Evocative Experiences in the Design of Objects to Encourage Free-Play

  • Andrea Rosales
  • Ernesto Arroyo
  • Josep Blat
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 277)


In the near future technologies will be even more present in every day objects, which should add a playful value for children, to make use of their natural interest to play while being socially and physically active. We have moved towards this direction by building on free-play experiences identified through a face-to-face ethnographical study conducted over 4 months. The study shows that, beyond the increase of screen based entertainment, children have scarce opportunities for free-play (leading to them being more sedentary). Moreover during free play, they combine the interest of an individual activity, with a personal challenge, while collaborating and competing. Based on these findings we propose augmenting accessories with sensor systems giving feedback while doing specific body challenges. We have developed and tested two prototypes based on this concept: shoes that blink while jumping and a fanny pack that blinks while moving.


free-play social skills motor skills multi-experiences ubiquitous augmented technologies 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bekker, T., Sturm, T., Eggen, B.: Designing playful interactions for social interaction and physical play. J. Pers. Ubiquit. Comput. 14, 385–396 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Blomberg, J.: An Ethnographic Approach to Design. In: Jacko, J.A., Sears, A. (eds.) The Human Computer Interaction Handbook, pp. 969–987. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, New Jersey (2003)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Creighton, E.: Jogo An Explorative Design for Free Play. In: 9th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, pp. 178–181. ACM, Barcelona (2010)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Nachmanovitch, S.: Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. Penguim Putnam, New York (1990)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Steffen, D., Adler, F., Marin, A.W.: Smart semantics Product semantics of smart clothes. In: 3th World Conference of Design Research IASDR, pp. 79–88 (2009)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Santer, J., Griffiths, C., Goodall, D.: Free Play in Early Childhood. National Children’s Bureau, London (2007)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Turkle, S.: Falling for science: objects in mind. MIT Press (2008)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Veitch, J., Salmon, J., Ball, K.: Individual, social and physical environmental correlates of children’s active free-play: a cross-sectional study. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 7 (2010),
  9. 9.
    Charmaz, K.: Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis. SAGE, London (2006)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Rosales
    • 1
  • Ernesto Arroyo
    • 1
  • Josep Blat
    • 1
  1. 1.BarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations