Problem-solving with children: Prisma children’s checkout counter

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VIVISTOP Telliskivi received an exciting assignment from supermarket chain Prisma Family Market to generate ideas for children to supplement their children’s checkout counter.

VIVISTOP has already earlier collaborated with Prisma — this spring within Latitude59 conference’s youth track the kids had a chance to redesign a shopping cart / trolley for Prisma. The Children’s Checkout Counter workshop took place for two days at the premises of Lasnamäe Prisma. A total of 14 children aged 9–13 participated in the workshop.

When presentations are done

The challenge began with a thorough tour both in the Prisma store area and in various storage rooms that the customer usually would not reach. A true behind-the-scenes experience for the participants that helped create a holistic understanding of how a supermarket works. All workshop participants also had the opportunity to challenge themselves both as a cashier and a buyer at the store checkout. Grasping how products reach the store and its showroom, how the super market pays special attention to the customer journey and the role of the seller and the buyer, helped build the empathy around the shopping experience and task at hand.

Kids at Prisma storage room

As a homework assignment prior to the workshop, we asked the children to visit one of Prisma supermarkets that has achildren’s checkout counter (currently these are located in Prismas in Kristiine and Sikupilli). We documented all the observations that children had made and visualised them in a playful manner in form of a ship on the wall. Above the water-level, we assembled positive observations (“the ones that help take the ship forward”), while negative aspects were placed under the water (“the ones that hamper the ship’s motion”).

Thereafter, children worked in four teams, identifying the most important “below the waterline” problem and ideated possible solutions to it. Ideas were wild, ranging from foldable stairs to fruit pipes from Africa. Each group chose the idea(s) to prototype. Before the final presentation, the teams also had the opportunity to test the completed models at the supermarket.

Mapping the good and the bad

Team 1: How to make the store more children-friendly in height (accessibility)?

Team 1 thought about various technical solutions on how children could better reach produce from the shelves or by the checkout counter. One of their solutions was pull-out stairs in the cashier and packing area, which the children could easily pull out themselves (similarly to the stackable kindergarten beds). They also prototyped a shopping trolley with foldable stairs and chip by the shelves, that locks the wheels of the trolley to keep the cart stable during the time the child climbs up. Extra attention was paid to areas where this functionality would not be needed — e.g. by the alcohol counter.

Team 2: Comfortable checkout counter for different heights

Team 2 was focusing on creating a convertible height checkout counter. The team thought also about customers in a wheelchair, who similarly to the children would benefit of lower checkout counters. Every group member built their solution — elephant-shaped shopping cart machine, snake-shaped product scanner and a button that allows the customers to alter the height of the checkout counter.

Checkout counter height regulator
Snake-shaped product scanner
Elephant-shaped shopping cart machine

Team 3: How to create a child-friendly product range by the checkout counter?

Team 3 pondered about the products that could be interesting for children to buy. Additionally, children designed a navigation game that would allow families to easily locate the checkout counter within the store. Children can look for various animal shapes in the store, and after collecting/finding them all, they would receive a sticker from the cashier. They also redesigned the checkout divider and the colours of the checkout counter.

Idea sketches

This team also thought about the parents who might have difficulties getting their children away from the carousel (a current attraction at child-friendly Prisma supermarkets). As a solution, a child designed a witty sign and a button that could be placed next to the carousel stating:

Team 4: Wide range of fruits all the time

Team 4 focused on the children’s fruit basket. Children wanted the baskets to have different kinds of fruits and that the baskets would be never empty. The team proposed an underground pipe structure to transport fruits straight from Africa. According to their idea, there could be an underground greenhouse under the store which would allow constant shipment of fresh fruits. Children would also attach a reader on the basket, which shows the number of fruits in the basket and would send out an automatic note if there are only a few left. As a prototype, the team built four baskets with an umbrella-shaped reader and pipes.


During the two workshop days, the children had an adventure in the Prisma supermarket, identified many substantial problems and proposed relevant solutions. Being in the actual supermarket environment enhanced the children’s motivation to seek for problems and create solutions to them additionally granting children a possibility to better relate to the problems.

The most important aspect of designing together with children is creation of empathy. If a child understands the context of the problem, it is easier to find solutions.

  • Thank you for participating and for all your crazy ideas: Nora, Morten, Mirtel, Emma O, Karolin, Yoko, Jakob, Tormi, Emma J, Etta, Rio, Otto, Tevon and Elli.
  • Thank you, AS Prisma Peremarketid
  • And last but not least, thank you, Sigrid Kägi for making all those amazing photos ♡
Workshop run by Eva Liisa Kubinyi & Halina Mugame

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Kids and Youth Creativity Accelerator

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