Engineering for Fun
September 20, 2018
Students design and build toys, pitch to Melissa and Doug representatives
Engineering students at the University of Delaware recently pitched their own inventions to representatives from a major toy company.
A trio of professionals from Melissa and Doug, a toymaker with revenue of more than $350 million per year, visited UD in May to evaluate toy prototypes made by mechanical engineering students with help from early childhood education students. Companies like Melissa and Doug employ mechanical engineers because they have foundations in product design, mechanics, dynamics and other skills that are useful when making tiny consumer products.
To make sure their designs were developmentally appropriate with an educational twist, engineering student teams were paired with consultants — students taking Early Childhood Inclusive Science Curriculum and Assessment, a course in the College of Education and Human Development. Toys were also tested by real kids in UD’s Lab Preschool and College School.
At the May showcase, Jennifer Gallo-Fox, assistant professor of human development and family sciences, praised the designs for their educational content.
“We are really impressed by the way you took feedback and thought about the developmental aspects of things that children can learn from working with toys and also the educational components in terms of content areas,” she said.
Jill Fenniman, a junior studying early childhood education, was recognized for providing outstanding help and insight throughout the semester.