BOU, is a kitset ride-on for two to five-year old’s, providing a self-affirming learning experience for young children and the opportunity to build their own toy.
Children at a pre-school age learn best through stimulating play, however they are being pushed academically at increasingly young ages resulting in the loss of balance and social skills among many others.
BOU, combines two ride-on toys in one. Utilizing a modular product architecture BOU transforms from scooter to balance bike through the selection and attachment of modular components. This is achieved through bolts attached through steel inserts to withstand wear and tear of ongoing assembly and disassembly. These inserts are colour coordinated to indicate the length of bolt required for assembly. This draws the child’s attention and assist caregivers in providing hints and assistance in the build process without overly involving them in this lovely formative childhood experience. BOU’s seat and handle bar height are adjustable to fit children of different ages. They can be adjusted by the child as they grow and transform BOU between different ride on configurations. This allows a child to mark their growth by altering BOU, and along the way learning the difficult skill of balance prior to moving to a pedal bike.
The design process started with sketches and basic scale models to pin point the best initial direction to take. From here multiple working prototypes where created to develop the function of BOU as a bike and a scooter in conjunction with each other. Throughout the process focus was given to strength and durability, in the joining and weight bearing components especially given BOU is designed to be pulled apart and reassembled multiple times. The assembly was developed to be comprehensive for two to five-year old’s with a caregiver of limited building experience to ensure BOU is compelling for any user and is straightforward and enjoyable to assemble. BOU as well as being designed for transformation is designed to grow with the child so a big focus of development was the ability to fit any child between the ages of two to five, the adjustability of seat height and handle bar height had to be considered throughout the whole design process. Aesthetics were developed throughout the design process with consideration for sustainability in the material choices. Ply and steel were chosen for their strength and ability to be manufactured and shipped with little waste being sheet materials.
BOU's development is ongoing with the intention to create an immersive experience for children as something they can build and transform with a caregiver but also continue the building experience on into play with BOU. I intend for BOU to continue to engage children further in building by developing additions in the way of trailers and baskets that attach using simple tools that children can add and remove as they like giving the opportunity to role-play as designer or builder and extend the creative experience.