What makes a toy a good toy? Room for sensory discovery, imagination and creativity.

At least, that’s according to designer Makiko Shinoda, whose Playing with Senses Perceptible Chess Game is suggested as a sensory toy for a lifetime.

makiko shinoda perceptible chess game sensory toy

The chess pieces vary in weight, smell, material, form and texture, and they are made from bee’s wax, ceramic, wood, bronze and aluminum.

Form and function is too standardized in plastic toys and computer games, so Shinoda set out to introduce something new to world of play.

makiko shinoda perceptible chess game sensory toy

The toy set apparently evolves over time and as the child ages. It can serve as a building block toy for younger kiddies, while the more mature children can progress onto chess games. Players/owners are also encouraged to adapt and customize the way the use the varying pieces.

Shinoda is a Japan-born, Netherlands-trained-and-based designer. Here’s how she describes her work:

The landscape of modern society finds us increasingly disconnected from a rich sensory experience.

Smells, sounds, colours and textures are standardized, categorized and controlled in urban life; thereby eliminating all the subtle nuances and richness that exist in the nature. This contributes to a lack of imagination, communication, and spatial perception.

How can we engage and stimulate our senses in our daily lives? My point of view for design is to create a sensory experience for urban life to develop the nervous system by stimulating the brain through interaction with sensory inputs.