Product Design, Prototyping
wonda is a math toy for kids between the ages of 5 and 10 to practice multiplication. I got the concept from watching kids play around with the fidget spinner toy and after many iterations went with the form of a burger.
Arithmetic is one of my biggest nightmares, and even though I have an engineering degree I hated basic math in elementary school. Sums and differences with little complexity are up my alley but products and divisions have always been difficult for me.
Calculators saved my life. And also my grades, until algebra came into math and simplified the computing complexity. Before that happened, I spent countless hours between ages 5 and 8 cramming the multiplication table
Towards the end of my Masters degree, I became really interested in Experience Design and designing simple products that improved experiences. And I came back to thinking about how much my experience with math had sucked, how much all I wanted to do when I was between 5 and 10 was play. So, I thought: how could I make math playful?
My initial sketch (below, left ) was based on only two parts but that soon changed as I tested the toy with kids and parents (see middle and right images below).
I eventually redesigned the toy to have three pieces.
The middle piece would be rotated after the top one had selected the multiplier and would reveal the product. Also, the bottom piece could be swapped out with another piece with a different number; this simplifies the basic toy without needing to accommodate all the different base numbers.
The toy can be configured based on the multiplication table to give the products for multiple 2 till 12 and has been tested with teachers and parents across Ontario, Canada.
In June 2018, the Kickstarter campaign for wonda was successful.
Below is a very happy kid using the toy!