Helping kids play with danger: crowdfunding a log-splitter, designed for children

Risky play is good for kids: it lets them test their boundaries in an exhilarating, vivid way — and it's been all but entirely engineered out of contemporary child-rearing.

That's where Monte Sheppard's University of Technology Sydney Integrated Product Design honors research comes in: it's a log-splitter designed for small children to use.

There's a Gofundme campaign to recoup the cost of creating the prototype in advance of its public exhibition.

To explore this concept, I have created an interactive, spring loaded log splitting machine designed for children. Children work together to rotate a ring, which acts as a lever, to slowly drive down a spring loaded axe into a log. As the axe comes into contact with the log, the spring begins to compress, helping the children visualize the force involved and building up anticipation. Eventually the log reaches a critical point, and as it starts to split, the spring and the axe unload, shooting the axe into the log, helping it to split. It offers an exciting reward for the children's work.

A Log Splitting Device Designed for… Children? [Monte Sheppard/Core77]