Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture

Degree Level





Turner, Alison

Committee Member/Reader

LaPorte, Angela

Committee Member/Second Reader

Smith-Loerts, Rachel


This capstone explores the overlaps between architectural training and early childhood education, and how architectural design can inform the design process of creating educational toys for young children. Through an analysis of pedagogies used throughout history in early childhood education and my own personal experiences of architecture school, an understanding of how an architectural perspective can influence activities for three- to five-year-olds is developed. Precedent studies of open-ended educational toys designed by educators and designers introduced the design thinking mindset necessary to create an effectively enriching toy. The next phase of this project involves designing an educational toy for the given age group based off the principles derived from the background and research of early childhood education techniques. A project statement is then formed to determine intended effects of the educational toy and then a design process is initiated to achieve these results. The iterative process tests various textures, shapes, sizes, and connections. The designed toy was tested with a group of children in the targeted age range attending the Jean Tyson Child Development Study Center. Edits to the designed toy are made based off the children’s verbal and indicated feedback and the trial is repeated to gauge success of functionality and the children’s preferences. Although further and longer-term testing is required to determine the lasting educational effects of the toy, the design is evaluated using the initial project statement.


Educational Toy, Design Thinking, Early Childhood Education, Architectural Design