

Attach can be hooked to bikes and scooters, intending to allow users to be involved in physical and social activities without the help of a parent or carer.

"The over-the-shoulder feature and universal hook attaches the cylinder securely to scooters, bikes and other equipment, making the product suitable for most activities and allowing the user to be more independent," said Gooch.

Student: Lauren Gooch
School: University of Wales Trinity St David
Course: BA Product and Furniture Design

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Theo by Ioana Saioc

Ioana Saioc, a Product Design Engineering BSc student, has produced an interactive tennis-ball-shaped toy that aims to make sports more engaging for children.

After realising many children's preference for digital over physical games, Saioc designed Theo – a toy that features a speaker, visual cards and sensors that react to the child's actions.

"With 80 per cent of children preferring digital over physical play, sports such as tennis are experiencing decreased participation due to lack of enjoyment," said Saioc. "The child chooses a card and inserts it into the device. The speaker will first explain the rules after which the ball lights up and the game begins."

Student: Ioana Saioc
School: Brunel University
Course: Product Design Engineering BSc

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Partnership content

These projects are presented in school shows from institutions that partner with Dezeen. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.