Playful children's products that add learning time to bathroom time
The bathroom is a center of activity for families and a place to play, tell stories, laugh, splash or have some privacy. Through our home visits in Russia, Italy, France and the United States, we also realized it's usually a place with lots of stuff, not a lot of organization and sometimes a bit of chaos. To help make bathroom time a little easier, designers Sarah Fager and Maria Vinka drew from their own family insights to create storage for children that grows with them and teaches them, too.
Sarah has two kids. Maria has three. "We know the struggle a family can have in the bathroom," Sarah says. Sarah calls her bathroom an indoor playground. "My kids love taking a bath before bed and it helps them to relax even though the play can be quite intense and wild," she says. Maria describes her family's mornings in the bathroom as a complete mess. "One is reluctantly brushing teeth, one is chasing an earring that just disappeared and the other is trying to find a place to hang a wet towel," she explains. Anahit Asatryan, a product communicator on the LÅDDAN team, doesn't have kids but knows the situation well as an aunt and babysitter. She laughs when describing her 4-year-old nephew who 'goes insane with water.' "He likes to drink it from the faucet and splash it," Anahit says. "When he comes out of the bathroom, I have to clean the mirror and the sink so his parents don't think 'What have you been doing in here?!'"
Designing for children
What kind of product for kids would make the whole family's bathroom time a little bit easier every day? Maria and Sarah asked themselves such questions, reflected on their lives at home and laughed a lot during brainstorming sessions. In the end, LÅDDAN became two products. One is a storage board with a mirror, hour glass and containers. The board has holes so all the pieces can be placed where kids (or parents) want. There's also LÅDDAN storage bag with a hook. "The challenging part was to design for kids and at the same time make sure everything is safe," Sarah explains. "For example, it was not a good idea to use real mirror glass because that's a safety issue. It works just as good with a reflective plastic film instead." LÅDDAN is also designed to grow with children, too. Because both products use suction cups, they can be placed at children's heights and easily moved as kids grow. When children become more independent or retire their rubber ducks, they can use the storage bag for wet things like swimsuits or use the hook as a towel holder. "It's definitely designed specifically for kids, but it's not a toy," Anahit states. "The whole idea is to support bathroom activities that are moments of bonding, playing and learning."
Teaching good habits and sustainability, too
Think of all the important lifetime routines you begin as a child like brushing teeth, washing hands and bathing. We're trying to make those teaching opportunities easier, too. A key part of LÅDDAN is the sand-filled hourglass with marks for 2, 4 and 6 minutes. "Everyone with kids knows how difficult it is to get them to brush their teeth long enough or to quit a fun bath when it's bedtime," Sarah says. "The hourglass will help parents and kids to communicate in a better way that's also visual!" The hourglass can also teach kids and adults another important lesson—saving water. Anahit states that showers are the second biggest water consuming activity in the bathroom (flushing the toilet is the first). "If you reduce an 8-minute shower down to 4 minutes, you could save 15 gallons of water per shower," Anahit says. "If you teach this to kids in a fun way, it becomes a habit that your child can pass on to their children. It's something genuinely good to do." We may never solve how to make bath time less wild or how to find a missing earring, but we can help make bathroom time easier and educational, too!