Toy User Research
Toy User Testing
Virta- Teaching Kids Foundations to Code
Studies have shown that screen time should be limited in younger children. How do we use open ended play to prepare children for a competitive edge in tech along with embracing exactly what makes children extraordinary? Virta approaches the value of play with the belief that the mind must be free to work outside a computer to find innovation.
Virta is a wooden based toy that teaches children from the ages 3+ the most basic foundations of code. The toy leverages open ended play in a way that there is no one way to play. From color recognition, pattern play, and learning how to take directions, Virta teaches a child's mind to learn code.
Creating the Brand
It was important that the toy be in regulations for what pediatricians recommend as an age appropriate toy. Studies have shown that it is best to limit exposure to screens for at minimum the first two years. There have even been studies noting that even lighted sound toys can increase chances for ADHD. The power of open ended play is endless, and the premise for innovation.
There are many ways that Virta encompasses small nods to coding and technology. Children love characters that they can develop relationships with, and we pulled inspirations from characters in tech: Droid robot, Python snake, FireFox, and Linux penguin. The colors fall into a nod to primary colors, but the colors are bright and engaging much like the families that are encouraged to play with it together.
Designing the Toy
When it came to the design and creation of the toy, we kept our target market in mind. Our market involved parents of low tech families who were aware and honored the limited screen studies. Often these parents were involved in science or tech. They valued the natural learning rhythm of learning that children experience.
The toy itself meets with milestones that toddlers are already facing. Toddlers are working hard on mastering fine motor skills, color identification, image identification, and following short commands. The toy can be used in a formal setting to create patterns, but it can also be used in an informal setting however the child wants to play with the toy.
Creating a Website
We wanted the site to deliver digestible information quickly, but also not detour those who are not familiar with coding or STEM. This site needed to be so easy that even Grandma could understand it. We also took a moment to let people know that code isn't as scary as it may seem.