How might we help strengthen preschoolers hand strength
Industrial Designer, art director, product designer
User research, model making, branding, animation
Length of project
With children’s increase usage of digital platforms from mobile devices to tablets, it is weakening the muscles on their fingers to grip a pencil properly.
To improve the experience of writing with a pencil for preschoolers and create a tool that can help strengthen their muscles and fine motor skills.
said Sally Payne, the head pediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust.
One mistake that parents and teachers may make when observing a child who is writing is making the assumption that grasping a pencil is a “natural” skill that a child will develop when they are ready. Pencil grasp is a skill, an essential skill, that adults should monitor and help their child to develop.When it comes to writing, children may struggle with: fatigue, discomfort, fine motor development.
Learning to write and work correctly is a critical building block in the development of many fine motor skills. Children who develop an incorrect grasp may face continual fine motor skill problems with their writing, and use of small tools.
The story of Wu embarks from the starting point of the Child’s mind. When the creative motors start churning, that is when the sharpeners come alive. Wu will accompany your Child through the beginning steps of holding a pencil. Its bubbly round tone inspires the aesthetics of the brand. Preschoolers are given a creative companion to strengthen their hand dexterity and fine motor skills.
As Wu took more form, users can customize their own Wu with different facial features and clothing. That expanded to Wu unleashing an animation to introduce their new feature. As Wu audience grew, a pop store was built to reinforce more physical interaction between Wu and the Users. The users can come in stores and develop their own Wu right there.
3 brands were picked randomly from a hat. Then the assignment was to develop a campaign that would collaborate with the brands selected. A business model canvas was produced to further understand the brand language and tone as well as opportunities were Wu can be embedded within their ecosystem.
The journey from a product to service, to campaign to was definitely unconventional. At times it didn't make sense or hard, or didn't connect. The collaboration is with Wu, UNICEF and Crayola called Wume. How the initiative works is when someone buys the Wu sharpener, a supply box is shipped to a student in one of the participating schools under the UNICEF foundation.
"Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context - a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in a environment, an environment in a city plan"