25 ways design can make children's lives better

The Design Council has awarded 25 design-led projects that aim to improve the health and happiness of children under 5 in south London a share of £100,000.

The ideas range from apps designed for new dads and to help tie together a support network around new parents, a site to help parents find all of the resources for them in their local area, pop-up play parks, wearable technology to encourage play and a choose-your-own adventure community centre.

This was based around a brief based around 'combating isolation and stress in families and encouraging play and learning opportunities’.

The Knee High Design Challenge was launched in July by the Design Council, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity (linked to the hospital) and the London Boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth. They received 190 applicants from the likes of national charities, design agencies, city farmers, local councils, entrepreneurs, nannies, theatre groups and families.

From these the shortlist of 25 was chosen. Each of these will receive £1,000 to rapid-prototype their idea over the next few weeks, from which a shorter list will receive further funding.

Here’s the full shortlist:

1 Make, take & explore emporium
by Explorer HQ, The Geography Collective and City Farmers
A choose-your-own adventure community centre where young families can relax, learn, and be inspired to explore

2 Apps for dads
by Best Beginnings and St Michael’s Fellowship
Providing information, advice and support throughout pregnancy and the first six months

3 Creative Homes
by Tea Dance for Little People
A creative play service building families capabilities to use their home for the child’s development

4 Family Time Banking
by Spice Innovations
Using a time banking model to inspire families

5 Co-design bus and service
by Sara Tilley
Redesigning the bus interior and a new service to make it easier for families to access transport services

6 High Street Baby Festival
by Hugh Dames and London Early Years Foundation
A new high-street engagement initiative to bring families, local businesses and children’s services together

7 Play Box
by Lambeth Council Children’s Services
A series of gift boxes to engage families in different stages of their child’s development

8 Parent Parties
by Deborah Henderson and Dawn Murphy, entrepreneurial mums
Parent-led networking service for pregnancy and beyond

9 Kids Connect
by Hannah White, a local entrepreneurial mum
A fully indexed and interactive on-line directory of children’s services in Lambeth and Southwark

10 Pop-up parks
by Tom Doust, Intelligent Space
Disrupting urban space and co-creating playful parks to encourage families leave the house

11 The Good Enough Mum’s Musical
by The Good Enough Mum’s Club
Sharing stories of motherhood through musical theatre to inspire, empower and support parents health and wellbeing

12 Fortyfi app
by Sally Walker, an entrepreneurial nanny
Allowing the network around a new parent to pledge their time and support during the first 40 days of a new baby

13 Perinatal parental support
by Southwark Mental Health Team
Transforming the prenatal mental health provision for both parents

14 Nurturing early character
by Save the Children and Character Counts
Creating new tools to help families understand their child’s early character development

15 Pop Out Champions
by The Family and Childcare Trust
A peer-support service helping parents explore the facilities available to them locally

16 Now Moments
by The Mental Health Foundation
Using video interaction guidance to transform early bonding of mother and child

17 Me Time
by Viridian Housing and Innovation Unit
An online platform that connects families to informal childcare within their housing estate

18 Cook Collective
by Jennie Winhall
A parent-run healthy food take away

19 Proper dads
A better experience of information to support a father’s transition into parenthood

20 Everyday Wonder
by Crown Lane Primary School and Children Centre
Bringing the Children’s Centre to the street

21 Knee High wearables
by Jen Lexmond & Cassie Robinson
Using digital technology in kids clothing to encourage play and boost interaction between parent and child

22 Play Agency
by Pan Studio
Making play happen in everyday life

23 Making the invisible visible
by Futurecity
Mapping existing public and private resources for families

24 Playing Up
by Blue Elephant Theatre
Creative educational multi-sensory play for families

25 New Opportunities
by Stockwell Partnership and Brixton People’s Kitchen
Creating opportunities for families who are new to the UK

Elsewhere on IDG sites

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