This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Guidelines to Help Designers Incorporate the Parent-Child Factors into Toy Design




Wei, Haoyi

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Industrial and Graphic Design


It is reported by the Toy Industry Association that there is a huge toy market in the global market. The total revenue of the global toy market has increased from 78 billion dollars in 2007 to 89 billion dollars in 2017. Parents like to purchase toys for their children; statistics show that parents spend $6500 dollars over a child’s lifetime on toys. The average home has 71 toys; one-fifth of homes have over 100 toys, and one-tenth of homes have over 200 toys (Toy Industry Association, 2017). However, many parents are unable to play with their children for two primary reasons: pressures from working cause parents to sacrifice family time, and toy designers seldom consider the parent-child factors. Thus parents have a hard time participating in their children’s play even if they have time. Though designers cannot change social problems, they can encourage parent-child interaction by designing guidelines for parent-child toys. This thesis aims at teaching designers how to incorporate the parent-child factors into toy design. Parent-led play, parent-child cooperative play, child-initiated play are three types of play which all have advantages and disadvantages. The range between parent-led play and child-initiated play is called parent-child play. Firstly, I want to provide advantages of three types of toys for designers to help them decide which type of play they want to design. After selecting the type of play, they can adjust the parent-led factors and child-initiated factors within limits to get a better effect of the play. Based on the literature review, I provide all the parent-led factors, the child-initiated factors and an equation for designers to teach them how to design a parent-child toy with the desired proportion of parent participation to get the better effect of the play.