Surabhi Khanna |

‘Khel Manthan’: Design and Development of Playful, Innovative Products with Local Skills and Co-operation

Guide Sekhar Bhattacharjee
Sponsor SIRDI (Satpura Integrated Rural Development Institution), Madhya Pradesh
Keywords multiple play;natural textures;play therapies;self-awareness

This project aimed at designing innovative educational play products; it promotes collaborative play between children (3–6 years) and adults. Multiple and dynamic play, stories, and activities have been incorporated in the play products.

Two product ranges were designed and developed. The main play kit—Khel Manthan (churning-learning), involves climbing action; therefore, the idea of pairing, relating, and connecting was explored through a variety of stories. Children and adults could play together, form stories, poems, and themes. The characters were interchangeable and could encourage multiple play. Themes which encourage self-awareness in children were developed. The packaging and the play product were creatively integrated to facilitate well-organised storage and to avoid misplacement of elements. The process of classifying and grouping of characters into separate pockets is itself a part of early education.

The second product range called, Fill & Feel, involves filling a character made of cloth with different kinds of dry fruits, toffees, grains, and pulses in order to understand different kinds of textures and food. A child feels that it is feeding the character and loves it. Playing with natural textures is one of the best play therapies; locally available eco-friendly materials were utilised. The production involves skills such as patchwork and embroidery of local self-help groups for women. This is also intended to facilitate livelihood support programmes. The play products could be used in schools and at home. Through intensive user study with children, adults, and teachers’ trainers, it was found that the play product has great value.

The project was a good opportunity to interact with skilled people and gain an understanding of how with a basic set-up, products could be developed with a unique identity and special features.
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