The International Design Award given to innovative children’s play device

The International Design Award has been won by a postgraduate student who has created the ‘Many Happy Re-Turns’. It is made out of corrugated cardboard and is multi-purpose object that can be played with, sat on and moved easily to create many more uses. It allows children to use their imagination and dictate how it is played with because of its many uses.


Elli Gkologkina won silver and is also part of the Transformable Intelligent Environments Laboratory team behind the product.It has been designed to assist a ‘learning through play’ approach to early years education.

Ms Gkologkina said: “Its form was conceived to be as abstract as it could, so as to bare a number of interpretations through children’s imagination, such as animal forms (elephant, turtle, dove) and archetypical forms (house, milk box, boat). At the field-testing phase, we were happy to see children’s interest and quest for new formations.

“This award made me believe more in my work and inclination to support children’s play. It’s like someone gave me a ‘go on’ wink.”

The object creates seven ways which can be used to roll, sit on or pushed and changed by young children and adults can even use it as a chair. Some sides have black boards which can be used as a surface for learning to take place.

The senior lecturer in Play and Playwork at the University of Gloucestershire, Wendy Russell, said: “We are delighted that Elli and her colleagues have won this prestigious award. She has an interest in children’s play and so she enrolled on our distance learning postgraduate Professional Studies in Children’s Play programme. This design shows how she has brought together her architectural design skills and her understanding of children’s play. We heartily congratulate her and her colleagues on this award.”

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