Tools for Developing Learning Skills in Children

The natural way for a child to learn is through play. For children play and learning goes hand in hand; they will benefit from learning situations that are enjoyable. By using building blocks, working with jigsaws and threading toys, and matching colors, textures, and shapes, children acquire essential skills, which enable them to learn to read, write and count.Children will invent their own games and toys, but well-designed toys can provide stimuli for exploring and discovering new things. Toys need not be expensive or complicated. The best toys are ones that fascinate a child and to which he will return again and again. Often a household item will provide your child with the kind of playthings he needs to ensure future intellectual achievement, it is not necessary to buy even one educational toy.Providing a Stimulating EnvironmentOne of the ways to encourage your child’s development is to foster creative play with an inviting environment. The way you display your child’s toys to a large extent determines whether they will be played with or not. Toys that are piled high are not inviting, whereas toys arranged into little scenes, stimulate him to sometimes even make other creative arrangementsIt helps if there are spaces to play in, particularly activity areas, like a painting table and somewhere he can splash about with water. An interesting environment should not only be confined just to indoors. If you have a garden, fill it with suitable equipment, like swing, a slide, and even a little play hill-all of which stimulates your child’s imagination


Choosing ToysParents sometimes feel frustrated when they spend hours choosing the safest, most colorful, most fun, and even educational toy for their child, only to learn that he will be clinging to his old toy. It is almost impossible to choose a ‘best toy’ for your child. The one that is best for his is the one that fascinates him endlessly, and to which he will return gaining more and more stimulation and enjoyment and will provide him the greatest learning experience.The less formed ad more basic a toy, the more possibility it leaves for a child’s imagination and may help his creativity, more than a very expensively dressed doll which can only be one character.One of the most important things to remember is that children change very rapidly, especially in the first 3 years and that a toy which entertains a two-month-old, will not entertain a two-year-old. As they develop they need different stimuli and the choice of toys must reflect these needs. The toy chosen must be appropriate for his age. If it is too good advanced then he will not know to play with it in the proper manner, and will not gain enjoyment. If on the other hand, it is too primitive, he will get bored easily. Toys must stimulate all the 5 senses-vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste.Having decided upon the appropriate type of toy for him, you must also consider a few more things. Is it completely safe? Is it stimulating? Does it have play value? Is it fun? For example, a bag of bricks is a ‘good’ toy to buy because it can be enjoyed at different ages with pleasure and will stimulate imaginative and active play. Toys that fit together or snap together teach children that they can change the appearance with dexterity.Safety is also a very important consideration when choosing or making a toy. You must not only check for dangerous design faults when purchasing them but also at check for defects at regular intervals. It is impossible to provide a child with a totally safe environment. However, you must take sensible safety precautions and satisfy his inquisitiveness with safe indoor toys. Your children must always be properly supervised and never left to play alone outdoors.Using Household Items to Make ToysYou do not have to spend a lot of money to provide him with the best toy money can buy. A quick look around the kitchen can provide your child with hours of fascinating fun.ContainersPlastic food containers are the most versatile household toys. Plastic containers of different sizes can be used for putting in-taking out games. Put a few dried pulses in a firmly closed container and you have a rattle saucepans with wooden spoons create drum sets.FoodDried pulses can be stuck on pieces of card to make kitchen collages. Vegetables like potatoes and carrots can be made into printing blocks.Paper GoodsToilet rolls with a little decoration make finger puppets. Hand puppets can also be made from paper bags. Empty cotton reels when threaded together makes a good pull toy, especially if painted to resemble a caterpillar.Avoid T.V. in Young Kids


TV has the mesmerizing and numbing effect on children and cuts them off from the direct experiences of their own world which are needed in order to develop. TV cuts down on the amount of social contact with the parent which is important for social and linguistic development.Books and ReadingA single way, in which a parent could enrich a child’s environment, is by having books in the house. Words are crucial to the way our brains function. Books provide children with words to express feelings, ideas, and thoughts. They explain the world he lives in. They provide the tool for imaginative play, introduce ideas and are fun.Try to read to your child every day, or even several times a week and preferably at the same time. Choose books that are visually appealing with illustrations. Children like photos of people, places, and events, with which they are familiar.Fairy tales are fascinating to children, and they will learn to distinguish between real and unreal. They also encourage abstract thoughts and creative thinking.The vocabulary should be easy to understand and the print big. Run your finger along the print, but do not force him to follow your finger. Make him notice things in the pictures. Re-read books for your child, especially if he asks you to. Don’t stop reading to him even though he starts to read by himself. Teach him to take care of books. Store books on low bookshelves in his room as this will encourage browsing, and always have a variety on hand.

