Using basic tools, Bou components and oversized fasteners, Bou Bike gives children the opportunity to build and transform their own balance bike or scooter. Bou Bike promotes fine motor and cognitive development through assembly and adjustment. Such meaningful play experiences provide important developmental learning for children at pre-school age and builds a collaborative relationship between child and caregiver. Construction process requires understanding instructions, language development, and building social and interpersonal skills.
The Bou kitset comes with tools to assist assembly. Flat-packed components are accompanied by diagrammatic instructions to encourage child-and-caregiver interaction. Bou utilises standard tool types designed specifically for little fingers and hands to keep the build experience as authentic as possible. The build experience can be repeated as often as the child requires and with familiarity, it allows the child to transform Bou for particular purposes.
Thanks to the modular product architecture, Bou transforms from scooter to balance bike. This is achieved via bolts attached through steel inserts that withstand the wear and tear of ongoing assembly and disassembly. These inserts are colour coordinated to indicate the length of bolt required for assembly, while drawing the child’s attention. Bou’s seat and handle bar heights are easily adjustable by the child through different stages of growth and different ride-on configurations. The child marks their changing motor development skills by physically altering Bou an d seamlessly progresses on to a pedal bike.
Bou is made from sheet ply and steel, CNC machined and folded. Ply is sandwiched between sheet steel, harnessing the combined properties of each material to provide stiffness, weight-bearing capabilities and a unique aesthetic style to Bou. This production strategy eliminates waste and facilitates economical flat-packing for shipment. As Bou is an assembly activity product, it readily responds to maintenance and updating as new components are developed. This extends Bou’s capabilities and performance, as well as its lifecycle and relevance. Consequently, when Bou does get to the end of its lifecycle (many years from now), it easily breaks down into separate materials for recycling.
School of Design, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, New Zealand