"It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to learn from the professors here and work with fellow student designers."
Asha Thomas is a graduate from Lake Washington Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Design program. As a designer, she prefers to create designs for physical products. Her passion is toy design and the creative thought process that goes behind creating these products. Her work has included creating a flatpack doll house that had been featured as Lake Washington’s 2022 Research Symposium. She has collaborated with fellow designer Rebecca Fletcher and Public Health student Yemi Gudeta to design a measles vaccine informational campaign. Additionally, she collaborated with designers Rebecca Fletcher and Sage Abplanalp and the City of Kirkland to create two wrap designs and an interactive EPUB. Asha’s goals are to go on and work with toy company as a product designer. She wants to continue to design items that make the world a more cheerful place.
DEVELOPING CHILDREN'S FINE MOTOR SKILLS THROUGH IMAGINATIVE PLAY
For this project, I chose to design a toy product for preschool children (3-5 years old.) I wanted to design a product, that was not only fun, but encouraged a child to develop a skill through interactive play. Additionally, I wanted to create a project that would improve her 3D modeling skills. The objective, for the project, was to teach and encourage several fine motor skills for the preschool age group. The goal was also to have created several 3D-printed working prototypes of the products.
To begin this process, I researched what age children are when they are typically developing certain sets of fine motor skills and what those skills are. This helped me choose what age group I wanted to target for my design. From there, I did a competitive analysis of on-the-market products for that age group. This helped me understand better what children enjoy and what fine motor skills these products commonly target.
Once I completed the research phase, I could move onto the design phase. It started by choosing several potential fine motor skills to work with. From there, I did several rounds of rapid sketched designs using those fine motor skills. Those designs used different themes and ways of incorporating fine motor skills into the product. This helped me decide a theme and what types of products I wanted to design.
With my selected theme and skills, I then could create syntax looking more in-depth at the theme I chose to work with, which helped know what toy products I wanted to create. I then drew several rough concepts of these products. In addition, I worked in Fusion 360 to create several rough concepts of the larger piece I planned on making. After that, I could select what designs I wanted to make. From there, each item’s design was refined and created in detail in Fusion 360. I could then print the 3D objects and run a laser cut test of the larger object. Once all the objects were made, I could then prep them from their finished form.
My deliverables included a process book, 3D printed toys, and a medium scale lemonade stand. Some examples of this can be seen below.
In conclusion, I was able to complete my goals of improving my 3D modeling skills, making all the physical objects required, having products the use fine motor skills, and developing my understanding of toy design further. I hope that my target audience would have fun with the product and practicing their fine motor skills. I learned more about childhood development in young children and that there are many fun ways to learn new skills in life. If I continued this project, I would like to improve the materials of the objects and refine the function of the toys.