Retail Design for Vehicle Showrooms

Why the Right Retail Design is Important for Motor Showrooms

When vehicles undergo constant design upgrades and enhancements to make them more appealing and efficient, it stands to reason that the spaces that market them should do so too. Inspired by new ideas of efficiency and aesthetics that guide the designs of cars and other vehicles, the showroom environment can aspire to the same principles, powered by branding and relevant retail design drawings. In fact, the right retail store layouts can almost immediately and directly impact sales and productivity.

As the corporate branding world is trending in the direction of specific fixtures, fittings, furniture and other collaterals that showcase and reinforce corporate identities in car stores, the role of comprehensive retail store plans in transforming showrooms into bespoke retail spaces cannot be underestimated. This is where 3D architectural modelling and BIM modelling services become invaluable.

To further branding goals, the structure and circulation of the retail space is critical. Once this is decided, ambience can be developed through lighting, sound, materials and branded touchpoints. Brand graphics and their positioning build the confidence of potential customers. Motor showrooms display their products in vast open spaces. Exact positions of each vehicle at the showroom layout is dimensionally represented by accurate retail drawing sets. While preparing the layout plan, the length and breadth of any display systems or racks are shown.

Within the branding purview of structure and circulation, consistency is important. Exterior branding, structural features and signage should follow inside and entice, interest and fortify the product. To ensure this consistency, a dedicated team is essential. Each client employs individual corporate branding, communication, style guidelines and standards. A dedicated team assigned to a client can be trained to deliver each client requirement. These can include:

  • Space planning design
  • Interior design
  • Elevations – exterior and interior
  • Store refurbishment drawings
  • Updating existing designs
  • Detailing of store features, such as signage, mannequin locations and light fixtures

Typically, a project manager is identified, who then undergoes training with a client representative. This training is passed on to a dedicated team of engineers and architects, who study design guidelines and deliver high quality drawings to the client and receive regular feedback. Communication is accurate and issues are resolved quickly.

Motor Retail Design Elements

Standards for each aspect of the showroom experience are planned and designed, from internal and external spaces to entrances to circulation systems. Retail space must allow for both permanent and non-permanent features, such as features that may change when new models arrive. Structural constraints affect overall design; columns, stairways, ceiling height, windows and emergency exists are all factors. In motor showrooms, all available space must be utilised. Floor plans guide circulation, which then inclines the consumer to travel to important displays and, ultimately, to the sales associate. Car showrooms can be quite grand, displaying double-height glazing, bright lights and expensive stone/ceramic floors, but customers require clear routes to the service area/workshop. Also, showrooms must be large enough for the number of cars that need to be displayed. Even service bays in the body shop and the number of technicians must be considered. The use of detailed retail design drawings and BIM technology ensure that the required parameters for all these features are adhered to.

Vehicular display is prime, but there is also a high standard for building services that must be maintained. Effective cooling in customer areas must counteract heat absorbed in highly glazed areas. Sustainable properties could lead to lower energy bills, lowering overheads. With effective MEP coordination, the features to alleviate loads, energy use and carbon emissions that could be planned are:

  • Extended eaves, brise-soleil and canopies, which reduce solar gain, especially on the main façade
  • Roof lights to provide basic lighting needs
  • Enhanced insulation for cladding and roofs
  • Motion-detecting lighting for bathrooms and other areas not always in use
  • Double-glazed glass insulated compact sectional access doors that allow maximum natural light, while being useful for vehicular movement. They conserve air conditioning and insulate the building.

A soothing yet impressive ambience adds extra edge to the showroom experience, and this is a zone where MEP drawings, models and coordination play a major role. Primarily, this is achieved by lighting and materials, but sound and audio also play a key role, providing it appeals to the target market. But to get back to lighting, the right lighting may perhaps cause the greatest dramatic effect in a motor showroom. Functionality and the ability to showcase display vehicles are vital. This involves layered lighting, with a choice of intensities and fixtures. The lighting of the ceiling and roof should cover structural features and direct customers to key areas.

With valuable display vehicles, security is important. Ideally, motor showrooms have access control, alarms and sophisticated internal and external CCTV, with movement tracking and links to remote monitoring centres, yet another feature to benefit from relevant MEP coordination.

Perspective

In the end, a well-executed retail space must be viewed from the consumer’s perspective. Retail design should control the customer’s view of the retail space. All of these crucial factors would be difficult to plan without the necessary elevations and walk-throughs provided by advanced architectural designs, specifically retail store CAD drawings and 3D models by Revit.

