Exploring the Affordances of Digital Toys for Young Children's Active Play

Yuehao Wang, Nicole E M Vickery, Dannielle Tarlinton, Bernd Ploderer, Linda Knight, Alethea Blackler, Peta Wyeth

Session: Games and Play - Friday 2022-12-02 09:30-11:00 AEDT
Paper Track
In-Person Presentation


This paper reviewed 66 commercial digital toys for young children’s (3 to 5 years old) active play, aiming to explore their features, affordances, and play activities they facilitate. Results show active play is invited predominantly through physical affordances. Digital features can act as prompts, provide feedback, and engage attention. For HCI researchers this paper contributes insights into gaps and design opportunities: 1) many digital toys target broader age groups, and more work is needed to consider young children’s developmental abilities and interests in the design; 2) many digital toys do not elicit direct physical/digital responses from children’s physical and embodied inputs; and 3) future research can design play sequences through providing age-appropriate affordances, prompts, and feedback that encourage active play, without restricting children’s imagination and free play. The outcomes of this study can inform the design of new digital toys for children’s active play, to benefit their motor skills development.