Outdoor Play Lanterns (2020)

The Lanterns were designed to inspire new kinds of free play outdoors for children. We worked with a local community centre to learn about how the children liked to play, and then co-designed play interactions with off-the-shelf Internet of Things (IoT) toolkits. We took those early experiences to a Montessori nursery that prioritises outdoor free play and worked with staff to design the Lanterns. The children at this nursery had access to both a garden and a woodland in which they were given the freedom to play and learn. Throughout our design work, we ensured the interactions supported physical activity, engagement with the outdoors and other children. This involved creating shared interactions where each Lantern interacted together. The Lanterns were designed using the BBC micro:bit, cardboard and milk cartons meaning they can be constructed and adapted by community groups and nurseries themselves.


Playing Out with IoT


Lanterns: Configuring a Digital Resource to Inspire Preschool Children's Free Play Outdoors. Thomas Dylan, Abigail Durrant, Sena Çerçi, Shaun Lawson, and John Vines. Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '21). DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445745