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September 7, 2023

The Crazy Ball Adventure! – Aanya Arora, BArch 24

by Aanya Arora

The Crazy Ball Adventure!

Friday 1st September

Children constructing an iteration of a ball run

Throughout this week, the toy project has truly blossomed. Each day, it transformed into something new as various groups of students put their unique spin on it, experimenting with diverse combinations of the mechanisms we’ve crafted. The children have been in a constant state of refinement, figuring out how to fashion additional mechanisms from the materials readily available and generating remarkably inventive concepts. One young boy ingeniously devised a curving trajectory for the ball employing only wooden dowels and rubber bands. He meticulously engineered a method to balance the dowels within the board’s holes, harnessing the rubber bands’ elasticity to create a stable path. Meanwhile, another child independently conceived a mechanism that employed water, plastic syringes, and discarded materials to generate motion, resembling the functionality of a crane. He introduced this innovation to the workshop and enlisted the assistance of fellow students in designing how it could be integrated into the initial stages of the ball’s journey. The field officers expressed their surprise at discovering this young innovator’s creative side, and they were delighted that these workshops provided a platform for his inventive and imaginative ideas to shine.

Mechanism which used water, plastic syringes and discarded materials to generate motion

Through a fruitful collaboration with the same local steel product manufacturer responsible for crafting the stand, we managed to procure pegs of precisely the right size—3 inches, to be precise! These pegs proved versatile, capable of securely supporting a wide range of items, from PVC pipes to the Ferris wheel. As the children embarked on crafting a ball path using these newly acquired pegs, it was truly inspiring to witness how they challenged the conventional usage, deftly manipulating the angle and positioning of the pegs to accommodate various objects. Additionally, their newfound efficiency was remarkable; they constructed the path almost as swiftly as they conceived it in their imaginative minds.

Crazy Ball Adventure

During the construction of one of the iterations of our ball runs, the ball unexpectedly tumbled out of one of the pipes, embarking on a spontaneous adventure, rolling onto the neighborhood streets. Amidst the laughter that ensued, one of the children exclaimed, “Crazy Ball!” – a name that instantly resonated with everyone. Consequently, we decided to christen our creation ‘The Crazy Ball Adventure’ Toy. The field officers and the manager of the No Child In Trash Program were thoroughly thrilled with the evolution of this toy and recognized its potential for use across Chintan’s various centers in New Delhi. To facilitate its broader adoption, they’ve tasked me with designing a guide that can introduce new children to its usage and highlight its potential as a valuable learning tool. I’ve already initiated some sketches for this guide and am committed to completing it within the next few weeks.

Crazy Ball Adventure Manual Sketches
Plastic Crocheting Upcycling Workshop

In the past week, I conducted two plastic crocheting workshops, where I had the opportunity to teach waste-picker women the art of transforming plastic bags into useful products through crocheting. Each participant crafted a small sample, roughly the size of a fist, during which they learned the fundamentals of crocheting, including how to begin, execute chain stitches, build upon layers, and explore various crochet techniques. We ventured into experimenting with different plastic bag thicknesses and made an interesting discovery: thicker plastics allowed us to create surfaces more quickly and were easier to work with due to their visible holes and knots. Conversely, the thinner plastic bags, typically used for fruits and vegetables, presented a slipperier challenge, especially for beginners. However, experienced crocheters among the women managed to craft sizable pieces from these bags. Many of the participants had some prior experience with crocheting but hadn’t practiced it in a while, so they were delighted to rekindle their skills through these workshops and now have the tools to create something beautiful. 

We also explored the potential of using various materials, such as old clothes, yarn, or even natural elements, in crocheting. One woman shared her grandmother’s tradition of crafting grass baskets through crocheting, highlighting the versatility of natural materials. These baskets, once dried, become tight and incredibly strong, serving multiple household purposes while remaining biodegradable—a wonderful example of harnessing and transforming natural resources into marketable, eco-friendly products.

Plastic Crocheting Manual

In addition to the workshops, I successfully finalized the plastic crocheting manual. This comprehensive guide encompasses a wide array of potential products the women can create, detailing the necessary materials, step-by-step instructions on commencing crochet projects, proper crochet hook handling techniques, and an exploration of various crochet styles.

These past few weeks have been incredibly thrilling as I’ve had the opportunity to introduce the children to the world of design. Witnessing their creative thinking and their willingness to challenge their usual thought processes has been truly inspiring. Moreover, the collaborative efforts they put forth to develop innovative designs together have left a lasting impression. As my Maharam fellowship at Chintan comes to a close, it’s astonishing how time has flown by. I find it hard to believe that it’s time to bid farewell, and while I’ll miss this experience, I’m eagerly anticipating the future, where I hope to see the toy project continue to evolve and ignite inspiration in countless other children.

Thank You card from the children
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