Scientific Research Project - SRP

Design of Play and Educational Materials for Healthy and Balanced Nutrition

It is true that the internet and computer technology have a great positive effect on our lives. Today, it is almost impossible to isolate ourselves completely from this world. However, when it comes to children; especially children in preschool age, playing games that will improve communication skills and gain habit of an active life rather than games in electronic environment.

The new generation faces the risk of growing up without socializing and in an unhealthy way due to inactivity, the time spent playing electronic games without actually moving and quitting the traditional games that require physical activity. Combined with unhealthy and unbalanced eating habits, health problems leading to obesity will also come along.

Pınar Institute places special emphasis on children since it attaches great importance to the aim of raising awareness on the importance of balanced nutrition and physical activity. Being aware that healthy and balanced nutrition and physical activity habits are acquired at a young age, The institute has implemented “Design of Play and Educational Materials for Healthy and Balanced Nutrition” project in collaboration with Yaşar University. Licensed toy and educational equipment design project (SRP Scientific Research Project) has been completed with the cooperation of Industrial Design Department of at Yaşar University, Faculty of Art and Design. This project was put into practice in order to develop the fiction of “Let's Move with Fun Let’s Eat Healthy” Project. The reception and exhibition opening of the Play and Educational Materials shows different usage areas of the nutrition pyramid made of felt cloth Project was held on June 5, 2018 at Yaşar University with the participation of Pınar Institute Chairperson İdil Yiğitbaşı and Rector of Yaşar University Prof. Dr. Cemali Dinçer.

In the opening speech of the exhibition, Dr. Lecturer Mine Ovacık gave information about the project; “During the design project process, an educational model of gaining healthy eating habits for kindergarten children was developed by Assoc. Dr. Sibel Sönmez from Ege University, Faculty of Education. The product design of the three-dimensional food pyramid, food, drinks, and plates to be used in this training which is also supported by Dr. Lecturer Dilek Ongan from Katip Celebi University, Faculty of Health Sciences was performed by graphic design illustrations design team. It was decided that the three-dimensional products designed were made of natural felt, which is an organic and environmentally friendly material and suitable regarding the health of children. Prototypes of the designed gaming and educational materials were produced in the atelier called The House Women's Labor by the felt artist Ayfer Güleç who provides employment for women as a member of Hıdırlık Agricultural Development Cooperative in Doğanbey village of Seferihisar. The outcome was a set for children to learn by playing. Toys are intended to tell children about the nutrients they should consume daily, how these nutrients are formed and the benefits of nutrients. Children played with the finished products such as food, plates, dishes, etc. and we made observations. During the education, a sticker book was prepared so that the children could play the visuals they saw, at home. Nilüfer Üstündağ prepared the visuals of the book which was written by Assoc. Dr. Sibel Sönmez. ”

The game materials designed will be considered as auxiliary elements that support the “Let’s Move With Fun Let’s Eat Healthy” Project and will also be used as supporting materials in the Institute's future training on balanced and healthy nutrition.

Nutrition pyramid is a guide aiming healthy nutrition in which the food groups that we should consume in our nutrition habits are ranked with the ideal consumption amounts. The game equipment that was created with this project aims to teach the children in early childhood food groups and to help them gain the habit of healthy eating and physical activity. 

The project also contributes to local and social responsibility. Cooperation with felt producer and artist Ayfer Güleç and her atelier by service procurement within the scope of the project; has contributed to bringing together the felt, a natural and local material, and children's toy design which has a limited field in Turkey. The fact that the atelier is a women's initiative and provides employment to local women is also a strength for the project in the local and social context. This project is important as an exemplary study with regard to supporting such initiatives, design collaborations in line with local needs, supporting these collaborations by different sectors; social, economic and environmental contributions. In addition, the dyes used in the toys made are provided by DYO R&D Department and are certified textile dyes suitable for children's use.

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