Tool-fun is a product suit of three tools which can be both used as toys and farm tools, aiming to help rural kids have their own toys without affecting farm work.


Category: Interactive Physical Product

Duration: 3 Months

Team: 3 Designers

Role: Co-Research, Co-Ideation, Modeling, Video

Tools: Rhino, Keyshot, Premiere

Tags: #Farm Tool #Toy #Rural Kids


Demo Video


In the summer of 2014, I came to an elementary school of a poor village in Anhui Province to support their education. Here I found some students’ family were so poor that the parents had to seek work in urban area. In China, we call them "Left-behind children." According to 2017 White Paper on Psychology of Chinese Left-behind Children, there are still about 23 million left-behind children like them in China. 

Images from Baidu, 2016

After chatting with students in spare time, I even found the only toys some students played were those sports equipment in school, because there were no money of family for them to buy toys. Therefore, I decided to make a Toy Design for them to help them find the lost joy back.


We kept the contact info of the school and asked some students about their condition of playing toys

Photos taken by Yohe in Luji Primary School, Anhui, 2014 Summer

“I have to take care three of my siblings and I seldom have my own time to play.”         —Xiumei, 8, parents go out for work

“I don’t own many toys, but I spent most of my spare time playing in farmland.”          —Zhenggang, 10, parents are farmers

“I once had a doll, but that was the only toy my parents have bought for me.”           —Yueyue, 7, parents go out for work        


Are there any toys that are suitable for rural children to play?

Images from Baidu, 2016

Most of rural children have to help family to do farm work, why not try to associate them with the toys? 

Images from Baidu, 2016

The bamboo basket and the bamboo cover play an important role in rural farm work.


Final Concept: A suit of three products, which are originally the farm tools and can become the toys when reversed.


Sketch by Qifan Zhao, ZJUT BE Industrial Design, 2016




Photos taken in 2016 Zhejiang Provincial Industrial Design Competition, Hangzhou, 2016