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An Interactive Learning Toy + App

Individual Project // Product Design // UI Design // Physical Prototyping // 3D Printing // Figma

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Project Brief

「Poema」is a modular toy that allows 4-6 year old children to learn Chinese poems and imagic Chinese characters through exploring different combinations of symbolic blocks. 

Final Product

The toy is designed to be used with a tablet and mobile friendly app. Children can learn poems and words and play guessing games as quizzes to test how well they master the content.

Learn Mode

User picks up at most 4 blocks and places them into the scanning slot

Child can read, listen and learn poems and their meanings as well as author biography

User places tablet into the device slot and selects 「LEARN POEM」

Child can also put in one block and learn how to pronounce the word and its meaning

Quiz Mode

A poem appears on screen and user has to recognize highlighted keywords in the poem

Guess Mode

User places the correct blocks into the scanning slot based on the poem or word shown on screen


As the core of score-driven education style, many Chinese parents prime their children with their own methods of home-schooling to give their children a head start.

One growing trend is to teach their children ancient Chinese poetry and have them memorize the poems. To educationists and parents, there are many benefits in memorizing ancinet Chinese poetry for young children.

Not only do they expose children to Chinese characters and literary culture early on, the poetry was composed often in a rhythmic and smooth-spoken manner that can enhance children’s speaking ability.

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I had the opportunity to babysit a few young cousins during home quarantine last year midst Covid-19 crisis. Naturally I introduced them the activity of reciting poems to them as a benefactor of this voluntary home education regimen.

I had noticed that teaching my youngest 5-year-old cousin using association learning to memorize poems was the easiest for her.

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I explained the meanings of each poem to her, tried to best draw the imagery described in them based on the vivid description and metaphoric natural scenery, animals, plants, and objects. Helping my cousin make links and remember these objects made her advance in grasp of understanding and reciting the poems repeatedly.

In a 2013 research on best learning methods, psychologists invited a group of 6-7 year old children and gave them a 120-word passage to memorize.

Market Research

As the core of score-driven education style, many Chinese parents prime their children with their own methods of home-schooling to give their children a head start.

Meet John & Suzy!

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Design Concept

Given my personal experience, market research, and a user journey walkthrough, I want to make

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I want the tradition of poem learning to be fun and game-ish and makes children to do more than just listen and repeat after the audio in the learning process.

The following 3 keywords summarize and represent the focus of my project in the upcoming process:

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Quick SWOT Analysis
Physical Prototype

I created 3D models in Cinema 4D to finalize its dimensions and details such as handle length, roundedness of the corners, and tablet/phone dent as well as the blocks that represent keywords and illustrations in the app’s learning and gameplay session.

I first made 3D model of the toy based on my sketches and made paper cutouts of word blocks and box’s base to see the size relative to children.

I made paper models of the toy before 3D-printing it to visualize and get a real sense of how big and tall it feels.

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