In the United States, an estimated 500,000 children have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the most common movement disorder in children. Because of their abnormal muscle development, children with cerebral palsy have a difficult time playing with toys that are on the market for kids without disabilities. Big toy companies do not design toys for disabled children, excluding them from their peers and limiting their ability to gain benefits from playing with developmental toys.
In collaboration with a product design student and occupational therapists, I set out to develop a family of handcrafted block sets specifically designed for children with Cerebral Palsy and to create KĪN, a conscious brand that promotes inclusive play. Unlike already existing block sets, KĪN blocks feature a unique living hinge that connects the whole set allowing children to play without the worry of dropping or breaking individual pieces. The connected block sets promote two-handed interactions in order for children with motor disabilities to practice upper body movements and fine motor skills through play. Each set of KĪN blocks come with two pieces that interlock into an easily storable and displayable cube. Each piece can be manipulated into over 20 configurations as the placement of the living hinge creates two extra faces to the traditional six-faced cube establishing more room for design and possibilities for unexpected outcomes. The simplicity of the blocks allows for a variety of themes and designs to be incorporated into the product; current versions feature words, animals, cities, and colors.