Stephanie Hsu

BAU Blocks

BAU Blocks.

The first five years of a child's life are fundamental in establishing a foundation for the person they will become. This thesis examines how cognitive and motor skills might be considered in the design of toy packaging. To this end, it explores how design and the unpacking process can engage developmental skills such as delayed gratification, hand and finger strength, hand-eye coordination, and object manipulation. BAU Blocks targets children between the ages of three to five, and their parents. 


Childhood Development

The development of a child's fine motor skills is essential for performing every day tasks. An inability to complete these tasks can negatively impact a child's self-esteem, thereby hindering and/or compromising future academic performance and independence in life skills (e.g. getting dressed and feeding one's self). 


The use of hand-held devices such as smart phones and tablets are shifting how humans, young and old, interact not only with each other but also their surroundings. The interactive gestures of tapping, flicking, pressing, and dragging often associated with using touchscreen devices do not support the development of the finger dexterity needed for writing, typing, and picking up objects.


The history of the kindergarten dates back to the 1830s, where German pedagogical revolutionary, Friedrich Fröbel developed the concept along with its play gifts as a teaching system for young children. Fröbel viewed the act of playing as being fundamental towards the success of educating and engaging the young. His play gifts encouraged children to constantly interact with their surrounding physical environments as a means to learn new ways of thinking and interacting with the world around them. 

BAU Blocks draws inspiration from the ideas and teachings of Friedrich Fröbel to present a modern take on the classic developmental toy. Through an exploration of various material properties, shapes, and colours, these blocks are intended to allow children to create countless playful configurations that stimulate imagination and fine motor skill development.


Each set of blocks is grouped based on material, shape, and colour in individual corresponding packages. The interior packages open in various ways, encouraging children to utilize both cognitive and fine motor skills, while the exterior packaging encourages children to colour and customize as a means to establish a sense of personalization.


Playful interactions ☺