Toys and Teamwork: Children’s Collaboration Level Toward Open Ended and Directed Toys
This paper reports a study that investigated the level of collaboration and engagement during playtime with two toys: puzzles and building blocks, for multicultural children. The reactions and engagements of children were mapped using participant observation with multiple methods including field observation, visual records, photography and note taking. The results provide information on how, with whom and how long the children are interacting, and how children can affect this process. Different children showed different levels of engagement on each type of toy, yet in both types children make the small group of two for themselves. Two distinct ways of supervising emerged when we looked at how teachers tried to keep children engaged. These approaches are: (a) actively engaging as a teacher and motivating, (b) monitoring children just to make sure they are safe (not engaging in the play). To gather this information we used observation and semi structured interviewing as our methods. To conclude, puzzles can cause more collaboration among children, however teacher’s influence seems to be more effective on the collaboration level than toy types. Keywords - Design Studies, Participant Observation, Teamwork, Toy Design.