RSA: Fair Play

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This brief was set by RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). I undertook this competition brief in my third year of study of Graphic Design. I chose to work on this particular brief because I am interested in packaging design, design for good and also have an interest in children’s development. At A Level, I studied English Language and one of the topic was child language acquisition. I really enjoyed learning about how children develop their speech and thought that this was a project that I felt passionate and inspired by.

The Challenge

Design or redesign a consumer toy and its product packaging to eliminate waste, using circular design principles.

User: 4-6 year olds, male and female

Key research

Circular Design:

the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimising negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital.

Study of 2000 parents (conducted in 2012) showed that the biggest barrier to passing toys on was parents not knowing how to pass them on safety and where to take them.

(British Toy & Hobby Association, 2013)

“I don’t feel that I have enough knowledge to teach my child about nature and don’t know what to do with them if I take them there. I think they will get bored.”

– Parent

A new two-year study by the government has discovered that more than 10 percent of children haven’t spent time in any natural setting for at least one year.

(Martinko, 2016)

“Six in ten parents said they struggle to get the family together as a whole”

(Maughan, 2015)

“When children play in natural environments, their play is more diverse with imaginative and creative play that fosters language and collaborative skills.”

Moore & Wong 1997, Taylor, et al. 1998, Fjortoft 2000

71% of children have never seen a lizard in the wild in the UK, more than half (53%) have never seen a flock of starlings and more than a third (37%) have never seen a hedgehog.

(Wildlife Trust, 2015)

Children’s roaming ability has been significantly reduced since the beginning of the 20th century. 

Idea Generation

Idea generation

This idea was formed from my insight from my observation of the Forest School session where children were finding loose parts/ materials from the woodland and using them to create their own structures. For example, a group of boys collected a number of large sticks and built their own den.

For my idea, I thought about how the packaging of the toy could be used as the base for using loose parts such as stick and leaves to add on to create their own structures from the child’s imagination. The lid would detach to become the collection bucket for acquiring the materials that they need for their designing.

Idea generation 2

Creating toppers on sticks which become like puppets to create role play/ acting out different scenarios where the characteristics are not predetermined by the toy maker. The packaging then could get used as the stage to do the performances.

Creating puppet shows to encourage role play and acting out using their knowledge and experiences from nature.

The packaging becomes the stage for the child to act out different scenarios. Using their drawing skills to create different scenes with the addition of loose parts from the garden to be attached to the box.

What if the child became the toy?

Repurposing the packaging and using to create a play experience. It encourages the child to use it to create their own character using nature materials to build onto the packaging so they can fit inside and act out different scenarios as children engage in lots of role play at this age as they make sense of the world.

The package would contain the attachments to fix the nature materials onto the box. The idea could expand out to use household waste to attach to the box to have different materials.

Idea generation 6Idea generation 7

I saw how children particularly enjoyed storylines and make believe narratives. Especially if they could be a part of them, act them out and be the designer of the storyline.

From the keywords I came up with a concept of the travelling suitcase which would be the fixed structure representing the journey of the reuse of the toy and the exploration and adventure aspect which is something that is taken with you when you travel.

Children would purchase the suitcase which would be able to be returned back to company after use. The journey that that suitcase had been on would be told as a narrative with different travel stickers for each user that has owned the suitcase.

The child uses both for their art creations and also for their storing of their achievements. Adding personal touches to the suitcase will increase the sentimentality of the toy.

Use of stamping with the tokens on the outside of their case to look like travel stickers.

The packaging for the tokens/ stamps would attach onto the suitcase to carry round the parts like a luggage tag which is the part that gets replaced to create new play experiences.

Final Concept

Idea generation 4Idea generation 5Idea generation 8

“Rewild” is a toy aimed at children aged 4-6 which encourages interaction with the outdoor environment and living things within nature. Returnable stamping tokens are used as a way to teach children about circular design systems and reuse as a concept to take forward and become aware of as a way to be better for their environment.

