Wouldn’t you have loved, as a child, to have a friendly pillow that would tell you stories? A pillow that looks like he would cuddle you all the time and when you put your head on him, he would start singing songs? I would… and thankfully somebody had the idea to actually create this.
Too many companies develop toys for children from a technological perspective. They come up with gadgets that are very popular for a short time, but are than discarded. Fortunately there are still creative people who understand what children really want and care enough to put much effort in creating positive experiences, putting value above easy money. One of them is Silje Softing, who created Pling Plong: “a media player for stories and sounds, placed inside a pillow. It is designed for the home environment and is meant to stimulate children´s imagination and interest for books. Its low-tech appearance in form, material and its simple functions makes the pillow seem magical. The fact that you can lay your head on it makes the toy very calming and it is meant for relaxing play alone.”
As a child I loved listening to stories. Right next to my bed I had a tape deck where I would play one of the story tapes in my collection. Than I would close my eyes and imagine being in the story. I would have loved to have a pillow like this. The great thing about the Pling Plong is without a doubt the attempt to make children relax and listen to stories more often. These days children are coming in contact with television and computer games at an increasingly younger age… it’s good to try to counter this with something that is low-tech in appearance and at the same time gives something appealing and interesting to children.
As a designer myself I’m really curious how children respond to the Pling Plong. How does the Pling Plong show to children that it can tell stories? At what point does it start and stop playing and telling? When I’m tired of a story, how can I get a different story? These are things I’m really curious about. And what level of interactivity should it have? I can imagine that parents can be in control, without the child knowing it. Maybe the Pling Plong should have a few (remote) controls, by which it will act in a different way: One of the biggest problems is getting children to bed. Maybe parents should be able to change the mode of Pling Plong, after which it starts singing bed time songs and is slowing down more and more, motivating the child to sleep. Wouldn’t that be great?