My name is Matthijs Kok and I’m a product designer from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I’ve been working in the 3D printing industry for 2.5 years now. 3D printing gives me the ability to design complex items that couldn’t otherwise be produced. What drives me the most in this industry is the fact that consumers can download my designs online, and print them out themselves.
An uprising target group in the consumer market for 3D printing is children. For a recent project I designed a series of tabletop games focusing on kids in order to give them a jump on 3D technology. Not only does this collection teach kids about 3D design and printing, it also inspires self-confidence as they successfully complete the printing process. The games themselves foster the development of fine motor skills, and teach children strategy and how to cooperate rather than merely compete.
The Kids Tabletop Games Collection is a magical world with leaping frogs, twirling castles, intricate treasure chests and a beautiful, balancing tree—and nurtures all the skills games are so good at teaching.
The Jumping Frogs game lets children practice dexterity and hand-eye coordination as they flip their frogs onto the awaiting lily pad. They can press the frogs to make them leap, competing for distance, speed, and height; make an obstacle course; or aim for the lily pad to test their accuracy. Kids can customize the colors of the frogs themselves before they start printing this game.
The Treasure Tic-Tac-Toe game is the classic game made more attractive with a treasure chest and coins which are awarded with each win. The player with the biggest pirate booty (of coins) wins the series of games. The treasure box works as a storage box for the coins when the game is not in use, and kids can explore the treasure box for hidden treasures. Due to 3D printing, the interlocking parts of the game can be printed in one go without the need of assembly. The detail on the inside of the treasure box is also only possible thanks to 3D printing.
With Balancing Twigs, kids learn to stack the twigs onto the tree trunk, another dexterity and balance challenge. Players can take turns balancing their branches on the tree until it topples. Or kids can play against an hourglass, trying to balance all the branches before time runs out. Kids can express their creativity with color combinations either inspired by nature or their wildest imagination.
Finally, Castle Spinners are elaborate tops that children can spin in competition with one another. With three different medieval and Victorian castles and bottoms, plus clashing rings and spinner sticks, kids can mix and match the pieces to best bump the opponent off the throne.
While this Tabletop Games Collection is clearly intended to appeal specifically to children, there’s no reason why adults shouldn’t jump in and take on these projects for themselves or as a family activity where everyone is learning together. It’s a marvelous way to prepare the young for the high-tech world they’ll eventually have to thrive in.
Did you like this story? Please share or comment. Go to this page to submit a story yourself.