Designing Playful Products: Nine principles for including children in collaborative, rapid R & D

Research output: Working paper


REACT was established in 2011 and funds academic researchers in the arts and humanities to collaborate with creative businesses, and produce prototype products or services. In September 2014, REACT launched ‘Play Sandbox’, a four month research and development (R&D) scheme that supported six teams to create new products or services aimed at children between 7 and 12 years of age. Central to Play Sandbox was a group of 14 children and young people called ‘Young Coaches’, who participated at different points from inception to completion to help teams develop their ideas. The purpose of this paper is to support and guide others looking to do similar collaborative design with children in effective, meaningful ways. Its findings are aimed at individuals or organisations interested in involving children or young people in design processes, particularly in relation to digital play products or services for children or in rapid, collaborative environments. Research Findings REACT commissioned the authors of this paper to explore the Young Coaches’ impact on and experiences in Play Sandbox. The research examined what happens when children get involved in collaborative design processes. How does it affect the individuals, the design process itself, and the products produced? The research findings have led to a set of nine principles to consider when involving children in designing products, services or technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBristol
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2016

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Teaching Learning and Curriculum


  • Co-design
  • Children
  • playful


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