{ Designing for Children.  A Process - Oriented Approach } 

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• Movement
A good design needs to offer children an invitation to move within safe and tolerable limits, and every child will move to a different drummer. This is very important while designing spaces for children. If too restricted, children become frustrated and fidgety, or they try to gain access to prohibited components of the environment.

• Comfort
A feeling of comfort is important to children's use and exploration. There needs to be moderate and varied levels of stimulation for all the senses. Behavior is optimized at a comfort zone of stimulation, neither too little nor too much. An overload of sensory stimulation and noise will exacerbate children's feelings of discomfort and result in undesired behaviors.

• Competence
Children need to feel successful in negotiating. Yet the world at large forces them to constantly confront intimidating and frustrating experiences. Successful children's toys and environments are designed to make children competent inhabitants and users.

• Control
Children need the ability to exercise control over the environment and acquire increased levels of autonomy. Children must have experiences that allow them to experiment and make decisions.
Through deliberate design, one can keep children from inappropriate usage ways by eliminating affordances for undesired behavior. It is required that children be challenged and not become bored.

• Variety
The theory of multiple intelligences challenges the traditional notion that intelligence is a single, fixed commodity. Rather, it says we all possess eight distinct and somewhat autonomous intelligences to differing degrees — linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinaesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal and naturalist. We tend to be most interested in activities that match our stronger intelligences. There are also distinct differences between the interests of girls and boys. Therefore, the variety of activities must appeal to the broadest range of multiple intelligences and to both genders.

• Choice of Materials
Durability and maintenance are important considerations in designing for anyone. But, children will give things more wear and tear than adults do and will definitely get things dirtier faster. Materials need to be durable and easy to clean and maintain. Using materials and finishes that can be sanitized is important, especially when it has to do with infants and toddlers.

• Child Development:
As a designer for children one has to have a thorough understanding of a child’s growth pattern, both physical and psychological. This helps in decision making when it comes to choosing of the concept and age appropriation and material selection etc., For example, it is important for a designer to know that toddler between the ages of 2 and 3 might have ‘oral fixation’ and hence it is inappropriate to use anything that might be toxic in nature. At the same time, a child who is 5 years old might have a toddler sibling who would wish to play with the 5 year old’s toys.

• Safety
The concepts such as anthropometrics and ergonomics, (sometimes referred to as human factors engineering) which means designing things to match children's physical sizes and abilities also play a very vital role in a responsible design. This includes characteristics such as height, grip, reach, field of vision, etc., so that tasks can be performed with a minimum of stress and maximum of efficiency and safety. It doesn't do any good to design equipment that doesn't fit a child's anthropometrics and skills and isn't ergonomically correct. Either he will not be able to use the equipment or he will feel incompetent trying to, and neither outcome will make him desire to return. And poorly designed equipment, furniture and environments that don't match children's anthropometrics can actually be dangerous.


Finally, one of the best ways to help build a successful experience for children is through watching children navigate and interact with your product. Not all companies will have the budget for an extensive and elaborate testing, but almost all will have the ability to do at least a minimal amount of testing — even if it’s with just one child. This will allow us to see the product through a child’s eyes and make any necessary modifications, the same as would be done in any usability tests.


Designing for children is no simple task, since most adult designers have a completely different perception of the product than the users they are designing for. If you put children in an environment not properly designed for them, Children are going to use the environment in ways that their biology tells them to, so it's the responsibility of adults to design children's environments carefully to produce the desired behaviours. Positive outcomes for children's behaviour in a leisure or education setting will be produced only when it has been design with a thorough knowledge of child development, play, anthropometrics, ergonomics, environmental factors, way finding, environmental psychology and universal design.

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