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Clixo Workshop at JCC Brooklyn Camp for Blind Youth

Inclusive Play in Practice

Facilitating a creative building activity for children who are blind and have low vision. Hear what JCC Brooklyn staff have to say about the Clixo experience.

October 2023

This past August the Clixo team had a blast facilitating a creative building activity at the JCC Brooklyn first ever summer camp for blind youth. We had a great time introducing concepts of open-ended play, sensory exploration, and imaginative design, leading to incredible creations, such as a reversible fan, a stinger bee, a spaceship, and even a meme! Watch what JCC Brooklyn staff have to say about the Clixo experience.Hear from Counselors Stacey Petrov and Alan Petrov and Special Education Teacher Andrew Rechkel.

Accessibility and Play

Working in the fields of accessibility and education, I have spent much time exploring the accessibility of the world around us. In the mainstream educational settings, the importance of play is sometimes overlooked. Students with disabilities are encouraged to keep up academically, working to bridge the gap of accessibility barriers in school and everyday environments. But play and games, beyond offering an opportunity to have some fun, contribute to every child’s creative learning processes, self expression, confidence and creativity. However, toys and play experiences that are inclusive aren’t as easy to come by. Many toys are foremost designed for non-disabled children, requiring fine motor skills, manipulation, or the ability to read text and follow instructions that might not be suitable for all users. And although some toy brands have adaptive lines, many are only suited for specific users, making it difficult for peers to play and explore together.

JCC Brooklyn Pilot Program

Clixo’s universal design was recently featured in Forbes celebrating inclusivity as a top priority, allowing children and adults from a variety of ages, physical and cognitive abilities, and environments to enjoy creative building together. So when our Clixo team got in touch with the JCC Brooklyn’s first pilot program for blind youth – it was a no-brainer that this is a great opportunity to collaborate. For the first time, the camp was opening its programs to children and youth who are blind or have low vision ages 7 through 14 to take part in summer camp activities – swimming, crafts, bowling, and much more. As a JCC Brooklyn initiative, the summer camp for children who are blind or have low vision
was made possible by various donations, with the main aim of supporting blind and low vision youth with building confidence and problem-solving skills, expressing their creativity and imagination, making new friends and having fun!

Preparation

Our Clixo team preparing the activity included Assaf, Clixo’s founder and CEO, Sebastian, lead designer, Max, photographer and videographer, and Yaara, community and education manager. The team geared up for our session with the campers while taking into consideration which Clixo qualities would be most enjoyable and beneficial during our activity. We wanted to make sure we come up with activities that would allow campers to make the most out of their creative experience while giving them a chance to explore Clixo using the different senses – touch, smell, sound, and color. We decided to come up with specific creative building prompts that each camper can use as a starting point, while using their imagination to expand their builds in their own creative way. Some of the Clixo qualities we knew we wanted to incorporate are the bright colors, as well as movement that can be exemplified by using the Clixo spinner to create propellers, wings, and momentum.

Introductions

Arriving at the summer camp, our Clixo team was greeted by the friendly camp counselors and administration team, who gave us a tour of their remarkable facilities at the Ft. Hamilton Army Base in the heart of Bay Ridge. When our activity began, our Clixo team introduced themselves to the campers using visual descriptions including clothing pieces, color, and other signifying visuals (this allows people who are blind to get a sense of the appearance and visual features of the people they are engaging with). After which we jumped right in! Each participant was handed one Quad while Clixo’s lead designer, Sebastian, explained how each Clixo piece works, and encouraged the campers to explore it by bending it and snapping it with itself.

The Activity

At first the campers and counselors seemed a bit hesitant while exploring the Clixo Quad shape, not sure what it does. Some campers spent time investigating the Quad’s sensory qualities – touching, bending, and twisting, listening to the clicking sounds, and even smelling it. Others jumped ahead by collaborating with their partners or borrowing a piece from their counselors to connect two Quads together and explore how they snap.

The Clixo team walked around the room and assisted campers with the shape variations while they were getting acquainted with the pieces. After everyone felt comfortable working with one Quad – we started handing out more Quads to each participant, beginning with two, then three, and eventually multiple Quads and other Clixo shapes – Flap, Longy, Twodot Threedot, and a Spinner. The campers were working on building their designs independently and slowly expanded their creations by adding more Clixo pieces and possibilities.

