Alma Therapy Dollls  (2019) by Yaara Nusboim
Alma Therapy Dollls (2019) by Yaara Nusboim

Created by Israeli designer Yaara Nusboim, each of these carefully crafted dolls corresponds to a different feeling – love, fear, pain, emptiness, anger and safety. The designer explains: "Toys, not words, are the language of a child. Playing with a toy provides a safe psychological distance from the child's private problems and allows them to experience thoughts and emotions in a way that's suitable for their development."

Cody Block (2020) by QUBS
Cody Block (2020) by QUBS

Cody Block is a Montessori inspired, screen-free wooden toy that helps young children learn the basics of computer programming. Designed by Swiss manufacturer QUBS, the child’s task is to create a route that takes Cody back home, one city block at a time.

Build the Town (1941) by Ladislav Sutnar
Build the Town (1941) by Ladislav Sutnar

Prototype designed by Czech avant-garde, graphic artist Ladislav Sutnar. His toy design was “based on modern theories about education and play, as well as utopian ideas about reforming society”.

Frame Blocks (2014), B6 Studio
Frame Blocks (2014), B6 Studio

Japanese studio B6 developed this prototype inspired by the concept of the steel-truss. The beautifully designed, colorful components, encourage children and adults alike to learn about basic structural and load-bearing notions through hands-on testing and creative thinking.

Child’s Wheelbarrow (1923) by Gerrit Rietveld
Child’s Wheelbarrow (1923) by Gerrit Rietveld

The barrow exemplifies the stylistic characteristics of De Stijl: elemental geometric forms, primary colors, the perpendicular relationship between the vertical and horizontal, and the celebration of the revealed, straight joint. As the father of six children himself, the architect and furniture designer created some of the iconic pieces of children's furniture of the twentieth century.

Blocks (2012) by Torafu Architects
Blocks (2012) by Torafu Architects

Japanese studio Torafu Architects reinvented the construction block, introducing dowels as connective elements. Each block has pre-drilled holes on all of its sides, making it easy to create a variety of abstracted structures, ranging from animals to cityscapes.

Imaginary Language (2019) by Alessandra
Imaginary Language (2019) by Alessandra

Royal College of Art graduate Alessandra Romario was inspired by the play of actors and children when she decided to develop her ‘Imaginary Language’ collection. The smooth, geometric shapes can be assembled to create a variety of objects, to which users can assign functions and meaning. The design is inspired by the recognition-by-components theory of Irving Biederman, according to whom our brains can recognize objects by separating them into geons.

Dollhouse Chair (2014) by Torafu Archite
Dollhouse Chair (2014) by Torafu Archite

Tokyo-based studio Torafu Architects have designed a wooden chair for children that splits open to reveal a dollhouse. Once pulled apart, the seat’s red arms become roof gables and the hollow, internal volume reveals four ledges that can be used for placing miniature furniture. Made from painted white birch plywood.

ABC con Fantasia (1960) Bruno Munari
ABC con Fantasia (1960) Bruno Munari

Once again, Munari demonstrates his sensitivity to children’s need for simplicity when facing abstract concepts such as shapes and letters. By devising a collection of straight and curved soft-plastic strokes, the designer allows children to assemble every letter of the traditional alphabet or, why not, make up their own.

Balancing Troupers (1963) by Fredun Shapur
Balancing Troupers (1963) by Fredun Shapur

The Balancing Troupers puzzle consists of twelve anthropomorphized wooden pieces, carved from beech and rosewood, that can be vertically stacked. Shapur created innovative and distinctive design products for international companies such as Naef, Galt Toys, Fischerform, Selecta and Creative Playthings.

Bird Call (2014) by B6 Studio
Bird Call (2014) by B6 Studio

Japanese studio B6 created a collection of five birds, all made from scrap wood resulting from the manufacturing process of xylophones. Each bird produces a melodic sound and has the same size and texture as that of the wooden keys intended for the original instrument. The collection received a Second Grand Prix Award at the 2014 edition of the Newsed Upcycle Design Awards.

Flexure (2015) by Richard Elaver
Flexure (2015) by Richard Elaver

Designed by professor and designer Richard Elaver, Flexure is made from flexible connectors and wooden sticks that connect intuitively, by pushing them together. Children can build complex, three-dimensional shapes, ranging from butterflies to dodecahedrons and molecular models.

playful-childrens-furniture-Kokoloko-by-
playful-childrens-furniture-Kokoloko-by-

Designed by Croatian industrial designer Hana Zadro, this multi-functional furniture collection gives children an opportunity to create their own designs. The designer’s description: ‘KokoLoko is a bench, stool or a shelf, but at the same time, a car polygon or a dollhouse, design that gives your child (or child in you) a possibility to create a character in a functional piece of furniture.’

Wurm Werkstatt (2018) by Katharina Bellinger
Wurm Werkstatt (2018) by Katharina Bellinger

Description by Berlin-based product designer, Katharina Bellinger: ‘Wurm Werkstatt is fun: building huts, hiding in it, inventing landscapes, going on new trips every day - all as often as you want. Children experience the relationship between object and space and are encouraged to develop their own ideas and find expression for their fantastic inner world, both cognitively and motorically.’

Dandanah - The Fairy Palace (1919) by Bruno Taut
Dandanah - The Fairy Palace (1919) by Bruno Taut

Renowned German architect and artist Bruno Taut was known for his utopian visions and love of glass. After the First World War, Taut created a glass set of colourful blocks, that allowed children to experiment with sunlight, refelctions and transparencies. Dandanah – which is an Indian word for a bundle of rods or pillars – suggests the architect was inspired by India’s colorful and exotic palaces.

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