by Shu-Yu Liu
Many toys are often discarded when they are still in good condition. Taiwan Toy Library Association joined hands with Formosa Toy Library in March, 2021, to visit Changhua County Guangxing Elementary School with 5 boxes full of second-hand toys. The association used to distribute toys via online platforms, while this year, it made an effort to design themed play areas and activities where children could play with these toys. There were also courses for toy assembly for senior students, where they could learn about the idea of being a Maker. Some children said that the process of disassembling toys was interesting, and more importantly, they got to find toys they like during the games.
Love Voice Box- Hearing Children with Special Needs
Chien-Yu Lin, a professor from the Department of Special Education of National University of Tainan, has long seen the needs of assistive devices for children with special conditions, and thus devoted herself into developing and designing assistive devices. Last year, partnered with Sunshine Assistive Technology Association, Lin developed a set of Love Voice Boxes, which feature a simple mechanism that uses tape recorders, combined with external switch design, such as a strap for pulling or button for pressing, to allow children with special or emotional disabilities to convey their needs to caregivers.
TCN Maker Base worked together with the association to start courses for making these voice boxes at the Maker Base in Nantou. Professor Lin was invited as a lecturer to teach Makers to build the boxes using recorders, with the help of 3D-printers, laser engravers, and several other tools. The finished products will be given to pre-kindergarten students in Nantou Elementary School as well as children with special needs.
Little Monsters for Better Parent-child Relationship x “Funtastic” Leaning of Mechanical Structure
Fablab STMC (Southern Taiwan Maker Center) launched a special project- DIY Toys on Children’s Day. He-Chih Chen, a designer based in Nantou, used cam machines and laser cutters to design little monster figures that can actually move around. Chen conducted a workshop and invited parents with their children to build toys together. Using 2D drawing and the creativity from students who designed the pattern they have in mind, Chen carved out the design with a laser cutter before the parts were assembled. To put together a full toy, there needed to be a cam rolling system, which would require efforts from both children and parents to complete the project together.
With pursuing higher education as the main purpose, education in Taiwan emphasizes academic achievements in several subjects. Yet, there are other things that are learned not from textbooks but only through practices. Some Makers see the importance in this idea, so they start workshops and design toys, hoping that children today can learn with happiness and grow up in a fulfilling environment.