Some campers designed wearables, such as crowns and bracelets. Some created animals, and some decided to create their own unique inventions. After 30 minutes, we invited campers to present their creations to the entire group. We were all blown away by the imagination and creativity! Rohan created a hand-held fan with a spinning propeller out of springy Quads, 4 Flaps and a spinner that can be held and adjusted in multiple ways. Noah created a Clixo bee – making the body out of a ball shaped of two Quads, Flops as wings, and a rounded Longy as a stinger. Tyler created a meme out of 2D and 3D shapes lined up together. And Cassie created a spaceship to go to the moon.

Sharing and Reflecting

The camp counselors also channeled their creative energy, and along with the campers, they created intricate multi-piece designs and kept asking for more and more Clixo pieces. As a parting gift, Clixo was delighted to give each camper and counselor a Clixo Itsy pack so they could continue their creative exploration on their own or together.

The Clixo team loved to see how after a short exploration, each camper used their imagination and storytelling skills to design their creation as they were building, and with each new piece – a new story angle or characteristic emerged.

We were once again amazed by all of the participants’ engagement, and the unexpected creative directions each of them decided to take after initially not being sure what might come of the flexible pieces. Playfulness and imagination were both put to work as incredible creations came to life.

October 2023

This past August the Clixo team had a blast facilitating a creative building activity at the JCC Brooklyn first ever summer camp for blind youth. We had a great time introducing concepts of open-ended play, sensory exploration, and imaginative design, leading to incredible creations, such as a reversible fan, a stinger bee, a spaceship, and even a meme! Watch what JCC Brooklyn staff have to say about the Clixo experience.Hear from Counselors Stacey Petrov and Alan Petrov and Special Education Teacher Andrew Rechkel.

Accessibility and Play

Working in the fields of accessibility and education, I have spent much time exploring the accessibility of the world around us. In the mainstream educational settings, the importance of play is sometimes overlooked. Students with disabilities are encouraged to keep up academically, working to bridge the gap of accessibility barriers in school and everyday environments. But play and games, beyond offering an opportunity to have some fun, contribute to every child’s creative learning processes, self expression, confidence and creativity. However, toys and play experiences that are inclusive aren’t as easy to come by. Many toys are foremost designed for non-disabled children, requiring fine motor skills, manipulation, or the ability to read text and follow instructions that might not be suitable for all users. And although some toy brands have adaptive lines, many are only suited for specific users, making it difficult for peers to play and explore together.

JCC Brooklyn Pilot Program

Clixo’s universal design was recently featured in Forbes celebrating inclusivity as a top priority, allowing children and adults from a variety of ages, physical and cognitive abilities, and environments to enjoy creative building together. So when our Clixo team got in touch with the JCC Brooklyn’s first pilot program for blind youth – it was a no-brainer that this is a great opportunity to collaborate. For the first time, the camp was opening its programs to children and youth who are blind or have low vision ages 7 through 14 to take part in summer camp activities – swimming, crafts, bowling, and much more. As a JCC Brooklyn initiative, the summer camp for children who are blind or have low vision
was made possible by various donations, with the main aim of supporting blind and low vision youth with building confidence and problem-solving skills, expressing their creativity and imagination, making new friends and having fun!

Preparation

Our Clixo team preparing the activity included Assaf, Clixo’s founder and CEO, Sebastian, lead designer, Max, photographer and videographer, and Yaara, community and education manager. The team geared up for our session with the campers while taking into consideration which Clixo qualities would be most enjoyable and beneficial during our activity. We wanted to make sure we come up with activities that would allow campers to make the most out of their creative experience while giving them a chance to explore Clixo using the different senses – touch, smell, sound, and color. We decided to come up with specific creative building prompts that each camper can use as a starting point, while using their imagination to expand their builds in their own creative way. Some of the Clixo qualities we knew we wanted to incorporate are the bright colors, as well as movement that can be exemplified by using the Clixo spinner to create propellers, wings, and momentum.

Introductions

Arriving at the summer camp, our Clixo team was greeted by the friendly camp counselors and administration team, who gave us a tour of their remarkable facilities at the Ft. Hamilton Army Base in the heart of Bay Ridge. When our activity began, our Clixo team introduced themselves to the campers using visual descriptions including clothing pieces, color, and other signifying visuals (this allows people who are blind to get a sense of the appearance and visual features of the people they are engaging with). After which we jumped right in! Each participant was handed one Quad while Clixo’s lead designer, Sebastian, explained how each Clixo piece works, and encouraged the campers to explore it by bending it and snapping it with itself.

