Box with twenty items nominated for a Danish Design Award

In collaboration with staff at the school Marielund, an institution for children with socio-emotional problems, Design School Kolding has developed a tool that helps vulnerable children

TACTUS is a set of two boxes containing 20 objects each that can help children to talk and learn about their thoughts and feelings.

Tested tools are already available for supporting children in finding the words to express their emotions, incidents and reflections. However, TACTUS offers a starting point that is visual, sensory and more abstract. The children feel the material and start to feel themselves in the process.

Tests clearly show that for some children the tactile starting point makes a big difference in how they are able to open up to their own thoughts and feelings. TACTUS gives them a concrete and tactile material to relate to, which can pave the way for contemplation and a more intellectual and verbal reflection. During the sessions with the children, the focus shifts between a visual, sensory and tactile approach that focuses on touch, and a reflective learning process.

The tactility, the colours and the shapes in the boxes enable the children to articulate their thoughts and feelings in a way the pedagogues have not experienced before. It helps the children to deal with themselves and their own inner states on a bodily, emotional and reflective level.

The jury says:

- Learning to put one’s thoughts and feelings into words is an important developmental step for children with special needs. With its appealing colours, shapes and tactile qualities TACTUS facilitates communication about emotions by promoting a connection between bodily sensations and verbal reflection. The educational tool was clearly designed with the user in mind and is a good example of a product driven by educational considerations.

Designers: Jaqueline de Abrew and Maja Lindstrøm Freese

The project is funded by VELUX FONDEN