relaxing plush toy for future generations

student projects

Better mental health starts from an early age and it starts here.

relaxing plush toy for future generations

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People already start experiencing stress when they are just forming in their mother’s belly. This accumulates throughout their lives and increases like a rolling snowball. Nowadays more and more people struggle from this stress which might result in having (constant) anxiety and even in panic attacks. Unfortunately, remedies are often only sought after a person has already been visibly overwhelmed.

These are things I have personally experienced and am now learning to cope and deal with. Knowing from this personal experience how much effort it takes to navigate through the world of mental health when it has already become a personal problem, I wanted to come up with a tool that would help future generations live an overall better and mentally healthier life. I also want to make sure children are being taught from an early age, the importance of mental health.

These experiences and convictions resulted in me thinking of and coming up with this plush toy that helps children relax and basically just breath.

Prototype of the origami heart and progress made on the plush toy

In the belly of the plush toy, I created a motorised origami mechanism that expands and shrinks, which in turn imitates a calm respiratory rate, or in layman’s terms, it breathes like you and I do.

With the amazing result of exposing the child to the most fundamental form of meditation and calming down – calm and conscious breathing.

My amazing animation skills visualising the breathing

After hugging the toy for a few minutes, the child’s breathing will match the “breathing” of the toy and calm them down after physical activities, very strong emotions, digital device usage and before or even during sleep.

Looking back, this project was quite the step out of my comfort zone. It was a great opportunity for me to learn to work with electronics and refresh my crocheting skills ;). Also, during this project I ended up having a lot of open conversations about mental health which made me realise how many people there are out there that struggle with it and how there could and should be a much bigger this subject. I am looking forward to improve this prototype and to see it being made for and used by actual children, with it, making a positive change in their lives!

It still needs a name, what would you name it?


Keita Špēla