The Activity

At first the campers and counselors seemed a bit hesitant while exploring the Clixo Quad shape, not sure what it does. Some campers spent time investigating the Quad’s sensory qualities – touching, bending, and twisting, listening to the clicking sounds, and even smelling it. Others jumped ahead by collaborating with their partners or borrowing a piece from their counselors to connect two Quads together and explore how they snap.

The Clixo team walked around the room and assisted campers with the shape variations while they were getting acquainted with the pieces. After everyone felt comfortable working with one Quad – we started handing out more Quads to each participant, beginning with two, then three, and eventually multiple Quads and other Clixo shapes – Flap, Longy, Twodot Threedot, and a Spinner. The campers were working on building their designs independently and slowly expanded their creations by adding more Clixo pieces and possibilities.

Some campers designed wearables, such as crowns and bracelets. Some created animals, and some decided to create their own unique inventions. After 30 minutes, we invited campers to present their creations to the entire group. We were all blown away by the imagination and creativity! Rohan created a hand-held fan with a spinning propeller out of springy Quads, 4 Flaps and a spinner that can be held and adjusted in multiple ways. Noah created a Clixo bee – making the body out of a ball shaped of two Quads, Flops as wings, and a rounded Longy as a stinger. Tyler created a meme out of 2D and 3D shapes lined up together. And Cassie created a spaceship to go to the moon.

Sharing and Reflecting

The camp counselors also channeled their creative energy, and along with the campers, they created intricate multi-piece designs and kept asking for more and more Clixo pieces. As a parting gift, Clixo was delighted to give each camper and counselor a Clixo Itsy pack so they could continue their creative exploration on their own or together.

The Clixo team loved to see how after a short exploration, each camper used their imagination and storytelling skills to design their creation as they were building, and with each new piece – a new story angle or characteristic emerged.

We were once again amazed by all of the participants’ engagement, and the unexpected creative directions each of them decided to take after initially not being sure what might come of the flexible pieces. Playfulness and imagination were both put to work as incredible creations came to life.

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Clixo is Designed with Everyone in Mind

The Universal Design of Clixo Toys as Featured in a Forbes Article

Inclusive Play

According to a Forbes article by Steven Aquino titled “Children’s Toy Clixo Proves Prioritizing Accessible Design Has Relevance Beyond Tech,” Clixo’s unique malleability makes it stand out from other magnetic building toys. Clixo’s flexibility “not only aids in spurring creativity, it also aids in accessibility because it makes for easier manipulation.”(Aquino, 2023). You can read the full article to learn more.

In a world where toys are often specified to a target age group and skill set – Clixo is universally designed for kids (and adults) with varying abilities. As a great tool to help develop social, verbal, emotional, and motor skills, the Clixo pieces’ affordance, rounded shapes, the flexibility of the material, and auditory feedback, allow kids with varying fine motor abilities and communication skills to enjoy playing and creating inclusively.

Universally Designed Toys

Playing is a crucial activity for a child’s development in terms of motor skills, cognitive development, communication, and emotional and social development. While many toys come out each year with accessibility in mind, toys designed for specific groups of people or that include adaptive add-ons are still missing the larger goal: Universal Design. This principle emphasizes design that can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of age, size, ability, or disability.

Assaf Eshet, the award-winning toy inventor, design educator, and creator of Clixo, puts this concept at the heart of all his designs. He believes Universal Design is the most advanced level of inclusivity & accessibility and would allow for creating better toys for everyone vs. focusing on adaptive design.

Clixo was designed to be inclusive of all age groups and simultaneously suitable for kids with all abilities, with its motor, cognitive, emotional, social, and sensory elements considered from the get-go. Clixo offers the same play experience to all users; it’s simple and intuitive, it requires low physical effort, its size is made to fit in any hand, and it has an unlimited tolerance for error as there’s no wrong way to use it.

Occupational Therapist Perspective

Noa Nitzan, an occupational therapist with expertise in child development and an accessibility consultant, found Clixo to be a great tool to help kids with social, verbal, emotional, and other skills. Through different activities, Clixo can help kids with intellectual disabilities work on cognitive and planning skills, and other children with complex motor disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, work on fine motor skill development.

