Now where would one find a space that was best designed to engage kids? Naturally the Children’s Museum. We expected everything there to draw us and our little “tester” in. There were many toys, and many things to play with, but very few DESIGN elements, that were engaging to a child.
It is hard to explain so we are going to try to outline some criterion:
We are looking for things that are NOT only and obviously toys. They are NOT decals (of Diego, or Spongebob, George, etc.) We are looking for things that are part of the spatial expression of a room, and by their intended presence, draw a child, or a child-like adult in. They could even be a different kind of interpretation of a traditional activity that kids do, like paint or make a mess. And they could simply be elements that we have never seen before…
Its kind of subjective, but we hope to clarify our intentions through the process of finding actual elements of DESIGN that define or engage a space for a child so you’ll see what we mean. For instance, take this blackboard at Children’s Museum of Manhattan:
It is part of the space.
It is a design element (wall painted black) but it is engaging to a child because of its intended use, height and the colored chalk lying around.
The chalk holder is bolted onto the board.Yes, the potholes are filled with colored liquid, and can be rotated! It is simple, elegant and was one of the more popular kid attractions.