Toy Workshop

Toy Workshop

Toy Workshop

Instructor: Emilio Martínez
Designers: Leonardo Ruíz, Verónica Rosado
Sponsors: Foundation Gómez Hermanos; St. George Childrens Hospital
Date: UPR MArch 2013
Location: Santurce, PR


  • Design entertainment artifacts for both patients and parents.
  • Provide a space to clear the mind from worries and difficult times.
  • A utilitarian gift to instigate joy in young cancer patients.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Expose students to lectures and testimonies to better understand the challenge.
  • Leadership and Service.

Project Results:

  • A utilitarian toy.
  • Object construction.
  • Objects donation.
  • Objects exhibition

Designer Leonardo Ruíz’s design approach:

  • Focused on kids around 10+ years old.
  • A toy for both entertainment and educational purposes.
  • Elaboration of a cubic puzzle.
  • Named “Dapperheid”, wich means Courage.

Designer Verónica Rosado design approach:

  • Focused on children over 12.
  • An object that encourages memory challenging games.
  • Stimulates memory by colors, numbers and sequence.
  • A manual explains toy possibilities.
  • The Memory Box, “La caja de toboggan”.

Toy Workshop

TOS [VAlicea] Reaction: The idea of ​​making toys for children was very attractive from the start, but I was even more impressed when I discovered its real mission. It all started with the concern of a father whose 17 year old child was diagnosed cancer. Having lived and overcome this difficult stage, he took on the responsibility of creating the Gomez Brothers Foundation. His goal was, and still is, to provide a space where both patients and parents can disconnect from difficult times in a room of entertainment. Knowing the story behind this exercise I understand that this goes beyond a simple design project. Students share this reaction when faced with the challenge of developing a toy for cancer patients. After talks with some participating students and commenting on their work, I noticed that many of them sought to achieve a toy that would challenge children in an educative way, but in the process, they realized that in trying to challenge children; they challenged themselves. I understand that projects like these nourish a student’s knowledge and skills.

For this exercise, students attended lectures, conceptualized constantly and dedicated long hours to the design and construction process. This forced them to learn about aspects of materiality and structure when building the object, making this a unique design studio by having to build their designed product.