In an effort to bring parents and children living in poor communities closer together, Supaksirin Wongsilp has designed a toy that promotes interaction at one of the times and places families are sure to come together – bedtime inside the mosquito net. Her DIY Storytelling Kit lets parents narrate a story as they assemble story characters along with their children to hang inside the net. Instead of passively waiting to fall asleep, parents and kids get a little play time together that doesn't break up their routine.
When Wongsilp, an Industrial Design Graduate from King Mongkut's University of Technology, Thailand, was searching for inspiration for her final year project, she walked around slum areas thinking about ways to improve the situation for those living there. She realized that any solution had to seamlessly fit into their lifestyle. "Most of the time parents have to work so they only have time to spend with their kids before going to bed," says Wongsilp. "I found out that the mosquito net is used in every house in a slum. I realized that it would be the perfect product to add my design to."
After spending roughly a year on research and design, she hit upon the idea of creating toy-based story kits that could be assembled and hung inside a mosquito net. Made entirely of low cost materials, each kit is based around a popular story that's explained in detail on the top of the box. The paper story characters inside can be cut out, assembled, colored and strung up thanks to the accompanying instructions, crayons and strings. The end result resembles a large mobile sculpture that's assembled inside the mosquito net over time as parents narrate the story.
The DIY nature of the toy provides meaningful moments in which both kids and parents get excited about building characters together, according to Wongsilp. A folktale from Thailand called Chicken Family Stars is the subject of her first storytelling kit and she's working on 150 more of them through the BANPU Champions for Change program that supports fledgling initiatives.
Wongslip's recently-launched Tor-Fun brand aims to sell high-end versions of the kits commercially with a two for one concept – for every two kits sold, one is given away to a disadvantaged family. Starting with the Sue-Yai Pracha-u-thit slum in Bangkok, Wongsilp plans to give away the kits to a number of communities, once she finds enough support.
"It is just a toy," Wongsilp told Gizmag. "But what I really hope is that this toy can solve a little problem in a family which causes the bigger problems in society in the future."
The DIY Storytelling Kit is demonstrated in the following video.
Source: DIY Storytelling Kit