Retail Design Drawings for Motor Showrooms

Effective planning for motor showrooms call for exceptional design models and drawings. Preferred drafting stages and services for retail spaces include:

  • Store Concept
  • Floor Design & Fixtures
  • Electrical and Lighting
  • Customized Colour and Material Matching

Designers and drafting service personnel with relevant inter-domain expertise can utilise their experience to coordinate business and retail for a brand. Services on offer are:

  • Zoning, layout design
  • Interior design, graphics and visual branding
  • POS displays and locations
  • Design detailing and seasonal roll-outs

These can be customized with integrated 2D retail drafting for specific client requirements. With BIM modelling solutions, these can also be turned into detailed 3D space rendering, where the entire retail space plan can be visualised by the client. Textures of walls, colour schemes and other details can be viewed in realistic conditions with the use of 3D space renders. This allows modifications before the design is approved for production drawings. A major advantage is that scale modelling costs can be saved.

Seamless project execution can occur using AutoCAD and Revit software. This means project steps can be monitored in real time, projects can be completed and moved to the quality check stage, which can be performed thoroughly based on project scope. The retail drawing sets can be reviewed in its final form by the client and valuable feedback can be implemented. In the final design stages, a final quality check can be conducted. Skilled drafting services by retail space planners are updated with global retail trends, some still in a process of evolution. These services can greatly contribute to maximising potential in a motor showroom and provide customers with the best planned retail environment.

Since retail design drafting services are inevitable in the process, it seems logical to consider how cost-effective and quality-efficient they can be. Global trends lean toward the growing popularity of outsourcing these tasks. The reasons are compelling.

Advantages of Outsourcing Retail Design

Less Costly – Outsourced retail design drawings are competitively priced compared to the same quality and quantity of work executed locally, and since many outsourced firms employ work shifts, drawings or 3D architectural models are delivered faster.

Global Exposure – Outsourcing firms are exposed to retail establishments across the globe. Thus, the technical personnel are well qualified, well trained and well acquainted with international building codes and brand guidelines.

Flexibility – Outsourced firms can generally operate either as a small dedicated team or as a large team of 40 draftsmen or more to execute projects of larger volume or those with quick turnaround times, so work can be scaled to perfectly meet requirements.

Updated Expertise – Outsourced firms employ technical personnel who excel at BIM and are generally well updated on other software, including AutoCAD, Revit, etc.

Extensive Experience – Trusted outsourced firms have been designing and drafting retail spaces for years for clients in Europe and the UK.

Quality outsourcing services provided for retail design include:

Production Drawings Sets

Besides providing complete construction drawing sets from Autodesk (Revit or AutoCAD) to the retail industry, SolidWorks has been used to create engineering drawings. All key drawings, including floor plans, internal elevations, external elevations, construction plans, setting-out drawings, composite plans, finishing plans, lighting and ceiling plans, comprehensive equipment schedules and material and component take-off data are included.

Retail Design

Retail design, documentation, and project management, concept design and layouts are provided.

3D/4D Models

Using Revit Architecture and Revit MEP tools, 3D models and scan-to-BIM services, using point cloud data, are provided, with 4D scheduling added for new site construction.

Retail BIM Data

BIM services provide automated schedules to ensure, accuracy, speed of design output, rendering and visualisation tools to create realistic views.

Manufacturing/Assembly Drawings

Manufacturing and assembly drawings for bespoke retail furniture, fixtures and fittings, using AutoCAD detailing software is provided.

Floor Plans

Colour-coded floor plans and 3D plans.

Computer Generated Images

Computer-generated images for external and internal views are generated, showing images with artistic and watercolour effects.

In conclusion, for the detailed demands of retail design in motor showrooms, the ideal option seems to be the way of outsourced firms, as they offer one-stop shops for creating initial 2D drawings from rough sketches and photos to delivering 3D models for space design and final production drawings. They offer services tailor-made for specific business needs that are easy to execute and flexible to modifications. They employ highly qualified staff with experience, knowhow and talent for retail design drawings and the expertise to use the latest software in the retail design industry. Most importantly, this ultimately helps save time and cost.

Designing Fast Food Retail Interiors

There was a time when fast food was all about being fast and cheap. It was a new enough concept and so convenient. So convenient in fact that fast food retailers built their entire outlet, buying experience, service levels and food standards to satisfy the ‘fast’ and ‘cheap’ needs of customers. And it worked! Fast forward a few years and improved education about nutrition, the need to eat healthy meals and also the vast amount of competition in the market has meant that fast food chains have to completely change their approach to adapt to the new needs of the 21st century consumer.

