Title: Essential concepts in toy design education: aimlessness, empathy and play value

Authors: Mathieu A. Gielen

Addresses: Department of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, CE Delft 2628, The Netherlands

Abstract: This paper aims at contributing to the professional development of toy design education programs. It draws from the practice of a children|s toy design course at an academic design faculty. It identifies three major concepts that greatly influence toy quality and that students find difficult to understand and apply. This paper describes how these concepts are attended to in the educational format of the toy design course. They are aimlessness (the notion that play is focused on the process of an activity rather than on a necessary outcome of it), empathy (the necessity to understand the concerns and motivations of children not only in an cognitive but also in an emotional way) and play value (the usability of a toy as a tool for play, generating diverse play opportunities that suit various children|s needs, motivations and abilities).

Keywords: toy design education; toys quality; play value; design methodology; aimlessness; empathy; design for play; childrens toys; child needs; child motivation; child abilities; emotion.

DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2010.030490

International Journal of Arts and Technology, 2010 Vol.3 No.1, pp.4 - 16

Published online: 18 Dec 2009 *

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