Beautiful first words

Game design for toddlers


Research | Game Design | Brand Identity

Toddlers and screen time

Kids are drawn to mobile screens, they are learning by example from their parents and everybody in their environment. Time spent with the sources of the blue light should be controlled, particularly when children are the one looking at it. A lot of psychological studies were conducted on this topic and in general it’s safe to say, the less screen time the better.

Why this project?

But, what, when a parent decides to buy a little of the time in the day and let the kid use a tablet for 15 min? Is there a quality, educational and appropriate content for the young ones?

Is there a game that I would give my two year old to play?

Let’s make one.

  • Create a game so simple and safe to use, that even a toddler can do it.
  • Let them play and learn in the process.
  • Make it look beautiful.
Watching the kids first contact with the mobile technology you can see they are able to swipe from the beginning.
Swipe Card games
After exploring existing swipe card games for toddler it was obvious there is no high quality game of this kind on the market. The majority of the games has really poor design, low quality images and sound and are showing the ads to the kids. Often they can click on them and go to some download page or something inappropriate like that.
What can we teach toddlers with such a simple game?

To pronounce first words.

Maybe get a first contact with a foreign language as well?

The decision was made to incorporate pronunciation of the words in 10 languages from all around the globe. English US, English UK, German, Italian, France, Spanish, Portugees, Chinese, Russian, Czech and Croatia.

A selection of carefully curated artwork.

Art Direction
I have always been fascinated with the magical world of beautifully illustrated kids’ books. Colorful storybooks with beautiful artwork with visible brush strokes and paper texture. I will try to recreate an artsy mood in the game.

Create a product on a professional level with minimal resources.

Design Challenge
The technology selected for this task was Unity. It is a game development platform with big community support, accessible knowledge sources. It seemed like a fairly easy platform to start with, with minimal to none coding skills. Help from a volunteer friend was essential for making this possible.

Artwork was selected from the stock sources. A lot of hours were spent in the selection process and curating available illustrations, matching them in style and dividing into categories, in a meaningful way.

Word pronunciation was generated by the ReadSpeaker, online tool. Sounds were corrected in post processing.

For each language a native speaking volunteer has checked the spelling and pronunciation of the words. Some adjustments had to be done according to their feedback, but in general I was surprised how good auto generated pronunciation worked.

User Interface

Beautiful First Words