Workshops in Schools
and Working Places 

Clixo’s versatile qualities have been proven during workshops our Clixo Team hosted with a range of different populations. During the Super Science Friday event at PS 29, groups of Pre-K-5th grade children dropped by to play with Clixo, accompanied by parents and siblings. While engaging with Clixo, each person took their own approach. Some kids collaborated to build a long snake or fortify the structure of the tallest tower. Siblings of ages 3-4 were fascinated with exploring how the individual pieces bent and connected in their hands.

One kid created wearable crowns and bracelets while a parent designed a complex robot. Some chose to plan; while others decided to get to work and see where the process might lead them. Clixo’s universal capabilities further came to light when we hosted a workshop for Google employees in their office earlier this year. During this, participants took part in team-building exercises that harnessed their individual creativity to work as a group. The open-ended play and activities allow everyone to connect and meet them where they are.

Above all, Clixo’s universal design qualities level the playing field by making it possible for children with and without disabilities to play together, therefore creating opportunities for connections rather than creating a divide.

Next Story

If you are an educator or a therapist looking to include Clixo in your educational space, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

Inclusive Play

According to a Forbes article by Steven Aquino titled “Children’s Toy Clixo Proves Prioritizing Accessible Design Has Relevance Beyond Tech,” Clixo’s unique malleability makes it stand out from other magnetic building toys. Clixo’s flexibility “not only aids in spurring creativity, it also aids in accessibility because it makes for easier manipulation.”(Aquino, 2023). You can read the full article to learn more.

In a world where toys are often specified to a target age group and skill set – Clixo is universally designed for kids (and adults) with varying abilities. As a great tool to help develop social, verbal, emotional, and motor skills, the Clixo pieces’ affordance, rounded shapes, the flexibility of the material, and auditory feedback, allow kids with varying fine motor abilities and communication skills to enjoy playing and creating inclusively.

Universally Designed Toys

Playing is a crucial activity for a child’s development in terms of motor skills, cognitive development, communication, and emotional and social development. While many toys come out each year with accessibility in mind, toys designed for specific groups of people or that include adaptive add-ons are still missing the larger goal: Universal Design. This principle emphasizes design that can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of age, size, ability, or disability.

Assaf Eshet, the award-winning toy inventor, design educator, and creator of Clixo, puts this concept at the heart of all his designs. He believes Universal Design is the most advanced level of inclusivity & accessibility and would allow for creating better toys for everyone vs. focusing on adaptive design.

Clixo was designed to be inclusive of all age groups and simultaneously suitable for kids with all abilities, with its motor, cognitive, emotional, social, and sensory elements considered from the get-go. Clixo offers the same play experience to all users; it’s simple and intuitive, it requires low physical effort, its size is made to fit in any hand, and it has an unlimited tolerance for error as there’s no wrong way to use it.

Occupational Therapist Perspective

Noa Nitzan, an occupational therapist with expertise in child development and an accessibility consultant, found Clixo to be a great tool to help kids with social, verbal, emotional, and other skills. Through different activities, Clixo can help kids with intellectual disabilities work on cognitive and planning skills, and other children with complex motor disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, work on fine motor skill development.

Workshops in Schools
and Working Places 

Clixo’s versatile qualities have been proven during workshops our Clixo Team hosted with a range of different populations. During the Super Science Friday event at PS 29, groups of Pre-K-5th grade children dropped by to play with Clixo, accompanied by parents and siblings. While engaging with Clixo, each person took their own approach. Some kids collaborated to build a long snake or fortify the structure of the tallest tower. Siblings of ages 3-4 were fascinated with exploring how the individual pieces bent and connected in their hands.

One kid created wearable crowns and bracelets while a parent designed a complex robot. Some chose to plan; while others decided to get to work and see where the process might lead them. Clixo’s universal capabilities further came to light when we hosted a workshop for Google employees in their office earlier this year. During this, participants took part in team-building exercises that harnessed their individual creativity to work as a group. The open-ended play and activities allow everyone to connect and meet them where they are.

Above all, Clixo’s universal design qualities level the playing field by making it possible for children with and without disabilities to play together, therefore creating opportunities for connections rather than creating a divide.

Next Story

If you are an educator or a therapist looking to include Clixo in your educational space, please get in touch with us at [email protected].