Prototyping Playful Sponges

Playing Around

It always happens. “Oh, you speak German? Say something!” All words vanish from my brain. That’s exactly the pressure I felt trying to design play. All of a sudden I didn’t know what was fun anymore. We know what’s playful for children, after all that’s where play is focused in design. So, I went back to the basics of design research, getting people’s opinions on certain objects and textures. 

       As a starting point, I decided to make multiple bags made up of different fabrics and filled with different granular materials based on what I found browsing around a department store. I wanted to get an idea on textures with the hopes of creating a new version of a sponge. This was still when I was focused mainly on chores. 


        People found the bag with sand to be relaxing; the one with the wax pellets, mesmerizing and the one with the beads playful. Having had one of the test bags result in playfulness I went ahead and made a sponge out of fabric and plastic beads. When I washed dishes with it, the rigidness of the plastic beads didn’t allow me to fold the sponge around the objects. For the next prototype, I went with foam beads. This was an improvement but I was left unsatisfied. This, once again, felt very task specific and not focused on Overwhelm so I moved on from this idea.

Texture bags Wax bead pellets, sand and wooden beads.