Building AI playgrounds: 8 principles for designing Ai experiences for children

Building AI playgrounds: 8 principles for designing Ai experiences for children

May 2024

Our latest research paper at FINH delves into the integration of AI into digital childhoods, exploring design principles and insights for creating AI experiences for kids, that are safe, engaging, and curious.


First published on FINH.CC

Our experimental journey at the intersection of AI and Kid-tech has been an adventure. From chairs that can feel, to helpful AI guides for internet discovery, to real world pokedexes, we can confidently say we’ve done more than most. But in a landscape that changes at a neck-breaking pace, we’ve realized that experience counts for little. What was relevant yesterday may not be relevant tomorrow. 

AI is increasingly weaving into the fabric of digital childhoods, shaping their reality, changing how they learn, play, think, behave, and interact with the outside world every day. This shift opens up opportunities to design AI that's easy and fun to use – and more importantly, that’s considerate of who children really are and what they need.

We've distilled our many years of experience and experiments into 8 Principles for Designing AI Experiences for Kids — a kind of compass, if you will, that any designer can follow. We hope this helps others to navigate the challenge of designing AI-powered children's products that seamlessly enrich every child’s growth and support families everywhere. These principles represent our joint commitment to a better future, full of joy and curiosity – one where AI doesn’t undermine what it means to be human, but augments it.


AI For Children Must Support Intuitive Self-expression.

AI products and experiences must allow children to express their ideas in a natural, intuitive manner, leveraging physical, visual, and digital inputs. A dance, a doodle, a song, a Lego-man. 


AI For Children Must Enhance A Child’s Organic Rhythms. 

AI products and experiences must exist and function within a family’s daily rhythms. Making the job of parents and children a little easier and a lot more joyful. From breakfast time to bed time. From quiet time to learning time.


AI For Children Must Create Magical And Joyful Moments.

AI interfaces must creatively respond to imaginative queries, maintaining engagement and wonder throughout the interaction by blending real capabilities with imaginative responses that surprise and delight.


AI For Children Must Be Carefully Personable.

AI Interfaces must reciprocate emotional engagement through careful anthropomorphism. They must be holistically crafted to encompass personality that make the interface friendly and pleasant, but never addictive or forcing codependency.

Building AI playgrounds: 8 principles for designing Ai experiences for children

AI For Children Must Be Transparent And Honest.

AI Interfaces must demystify the inner workings and intent of the AI. Communicating clear boundaries between the technology and the child, fostering an environment of trust and confidence in its capabilities and limitations.


AI For Children Must Provide Breakable Boundaries.  

AI products and experiences must exist within flexible guidelines, establishing an environment where rules can be followed, and boundaries can be redefined as a child’s natural curiosity brings them to explore the edges of what is possible. 


AI For Children Must Connect To The Physical World.

AI interactions must create a functional sense of connection to a world beyond the screen, encouraging interaction with people and objects, and engaging with all of a child’s senses through tangible play.


AI For Children Must Include All Other Intelligences.

AI products and experiences must include all stakeholders in the life of a child, from friends, to parents, to teachers, to carers. Promoting social connection as opposed to isolation.

Building AI playgrounds: 8 principles for designing Ai experiences for children

The team at, our latest client and partner, have run with these insights to build a nourishing and imaginative storytelling platform that uses AI to empower kids to create their own stories. Both yarn and FINH place children at the heart of our practices – as our users, but also as sources of inspiration. There’s a deep connection between adult creativity and the special cognitive abilities of children, whose brains are uniquely plastic and free of many of the limiting, top-down filters that we struggle with as grown-ups. It’s precisely those filters that we try to get rid of as product-makers and designers.

FINH and yarn’s common goal is to make sure that, as AI spills into the lives of our little ones, we use this technology to bring out the best in every child, and to spark curiosity and joy with every interaction. More importantly, we feel we have a responsibility to make sure AI doesn’t become a tool for superficial consumption, but one that powers true creativity and discovery – helping children become resilient humans, capable problem solvers, truly global citizens, and secure in who they are and what they can achieve in life.

Authors: Alexis Bardini, Filippo Yacob, Emre Kayganaci.

← Back HomeBack to Top ↑
Noones App - Alexis Bardini


/ 2024


Building a Bitcoin super app and peer-to-peer marketplace, used by millions.

FABA Speaker - Alexis Bardini


/ 2024


Exploring the future of bedtime story telling and experience through a kids-first interface.

Ash Ai Pokedex - Alexis Bardini


/ 2021


An Ai-Pocket Field Guide for ecology guardians ages 6 and up. Inspired by the legendary Pokedex.

Astro Browser - Alexis Bardini


/ 2021-

/ Co-Founder

Co-founding a safe browser for curious kids ages 4 to 10.

Rysk - Alexis Bardini


/ 2022


Uncorrelated returns in all market conditions. Pure financial engineering.

Feeel - Alexis Bardini


/ 2023


Creating an identity & strategy for a New York based immersive VR-experience hospitality company.