Veggie Match is an interactive 3D matching game that encourages learning through the senses. The toy is designed for 3 year olds and up. It includes a flower pot with a hidden compartment and 6 pairs of vegetables. Each vegetable pair matches in color, texture, and sound. The object of Veggie Match is for the child to use his or her sense of touch to feel each vegetable’s shape and texture and to use their sense of hearing to distinguish the unique sounds that the pairs make. Instead of matching by memory, like a normal 2D matching game, the child must use problem solving and critical thinking skills to match the vegetables. Veggie Match requires the child to imagine what they are feeling and to listen more attentively.
I believe toys are fantastic educational tools! Whether it’s a child or an adult playing a board game, solving a puzzle or pretending to fly all types of play can spur creativity, build connections and bring about learning opportunities. The ultimate goal of my research was to discover the recipe for a visually appealing toy that begged to be played with while providing learning opportunities and creative freedom.
After extensive research I decided to ideate experiences or objects that involve relatable ideas, interesting or inviting colors, visible textures and interactive changes. I began designing for toddlers and up all while keeping my ultimate goal in mind: an educational toy that provided learning opportunities, creative freedom, and begged to be played with. Eventually the idea of Veggie Match was formed.
Each vegetable was needle felted out of roving wool by hand. Inside each vegetable is a homemade noise maker, In the picture below I am creating a rain-stick sound that I eventually put inside the peppers. Other noise makers include a ping pong ball with beads in the tomatoes, a thin crunchy plastic in the broccoli, and bottle caps with small sand in the beets.
Veggie Match is not just an interactive 3D matching game; I also designed it to fit across a broad spectrum of play. I wanted to give Veggie Match the freedom of being played in an imaginative or creative way. I created Veggie Match with the intention that it could be used in a pretend play or mimic environment. I added faces to each vegetable to inspire creativity and to give different perspective on vegetables.
After testing my game on children ages 3-10 years I learned that my game was engaging and appropriately challenging for the age group. I was excited to see the different ways the children approached and interpreted the game. I also gained feedback on things to improve; I should make the pot size larger and add more vegetables.