Balancing Technology with Playtime


Nicole Marshall’s Grasshopper “appcessory” hopes to take away the stigma associated with children’s exposure to the tech world by serving as an educational tool that supports learning and creativity through social, imaginative and active play. In contrast with other successful educational technology products on the market, Grasshopper balances technology with being active. It demonstrates that technology can facilitate independent learning, social gameplay, physical engagement, and creativity in unison.

Designed for children aged 2-6, it consists of four silicone tiles and a charging dock. The silicone tiles are sensor-enabled for interactive play. They are easy to clean and child friendly with no openings. The charging dock uses low-draw Bluetooth technology and inductive charging for convenience and long battery life.

Grasshopper works with both Apple and Android devices to serve as a platform for a range of activity-based games. The tiles can be set up in any formation, and used in combination with visual and audio outputs from smart devices to create an endless array of games and activities. The distinct shape and colour of each tile further supports flexibility in game design. In an example game, the tiles may be scattered around the backyard with audio cues to instruct the child to “swim to green” or “wriggle like a worm on yellow”.

Designer: Nicole Marshall