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Designing Toys with a Greater Purpose

Shark stuffed animal
This shark toy, created by Alexa Nguyen Karrenbauer, helps 12 to 18 month-olds with fine motor skills. The mouth acts as a container/pocket!

By Sarah Stone

First Year Studio students at the Wilson College of Textiles are learning that good design means design that contributes to the greater good. 

The most recent project assigned to fashion and textile design students challenged them to develop a stuffed animal with a purpose – improve the quality of life for children with a specific set of needs. For some groups, this meant helping toddlers develop fine motor skills. For others, it meant providing a calming mechanism for children with Tourette Syndrome. Each team had to research that need and provide a specific, verified way that their stuffed animal could help the group. Next, each student within the group designed and prototyped a stuffed animal that accomplished the team’s goals and fit within the team’s identified aesthetic.

Below, learn about some of the products students designed to help children through play. 

Stuffed Animals designed by first-year FTD students

Click photo to expand.