Modern Playthings Inspired by Children’s Art

Turn your child's drawing into a toy! Pictured - "Woody" by Gregory, age 5

What can I say? One look at “Woody” and I’m con­vinced kids are the world’s best design­ers! Imag­ined and drawn by Gre­gory, age 5, and then mag­i­cally brought to life by Zut Créa­tion Tex­tile in France, Woody is quirky, fun, and quite wonderful.

Children’s art­work is a con­tin­u­ous source of inspi­ra­tion for cre­atives across the globe. How can we best encour­age our kids to draw, paint, or color? How can we give them the free­dom and con­fi­dence to exper­i­ment and express them­selves? A group of promis­ing young design­ers set out to tackle this issue, and here are a few of the clever ideas they came up with…

BOYA - crayons designed for freedom of movement

BOYA Crayons
avail­able for $15 from ku ku tre

Named after the Croa­t­ian word for color, Maja Mesić’s award-winning (Red­Dot 2008) Boya Crayons finally went into pro­duc­tion last year. The Croa­t­ian designer is par­tic­u­larly inter­ested in ergonom­ics and func­tion, and just by look­ing at the pho­tos, it’s easy to see how much kids would enjoy exper­i­ment­ing with these tear-shaped crayons. We’d love a set to try out!

Plateboard - porcelain factory rejects upcycled into a chalkboard drawing surface for kids, ready to hang on the wall

avail­able from alicja patanowska

Dis­cov­ered at Lodz Design Fes­ti­val last year, Alicja Patanowska’s Plate­boards are inspired by the once-popular, richly-decorated earth­en­ware plates that can be found hang­ing on many Pol­ish grandmother’s walls. All of her Plate­boards are porce­lain fac­tory rejects which have been par­tially repainted with chalk­board surfaces.

I love the idea of group­ing sev­eral of these on a wall in a child’s room, cre­at­ing a mini por­trait gallery, or using them to prac­tice math skills or to learn the alpha­bet. Great for encour­ag­ing chil­dren to think and creatively!

INSIDE-OUT, a floor lamp kids can decorate on both the inside and the outside

Inside Out
avail­able from lin nu-yung

The Inside Out floor lamp invites kids to play an active role in design­ing their own room, allow­ing them to draw on and dec­o­rate the lamp­shade inside and out. The light source is LED, so there’s no dan­ger of the lamp over­heat­ing, and the lamp­shade can eas­ily be wiped clean. Such a fun idea!

Play mat for kids with built in, folding table / desk

25″” Children’s Play Mat
avail­able from andré mirante

Cre­ated by a design stu­dent in Por­tu­gal, 25″″ is a play mat with a built-in, fold­able table that kids can use to draw or play on. Delib­er­ately low pro­file, it’s designed for chil­dren of all ages (there are no size or weight restric­tions, unlike a table or chair). It appears func­tional, min­i­mal, and likely to appeal to young chil­dren (mine included), but I might be a bit wary of lit­tle ones trap­ping their fingers.

HIDE || SHOW, a cabinet for kids with drawing board hidden in the doors

HIDE || SHOW Draw­ing Cab­i­net for Kids
avail­able from cheng si

Last but not least, design stu­dent Cheng Si  added an ele­ment of secrecy to her fab­u­lous HIDE || SHOW cab­i­net. She believes chil­dren should be allowed to express them­selves but also be able to have secrets and to choose whom to show their lit­tle masterpieces.

The HIDE || SHOW cab­i­net looks like a typ­i­cal piece of fur­ni­ture but actu­ally fea­tures two sets of doors – one on the inside that kids can dec­o­rate and draw on and one on the out­side to hide the contents.

Pic­tured at the top of post: “Woody,” drawn by Gre­gory (age 5) and brought to life by Zut Créa­tion Tex­tile.