TUC TIE Lab Education / Play / Εκπαιδότοποι
Many Happy re-Turns is an object designed to materially facilitate the “learning through activity” pedagogical approach, developed by the design team, and generate the possibilities for children to infuse imaginative play into their everyday living and educational environments with a single yet highly transformative element. Play is inseparable with a child’s upbringing, as it is a vital biological regulator that has the potential to induce physically and mentally stimulating situations. Moreover, play helps children from an early age to creatively learn about themselves, others and the world around them.
The presented idea surfaced after a large period of observing the daily routine of children in their kindergarten spaces. The observation filter was adjusted to the ways children eagerly seek out playful activities and to the ways they knowingly or unexpectedly spatialise play with objects and other configurations. Our observations verified the design parameters that later directed the creation of this multi-functional object we came to call Many Happy re-Turns. Its primary feature is that it facilitates playful interaction and communication by providing seven basic spatial configurations, as a single object, and open-ended settings for two or more, limited only by the imagination. As the number of modules increases, the children are able to discover new surfaces, new structures and new uses. During all these interactions, children are presented with different opportunities to develop and fine-tune their developmental skills and abilities.
The object is initially presented as a chair, baring a number of morphological influences that trigger a child’s imagination. When children begin to turn it over, and over, they begin to identify in it a variety of known shapes, ranging from animals (elephant, turtle, dove and so on) to archetypical forms (house, milk box, boat and so on). Especially the animal forms are immediately regarded as imaginary companions. When Many Happy re-Turns come together in a group, the result follows the activities of the children, assisting them in play scenarios, play personalities, play patterns and zones. This creates the conditions for a variety of play modes comprised of construction play, fantasy play, creative play, symbolic play and play with rules, through individual, parallel, onlooking and group activities. The form of the object was designed so that it can be easily pushed, rolled, lifted and re-located by children, as well as to get nested by grown-ups in order to save space when it is not used. It is all made of corrugated cardboard following the creative re-use philosophy. The colourful sides where made to increase variety. The blackboard surface was added to help personalise the teaching process. As an object it is very rigid, yet lightweight and, most-importantly, safe for children, who can very easily get familiar with its scale. Grown-ups can also use it as a seat.
PROSPECTS FOR IMPLEMENTATION
- Kindergartens, Pre-schools, Elementary Schools
- Day-care Centers, NGOs
- Day-care facilities, Playgrounds, Children-friendly Hotels
01. KEPPEDIH-KAM Nursery Schools
02. Green Educational Playscapes Exhibition
03. The Smile of the Child | Athens International Airport Children's Creative Entertainment area