Safe play



This kindergarten toy called ´safe play´ is designed to stimulate enthusiasm for mechanical principles - and technology as a whole - in early ages (4-6 years old).

The key

In the safe, I used a rack-and-pinion mechanism behind a transparent door. To open or lock the safe, a child has to use the correct key and turn the gear wheel in the middle.

The working principle dominates the ‘face’ of the product. Its educational value lies at the heart.


‘Safe play’ is inspired by observations at a kindergarten. No matter what you have in mind as a designer, children will perceive and use your product different. A kid with a shovel becomes a knight, a bench becomes a prison.

I decided to embrace this behaviour by making the ´Safe play´ as undefined as possible. There is no right or wrong way to use the safe: it´s just there to facilitate games imagined by children.


To test whether my ideas were right, I’ve built a prototype out of plywood. The children were really excited about the opening mechanism. Some of them were trying for a full minute to open the safe. When they finally succeeded, they were more than happy. I’ve made a short video containing all the observations on this day.

3D model (drag to turn around)