Noodlers

Inventing and designing a new children’s toy via research, strategy, branding, prototyping, and experiential design.

OverviewSolutionSTRATEGYPROCESSReflection
CONTEXT
DATE
TOOLS
Student Project
Jan 2019 - May 2019
Rhino 3D, Fusion 360, Lulzbot, Figma, Illustrator
TEAM
ROLE
SKILLS
Solo Project
Researcher, Strategist, Product Designer
Research, Strategy, Branding, Prototyping, Product Design
01
|
OVERVIEW
BACKGROUND

Did you play in a cardboard box as a kid?

Every parent has experienced the twinge of frustration when they purchase an extravagant gift for their child for Christmas and all the child wants to do is play in the box. The cardboard box was actually inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2005. Children love playing in cardboard boxes because they allow for self-directed play that is spontaneous and self-organized. The box leaves more to the imagination and encourages creativity.

For my undergraduate architectural thesis, I created a toy.

Inspired by the "Cardboard Box Theory," I sought to develop a toy with a focus on open-ended play. I studied popular toys through the years and was attracted to the idea of building block toys. Studies show that toy blocks can help children with motor skills, spatial reasoning, cognitive flexibility, language skills, a capacity for creative thinking, social competence, and engineering skills. I also loved the fact that cardboard boxes are big, allowing children to imagine life-size structures that they can inhabit.

CHALLENGE

The current toy market is heavily populated and contains everything you could dream up.

My research revealed that there have been developments in recent years towards life-size building blocks. However, these toys primarily use building blocks allowing for basic geometrical structures. They also tend to be expensive and inaccessible for singular families.

OPPORTUNITY

Create an inexpensive toy allowing for life-size organic structures.

02
|
SOLUTION

Introducing Noodlers

In short, Noodlers are pool noodle connectors.

In length, Noodlers is an open-ended construction toy that gives children the ability to create their own worlds. The lifesize parts encourage children to move their whole bodies and work collaboratively with others. The flexibility of the parts allows children to create imaginative forms beyond basic geometry. Noodlers bring children away from screens and into the world of their imagination. They are made from high quality, sustainable natural rubber, lessening the environmental impact of plastic in landfills.

With Noodlers, we think big, play big, and have big fun. Play with us and create your own big world.

TYPES OF NOODLERS

There are three variations of Noodlers that allow for different connection types.

NOODLERS PACKAGE
For the low price of $29.99, you receive 5 twists, 5 bundles, 5 links, and a mesh carrying bag.
*Noodles sold separately

NOODLERS IN USE
03
|
STRATEGY
TARGET
REGIONS
INTERESTS
Children Ages 5+
United States
Building, Forts, Role-Playing

KEY POINTS

Why is Noodlers different than what's already out there?

Throughout the process of creating Noodlers, I had to keep asking myself why this product was different and what need it filled in a heavily populated marketplace. I saw a deficit for inexpensive, lifesize toys.

As I continue to refine this product for public release, I will keep focusing on differentiating Noodlers from other toys and returning to the user needs. Currently, I am still testing the toy prototypes with beta users. However, I plan to eventually license the product to big box stores.

04
|
PROCESS

Tons of research and 3D printed prototypes

The full breadth of my research and process can be found in the below booklet.

KEY STEPS OF THE PROCESS

Designing, 3D printing, and playing

Using Rhino 3D and Fusion 360, I designed the form. With a Lulzbot 6, I printed various iterations. Then, I physically played with each prototype. Once it was at more complete stage, I began to test the toy with my target audience.

INITIAL VERSIONS
Development 1

Development 2

Development 3

Development 4

Development 5

Animation of Development 5

THE FINAL FORMS

Refining the final design

Once the general form of the toy took shape, I began to iterate the details.

Progression of form

Iterations of prototypes

Technical drawing of the Twist

Technical drawing of the Bundle

Technical drawing of the Link
05
|
REFLECTION
MY TAKEAWAYS

Final product and creator

Thank you!