stimulating children's motor skills


6th term BA | Exchange at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts | 2014 + refinement in 2017 | 5 weeks


Since children started to use digital media frequently in their everyday life, they spend less time on exercising, being outside and hence training their motor skills. A lot of products have been developed that would stimulate the children’s motor skills perfectly if there were used frequently. Unfortunately, most of them have little connection to children’s everyday lives and are therefore hardly used.


Turtle stimulates children’s motor skills in an unobtrusive way - children can sit inside Turtle and use their beloved media whilst they are constantly keeping their balance and hence train their gross motor skills. Moreover, it motivates them to put the media aside and start playing with turtle instead.

How can children effectively train their motor skills in a world full of electronic devices?

a simple solution to a complex problem
Dräger logo


Detachable Cover

Detachable cover

Turtle consists of an inner plastic shell and a fabric/felt cover. An integrated zipper allows you to take the fabric off to wash or even replace it.



The stackability makes the transport from the production site to the store easy and environmentally friendly. Moreover, the product requires less space in the store or warehouse.

Injection Molding

Injection molding

Turtle’s egg-like shape is designed for injection molding without requiring any additional sliders.



The U-shaped edge provides stability and makes the product more durable.


dedicated grip area


The handle is a safe spot for the kids to grab.
Moreover, it guarantees an airflow underneath the product if a kid decides to play “turtle” and is crawling with the product on its back.

immersing into the kids' world

Design challenge

Design Challenge

How can children effectively train their motor skills in a world full of electronic devices?


How are motor skills nowadays stimulated?

I went to multiple playgrounds, toy stores and kindergardens to see how motor skills are stimulated nowadays. One of the most interesting aspects was stimulating balance, one of the main gross motor skills. Unfortunately the devices out on the market are either big and bulky or not well-integrated in the kids' life.

Initial prototypes

using oven-bake clay

Initial Prototypes

How could the device be better integrated into kids' life?

What keeps kids from moving is a lack of inspiration or opportunity as well as spending to much time with easily accessible electronic devices and media in general. Hence I thought about combining those two experiences to inspire the children to move more. I build tiny prototypes to visualize my idea for a seat that the children can sit inside and constantly have to balance.


key sketch



measuring kids

Measuring Kids

To figure out the right size for my first prototype I went to the local kindergarten and elementary school and measured plenty of children.

Building prototypes

using cardboard, hot glue and tape

I built multiple rough cardboard prototypes to test how children react to it.


at one German elementary school and two Danish kindergartens

Repurposing the prototype

The kids immediately started playing with the cardboard prototype, both sitting inside as intended but also to play "turtle" by hiding underneath it with only the head stuck out. After the first tests I found out that the prototype was too big and built a smaller one. This made it easier for the kids to play with the product.

Model making

Oh well...

I built a construction to vacuum the shell of Turtle in size 1:1. I cut styrofoam boards into layers, sanded them to a nice soft shape and covered everything in gypsum to have a coat that is suitable for vacuum forming. After hours of sanding, my base was done.

The model fitted perfectly into the thermoforming machine with some space at the sides - I had measured it before and talked to the workshop responsible. Unfortunately, I would have needed an even bigger machine in order to get a good result. All tries failed and hence I decided to build a scale model instead.

Final design

redesigned in 2017

Final Design

Show me more!