Presenting at Digital Kids Today


Back in April I was invited to speak at Digital Kids Today which is part of Games Week Denmark. I had the company of some amazing people such as Johanne Bagge from DR, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, Brad Merritt from Cartoon Network and many more. 

You can see my whole talk here.

Funday Factory also did a short post-talk interview with me.

Find more hightlights with video shorts here and read a summary here!

Digital Kids Today was organized by the great people at Funday Factory and Interactive Denmark Vest. I really enjoyed this event, both the speakers and the great people and I had the opportunity to talk to. For me it is always great to meet fellow people who work with designing for kids to exchange ideas and get my eyes opened to more views.

About larp in The Guardian

Last month we could see a very nice piece in The Guardian about larp called Beyond Dungeons and Dragons: can role play save the world? written by Tash Reith-Banks.

The article featured a bunch of larps such as the Jane Austen inspired Fortune & FelicityThe Quota which is centers around the refugee crisis and Halat Hisar which I have written about earlier.

“But can larps really be transformative? Andreas Lieberoth, associate professor of education at Aarhus University in Denmark, believes so. He says: “The more I study larp and the learning sciences together, the more I become convinced that larps can hold immense educational potential.”. And learning though role play is not a modern phenomenon, he stresses.”
Beyond Dungeons and Dragons: can role play save the world?

It also featured the larp Just a Little Lovin’ designed by Hanne Grasmo and Tor Kjetil Edland. I produced the second run which was held in Sweden 2012 and have helped out the two danish runs after that (2013 and 2015). During the last run in a also took photos and one of them was picked up by The Guardian for the article. I think the photo the chose really captures themes of the larp which centers around a gay community in the early 80’s New York that is hit by the aids crisis. A new run of the larp is set for june 2018 in Finland.

Simon and Carl - Photo: Petter Karlsson

Designing for Kids – Panel at ustwoThinks

Panel Designing for Kids ustwoTHINKS

On December 7th I was invited to ustwo Nordic’s studio in Malmö for an ustwoTHINKS session named “Designing for Kids”. A summary and video has now been posted and I really recommend viewing it if this is a topic that interests you, as there was some pretty awesome sharing going around with smart people sharing different perspectives of their design practise.

The panel was moderated by Marit Kile Hartshorn (ustwo) and in it Emma Nordung(ustwo), Daniel Spikol (Malmö University), Jais Holm Christensen (LEGO) and me representing Toca Boca. It was a pure pleasure and really lovely to be in such great company and as soon as we started prepping for the panel the discussions and sharing started to flow. We really had to stop ourselves not to talk to much before actual panel.

The video starts with all of the panelists presenting themselves and a project they worked with recently for about 5 minutes. Mine starts at about 3:20. The discussions then go on for 1,5 hours and finishes with 30 minutes of great audience questions.

Read the full summary at: ustwo THINKS: Designing for kids 

Brutal honesty is also one of the challenges, and perks, when working with children. They will discard your app if something looks strange or if there’s something that disrupts the play environment, quickly changing to another app or even just pushing the test device away. Understand what want to test before you start and play together with them, understand what’s happening and try to follow their train of thought.


Allowing for kids to try do things that aren’t expected and testing the boundaries of the app will cater to their natural curiosity. They will want to do “bad things” like playing with poo and do things that doesn’t necessarily make any sense for adults. They will challenge social norms and we should try to create worlds that aren’t controlled so it’s possible to do just that. As adults we might be uncomfortable with changing rules and things are supposed to be in a certain way, kids won’t have those same restrictions.


Apps are new to society, they’re new to us, to kids and to parents all alike. Together we have to make sure that we’re nurturing a behaviour that makes our kids thrive. What kind of apps we want our kids to spend time with and which values we want to pass on to them.

I’m really happy about the panel, the shared learnings, great engaged feedback from the audience and wonderful hosting by usttwo. 10/10 would do again.

Also finally the toilets at ustwo were amazing, inviting the user to draw on the walls (because adults also need to play).

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AMAZING toilets at ustwo in Malmö.

A post shared by Petter Karlsson (@petterkarlsson) on

Interviewed in iOS App Store about the play design for Toca Life

iOS App Store Today Tab November 22nd featuring the Article Making Kids Games Meaningful

I have now been at Toca Boca for 2 years working with 6 apps in the Toca Life series. A lot of learnings and fun experiences with an amazing team have happened during this time. I was happy to share some of these stories in an interview for the Today Tab in the iOS App Store this November.

You can read the article here.

You can also watch mine and Willow Melbratt’s talk about our work with designing Toca Life here.


The Power of Play – Presentation at

Me and my colleague Willow Melbratt spoke at the design focused conference September 6th 2017. We talked about our work with the Toca Life series at Toca Boca and how we design for diversity and with the kids perspective as the core of every product.

At Toca Boca, we believe in the power of Free Play. Undirected Play. Play that empowers the individual. We are Play Designers and will share how we bring play into our process and work with kids to develop concepts from their perspective that are inclusive, fun, and at their essence, purely playful.

We also looked like this on with some magic plastic from Aliexpress behind us.

Thanks to the Confetti team and the other amazing speakers for making an awesome conference!

You can check out all of the presentations here!

Jury duty! In the interactive and moving images jury for Kolla!

Photo: Anna Ledin Wirén

Svenska Tecknare is an association that organises Sweden’s professional illustrators and graphic designers.  Among other activities they host the design competition Kolla!

The competition awards work in a variety of categories within design, illustration, animation and moving images. I was asked to chair the jury for Moving images and interactive media.

For this I was interviewed (in Swedish), where I talked a bit about my work-life and how I ended up at as a Play Designer at Toca Boca in October last year. The work process  in the jury was also covered in another article as one of the efforts to make this years Kolla! a more transparent competition.

It was really fun to be a part of this, reviewing such a variety of projects some with really grand qualities. It has been a great time working with the awesome people in my group; Roxy Farhat, Vian Tahir and Peter Ström.

Photo: Anna Ledin Wirén