The focus is now on delivering a stronger brand to reach a broader base of customers that they want to linger around and make the outlet part of their weekly or daily routine. So, what does the new brand focus require? Well it needs to demonstrate freshness, good quality ingredients, an improved buying experience, a nicer seating ambience, better comfort, more visibility of food preparation areas and improved conveniences.

While the ingredients and the quality of food are obviously a key and vital component of the brand, this article focuses on the architectural and interior design of the outlet and how the various elements of the interior design impact the brand and therefore elevate the customer experience for modern fast food chains.

Before we consider the design of fast food chains, it is worth looking at how luxury goods retailers and vehicle showrooms have approached outlet or store design to deliver their brand. Luxury brands for example have always designed stores to captivate distinct segments of the market, yet maintained a sense of delivering individuality. Luxury stores almost distinctly appear to be lacking in the amount of merchandise that is displayed and in some cases maintain plain colours and simple soft furnishings to make customers feel at ease. Vehicle showrooms are an established example for retailing as they have mastered the buying and ongoing servicing needs of customers in a single outlet. The way that showrooms are designed, allows vehicle manufacturers to provide an environment which allows them to manage the flow or ‘journey’ from buying a new car, arranging finance, servicing and shopping for parts, while having pleasant and well stocked waiting areas. Both are examples of building outlets that manage distinct needs, encourage loyalty and provide a smooth journey from the initial desire to purchase to sealing the deal.

For architects and interior retail designers, fast food retail design poses a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to reinforce the new brand challenges that retailers are faced with.

The following provides a summary of some of those challenges:

Food Preparation – Providing more visibility of food preparation areas, including open plan kitchen areas. This requires a practical but also visibly more pleasant food area which is well lit, well organised and efficient. Specialist kitchen design that takes into account the food cooking and preparation process is called for, requiring designers and architects to work closely with a retailer to create kitchen layout plans that allow the food preparation process to remain efficient while remaining visibly pleasing and pleasant for customer to see.

The Eating in Experience – The need to provide an efficient seating arrangement, with comfortable seats, while also paying close attention to retail lighting plans and retail flooring plans is so important as it allows customers to feel that they can stay for while, this is in sharp contrast to early fast food restaurants where seating was designed to become uncomfortable after fifteen minutes, encouraging people to leave the outlet.

Fixture and Fitting Selection – Interior retail designers also need to focus on other consumer needs such as power points, interactive devices for children and adding artwork that reinforces the message about the ‘fresh food element’ – all important elements that the brand is trying to deliver.

Interactive Ordering Solutions – Retailers are also incorporating electronic ordering stations into their layouts to allow customers to select and pay for their order without speaking to a member of staff. This requires less staff of course but it also calls for the need to design a retail layout that allows for interactive kiosks that are strategically located within the design of the outlet.

Improved Washroom Facilities – Retail designs and architects have to design washroom facilities that meet brand expectations. The facilities that they specify have to reinforce the brand while maintaining a high degree of cleanliness or even ‘self-cleaning’ facilities. The retail design drawings that they create for plumbing and waste have to take into account today’s environmentally.

Back of House and Waste – Customers are not happy enough with the experience that they can see and feel, they also want to know how fast food chains are managing their staff facilities, their food storage and their waste, including the customer’s own packaging waste. A store design is not complete without attention to how these aspects are added to the design of the outlet and how they are managed efficiently and fairly and therefore they are also an important part of the design team’s responsibilities.

The designers challenge is therefore vast and rather than allowing for the production of the design using traditional 2D plans and elevations. The only way to manage and communicate the design process as well as manage changes requested by stakeholders throughout the process, is to use modern design tools such as Revit Architecture to create retail BIM models so that they can create a design that is easily changeable and manageable. Retail BIM modelling also allows for the use and re-usability of Revit families and models that can be used for subsequent stores and therefore ensure some brand consistency as well as design efficiency. Once created, these retail BIM models will also allow the creation of 3d retail images and 3d rendered perspective for retail interiors as well as retail exteriors. These are an important and effective way of communicating the store or outlet design during the various design stages that a designer is responsible for.

Whilst the challenge for fast food retail is to provide food quicker and cheaper than other options, there is good reason to elevate the importance of the store design and how that will affect and ultimately promote the overall brand experience for fast food retail now and well into the future. Managing that design process and the multitude of design inputs is a collaborative and involved process and is one that is served by a designer that is prepared to use CAD and BIM technology as the backbone for delivering a design solution that is easy to create, manage, share and communicate.