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Play Machine

Exploring a low-tech interactive tool for children to express themselves.

Today, a child’s involvement in creative and imaginative thinking is hindered by the easily available, distracting screen technology and pre-programmed toys leaving less time for hands-on creative play. Play Machine is a low-tech creative, recreational and an educational tool which combines both sound + colour, giving children the means to actively engage and express themselves. Quantitative data was collected through questionnaires emailed to mothers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with art therapists, teachers, product designers, a music therapist, a vice principal and other experts, both in Mumbai and London for qualitative data.

Whilst data was being collected, the artefact, ‘Play Machine’, was designed and produced in collaboration with a musical instrument maker. Action research was carried out using this instrument. The interventions were to engage children not aimed to provide a specific outcome. It was observed that children reciprocated curiously to the sensory stimulation, did not shy away even though they were not trained in music or art, preferred free play and were open to collaboration. Findings showed Play Machine can help children focus better, enhance their listening, problem solving and motor skills, increase confidence, activate creative thinking, educate them about colours and help in their overall development.


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