We had an interesting and unique challenge of designing for a 2.5 year old. Interviewing a child of that age is particularly challenging as she does indeed have a logic and will of her own.
From this interview, we were able to discern a few things: she loves animals, particularly dogs and bears. She also seems to like flowers and gardens. She said specifically that she liked books. We watched her play with her dollhouse and she specifically requested a doghouse. She also asked her father to teach her to play soccer and basketball. From watching the interview, she seemed to be a child that would enjoy playing with most things as she seemed to have an active imagination.
We discussed a few different options and whether they would be suited to a child her age. We thought about creating some bound games with rules and some non-bound games. We discussed whether we wanted to have a literacy toy or a math toy. We finally decided on a doghouse which would help with learning numbers. One of the issues we discussed was how could we build in feedback to continue the game play - how much would she do on her own before she would need feedback to keep going? What would be the challenge built into the game?
The doghouse would have cut-out dogs that would have a number of dots on them and they would fit into the walls of the doghouse with the corresponding numerals. Once each of the pieces was fit into the right spot, LEDs would light up. This would be accomplished by magnetic sensors that would be triggered by magnets on the cut-out pieces. Our original doghouse was meant to be from 13-20 (because there are eight sensors ports on the GoGo board), however, we found that trying to get 20 dots on a dog was a bit silly so we decided to keep the smaller numbers but change the dots to the written word representing the number. We also decided to decorate the doghouse with flowers and butterflies with the LEDs embedded in them.
One of the main challenges was finding a magnet size small enough to fit on the cut-out dogs but large enough to set off the sensors. We also had some challenges when cutting out the walls as our original holes were not large enough for the sensors. Glueing the sensors also made it more difficult for the cut-outs to fit into the spots. We attached a couple more magnets to hold the cut-outs in place and ensured that they did not trigger the sensors.
For the future, it would be interesting if a child could receive more specific feedback in the problem solving and also (an idea we got from our classmate MoMo) we could program the sound of a dog barking into the experience.