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playing to learn
luciana frazāo and hugo helmond

The project was developed in PUC-Rio, in the discipline of "Basic Project - Planning" in partnership with Unicef of São Tomé and Príncipe, aiming at the development of a product to help teachers of the preschool age to teach due to the shortage of didactic material that they have on the island. This project runs away from the technological line that I usually follow. Still, I wanted to put it here because it aims at what I intend to achieve with any work that I will develop: positively impacting society and helping as many people as I can.

This project aims to educate 3-year-old children in Sao Tome and Principe Island. The "Playing to Learn" project aims to solve the teacher's problem regarding the shortage of didactic material by making a cube that functions as an interactive whiteboard that the teacher can use to support classroom activities. Among the problems Sao Tome and Principe teachers faced, we noticed a considerable shortage of didactic material accessible to educators, as the island only has access to didactic materials through donations. Based on this information, we developed a manufactured product using materials found on the island, which teachers/residents can manufacture to be used as a didactic toy.


The object is attractive and interactive and can be used in the areas of linguistics, mathematics, ludic and physical activities. The teacher can use it as a board by attaching the pieces to the object, and the children can play in an independent way. The toy can be used to store the parts themselves when closed.


It was imperative to research natural materials that could be used for painting the toy so that it could be reproduced on the island. After research and testing, we were able to produce several colors:

Yellow - using turmeric

Purple - using Hibiscus

Red - using beet

Pink - using beet (diluting the red pigment)

Green - using spinach

Orange - using urucum

Cube made of raw cotton, coated with foam, and colored with natural pigments. The pieces (letters, numbers, and shapes) were made using fabric coated with corrugated paper.

Test using the last prototype, to check its usability and how the children were going to interact with it, as to test the resistance of the product after being played by the children. 

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