Study Group – Barthes on toys

‘Children ought to be allowed to create their own games and play, not have them devised by adults.’

Cohen, D., The Development of Play, Routledge, 2007


‘In the eyes of the public the child was, all told, nothing but a smaller man’ Barthes

Each toy already has a meaning or a task, doll for a girl to get her ready to be a mum, cars, trains for a boy to prepare them to work. According to Barthes toys like that are created for adults and not for children. They are designed to help the child with their development of cognitive and practical skill.



Soft Toys for Education

The IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign idea is to let children to design their own soft stuffed toys. This good cause partnership between IKEA Foundation, UNICEF and Save the Children aim to provide quality education to children living in poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries. For every soft toy or children’s book sold from November 1, 2015 until December 26, 2015, the IKEA Foundation donates approximately $1.11 (€1)* to Save the Children and UNICEF.

Since 2003 the campaign has raised $102 million (€77 million) which improved education in 46 countries and helped more than 11 million children.

This years collection is called SAGOSKATT. 

how is it all coming together video

more info about the campaign

Winners of 2015


Rosita – 4 years – Canary Island

ikea skunk toy

Dora – 6 years – United Kingdom


You-Chen Wu – 6 years – Taiwan



Karla – 10 years – Croatia


Koen – 10 years – Netherlands


Albert – 7 years – Romania

Terrence/Wan – 6 years – Malaysia

ikea flamingo toy

Stella – 6 years – Cyprus


And my personal favourite ones

Thymeo – 4 years – Belgium

ikea monkey toy

Maja – 8 years &r John – 5 years – Norway


Study Group – Private Language

Robert Graves wrote a beautiful poem about the difference between children and adult. Fairies and Fusiliers

How does Graves show that child’s mind is different to an adult’s mind?

– ‘Spring and Fairyland are his’ – child’s imagination is different, it’s more creative and it’s full of magic
– ‘Truth and Reason show but dim’ – adults have been taught to have structured truth, children tell you how it is because they have no ‘filter’
– ‘But spring for him is no more now, Then daisies to a munching cow’ – the older you are, the more life is about survival
– ‘ He;s forgotten how he smiled’ – children are happier than adults because they have less worries
– ‘ Wisdom made him old and wary’ – as you get older you learn more by facts from others, cognitive development changes



Private Language, Wittgenstein theory

Each person has a completely different private language which is unlearnable and untranslatable.

Wittgenstein made a great example for testing out this theory, it is based that we create the private language by memories and experiences.
‘when we are talking about something is ‘red’, is the color sensed by each individual the same?’

What he is proposing is that we have been taught to call this color red but others

might see the color red as we see the color blue because everyone has a private language and senses the color in different ways.

As a textiles artist and being inspired a lot by colors I’m not sure how I feel about this theory. I have my own personal sense of colors and I know what color and tones go together but also I was taught the color theory including the color wheel, complementary colors and what each color makes us feel so it is hard for me to imagine that people see different things to me. On the other hand I do know and understand that everybody is different so if we are so different then why not see colors different.

Another example that Wittgenstein is proposing is pain scale. In each emergency room there is a pain scale which is supposed to help the doctor’s examination but every person feels different.

Wittgenstein: ‘Similarly, if we ask people to put hands into hot water, the can feel the pain. We can symbolize this pain as ‘pain H’, and say ‘the pain you feel when you put your hands into hot water in ‘pain H’. Still, different people feel different ‘pain H’. For example, is it possible to have someone who actually does not feel any pain but comfort after putting their hand into hot water, then ‘pain H’ means comfort to then in this scenario’