The ever-increasing amount of time we spend glued to our “Personal Electronic Devices”, documenting or even enhancing the reality through applications such as Pokemon GO, the 2016 craze, means that we might start to lack time to actually experience physical environment. For children growth contact with physical, tactile world is essential for development of their imagination, cognitive skills, social skills, dexterity and emotional strength. Virtual world can enhance some of these processes but not replace them entirely. Therefore, in spite of contemporary, rapid developments in artificial intelligence, or virtual and augmented reality children should stay connected to real world if only to be able to distinguish it from artificial one in the future.
Children need playgrounds and children need toys.
The selection of children’s toys is truly rich. A visit in nearly any shopping market could yield a huge haul of toys both of traditional sort such as dolls or teddy bears and contemporary toys which often try to be more intellectually, socially or psychologically stimulating.
The total revenue of global toy market was 90.4 BLN USD (2 724 660 000 000 THB) and an average amount spend on toys per child per year in Europe was 215 USD (6 480 THB).
The opulence of choice does not mean that said toys are available for all. Children hailing from purer communities, such as Sa Kaeo pupils attending Baan Wang Ree and Baan Nong Kae, hardly have access to offered toys and simply cannot afford them. On one hand in this way, being forced to entertain themselves with everyday objects, they use their imagination and creativity more but on the other without a doubt regular toys would bring them joy and educational ones would further stimulate their cognitive skills and mental growth.
Attendees of both schools often spend there more time than required, waiting for their parents or caretakers to be taken home. If left outside they would require nearly constant supervision of already anyway overworked teachers. If kept inside they would require some sort of occupation.
Workshop participants will be asked to design toys for children attending Baan Wang Ree and Baan Nong Kae. They should be safe to use and inexpensive to produce. Preferably they should be made in such a way that teachers can easily fix them using local and everyday materials.
The affordances theory, formulated by American psychologist James Gibson, according to which, one should see the environment not in its physical shape but as a series of opportunities for action will like in the case of Magic Circle workshop serve as a guiding design principle.
Students will be required to attend all the lectures organized during Magic Circle workshop and follow closely development of playgrounds. Toys will be designed during Magic Circle workshop and produce by students afterwards in Kasetsart University but before Construction phase of Magic Circle. They will be distributed among pupils in both schools and students will be asked to observe and document how the children are interacting with them.