Tokens are delivered in thin packaging to the child’s house which contain the challenges, circular record board, stamp token holder and an ink pad. When the child completes a challenge they pick out the token and click it into the holder. They press the holder onto the correct circle on their board and put the token back in the space in the packaging. Once all the activities are complete, the parts are repackaged, sealed and resent back to the company for cleaning and maintainance to be sent out and reused by another child.

The reusable aspect is the tokens which are engraved with designs to create patterns to stamp on their board. The packaging is used as the communication and storing device before sending the packaging back in the Royal Mail to receive the next pack to move up the levels to become a gold nature explorer.


Coin packaging net-02Coin packaging net-05

The child receives the challenges and their corresponding tokens for stamping in the packaging delivered to the child’s house. The packaging is designed to be small enough to fit through a letterbox and post box.

Design Inspiration

Tree rings.png

I used biomimicry within my design by taking inspiration from trees such as the rings within the trunks which represents the age of the tree. I thought that this idea could be linked to my solution by using the rings to mark the ownership and lifeline of the toy.

I also used colours found in nature such as greens, oranges and yellows for the colour scheme.


Outer packaging
Outer Packaging
Inside of packaging showing the challenges
Inside of packaging with cut outs for the tokens and stamp parts

Bio plastic

The tokens would be produced from bioplastics made from potato peel, which once the coins become unusable and reach the end of their life, they can return back to biological systems in the environment to decompose.

Token designs for challenges

Final Stamp Icon Design-02Final Stamp Icon Design-03Final Stamp Icon Design-04Final Stamp Icon Design-05Final Stamp Icon Design-07Final Stamp Icon Design-08Final Stamp Icon Design-09

Final Stamp Icon Design-10
Examples of challenges and corresponding stamp designs for different categories

There are 8 different categories for the toy:

– Light and Dark

– Fruit and Veg

– Animals

– Birds

– Growing

– Insects

– Trees

– Community

They are designed to have different difficulties so that the child feels that they are improving and being challenged.

The challenges are based around different themes which are designed to fit their development stages and needs. The challenges fit into the following categories: Risk taking, art and design, information, exploration, collaboration with friends, interaction in the local community.

Packaging Design Coins-11.png
Record board for the child to stamp onto when they have completed each challenge

The record structure is inspired by the rings within a tree that show how old the tree is. The board is split into three rings to build bronze, silver and gold levels into the toy to act as a motivating factor for carrying on using the toy. The difficulty of the challenges increase as the user progresses through the packs. Each of the packs contain an assortment of the categories to be more varied and exciting for the child.

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Extending my idea


I believe that this toy has the opportunity to partner up with organisaions such as the RSPB (The Royal Society of the Protection of Birds) to create activities that will encourage the engagement with RSPB reserves in the child’s local area.

Therefore, this would encourage a platform to get children to become part of a nature organisation and act as a bridge for getting children to engage with nature in the future.

How does the solution help?

– Parents can have experiences with their children to reconnect families with the outdoor environment and to spend quality time together.

– Children develop an interest and knowledge about nature to learn about the world around them.

– Children learn about reusing through the process of their toy by being involved and aware of the returning aspect to get the next set. They learn how to share and trade.

– The challenges are loosely set to allow the child to use their creativity and imagination some activties to have independence and freedom. Risk taking will allow them to increase their confidence to ensure they are not over cautious or over anxious in their future life or be too dependent on others.

– The toy provides the activities so parents don’t have to come up with ideas for how to get their children interested and playing in nature surroundings. Parents said that their own knowledge and therefore confidence got in the way of this.

– Teaches the importance of experience over owning things to build memories and relationships with others.


– Language skills to communicate with others while they play.

– Motor development as they move around the spaces exploring helping with balance, coordination and increasing their physical exercise to help with the increasing problems of obesity in children.

– Emotional development when working together with other children to work though conflicts and understand each others perspectives as they come out of the egocentric stage.

– Cognitive development by finding out and increasing their knowledge of the world around them. Challenging their brain when finding out new information.


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