Replayables: Play System for Unicef

Replayables is a system of play activities based on simple materials that enable discovery through personal play, but also encourage collaboration and community problem solving through group play. Made for the Design for Unicef class at ITP, taught by Jorge Just and Christopher Fabian, members of the UNICEF innovation team.

We presented Replayables at Unicef HQ in December, 2011.

Replayables is a platform for creating and delivering puzzles and games. In emergencies, communities experience chaos, a loss of infrastructure, breakdown of education systems, and a loss of child protection.

Emergencies and disaster situations leave children particularly vulnerable. How do you provide a safety net and help re-establish order in emergency situations? What kinds of tools can you give children to help cope with such difficult situations? This is the perennial question for UNICEF, which we decided to tackle by designing open ended, exploratory, and easily replicable play systems for kids. They’re designed to encourage kids to seek comfort in structured activities in a way that inspires them to modify the materials and even make their own games.

We felt that if we could design systems of play that allow for varying levels of complexity and difficulty, we could enable older adolescents to take on the roles of instructors or mentors. Adolescents are a key link in community structures, yet they are notoriously hard to design for because of their transitional age. They take on pivotal responsibilities in emergencies, which importantly includes being caretakers and mentors to younger children. We set out with the goal of providing opportunities for collaboration between age groups.