WonderRoam is a space with the sole purpose of being a welcoming place to learn about, try, and/or do activities on one’s own or with others in a calm and happy environment.
What is WonderRoam?
WonderRoam has the mission to promote free exploration of hobbies, interests, and general wonderments with the hope that happiness can be found through them. Taking the time for oneself, to relax and to express one’s self, is something that can often be overlooked, but it is also something that can positively impact people’s mental wellness.
The WonderRoam Story
This project started out with this one question:
What are the mental wellness activities that people do, why do they do them, and how do these activities help them?
Through research of psychological studies and anecdotes in the form of TEDTalks and a survey, one thing became very clear: the things people do to enhance their mental wellness is very individual and personal. There are many activities that can spark a person’s interest and often these activities allow people to self-reflect, express themselves, and feel a sense of freedom, control, and/or accomplishment. The activities this project to focuses on are art, music, and baking since these can be confined to a space, can be done alone or in a group, and lend themselves well to self-expression. Often, associations can be tied to certain activities. These activities, like having a favorite art activity, song, or recipe, may also be tied to positive memories, as found through people’s anecdotes. Research also showed that nature and its sounds were relaxing. With all this in mind, WonderRoam has the goal to create an environment that was welcoming, calm, and encourage exploration.
(1-3) Felicity is a college-aged girl who tends to get caught up in her worries and hasn’t felt the same joy from her previous interests. She is curious about certain hobbies such as art, music, and baking, but she doesn’t want to commit to buying expensive tools when she doesn’t know if she’ll enjoy these activities. (4-5) When researching about these hobbies, she comes across a website for WonderRoam, a place where people can try activities either on their own or in groups. (6) Felicity decides to go check out WonderRoam. (7-9) Felicity enters WonderRoam and is greeted by a trail-like entrance that has calm-toned music and nature sounds. The entrance has three trails with trail signs labeled “art”, “music”, and “baking”.
(10-12) Felicity enters the yellow art room that has art supplies and a table with cards that look like paint swatches, some with prompts, some encouraging people to write about their experiences. She grabs a prompt and experiments with oil paint. Later, she writes about her experience in expressing herself through art and places it on a board. (13-15) Felicity later visits the music room. This blue room has a table with sheet music, both with actual music and some that are blank. She tries out playing the keyboard on her own, allowing herself to self-reflect through music. She later writes about her experience and places it where others are. (16-18) Curious about baking, Felicity enters the lavender room and helps a new friend make cookies. Flour gets everywhere, but she leaves a recipe card with a meaningful story and an anecdote card, happy to make a new memory and friend.
(19) Felicity leaves WonderRoam excited to have found a place where she can explore new activities with the equipment already there, either alone or with others. (20) At home and happy, Felicity leaves a happy comment on the WonderRoam website about her experience of expressing herself through art,relaxing through song,and feeling a sense of community through baking. (21-24) Felicity is invigorated once more and is excited to visit again to continue exploring her newfound interests in the calm and welcoming environment that is WonderRoam.
WonderRoam has three different hobbies to explore and six rooms to explore them in!
When someone enters the space, they are greeted by an entrance that takes inspiration from nature complete with a bench, calm-toned music and nature sounds, and three signs guiding them to the three different hobbies available in the space to explore. Three out of the six rooms are laid out in a group setting so that those who are wanting to share their exploration of new interests with others can do so! The other three rooms are smaller and more for the solo explorer who’d rather experiment with a new hobby on their own and have a more personal connection.
The Space: WonderRoam’s Rooms
The Interactive Cards
Each room has a table with cards corresponding to the theme that have prompts for the hobby with space to leave an anecdote of one’s experience.
The art room has cards resembling paint swatches. The more square-like cards have prompts to get people started if needed, and the thinner rectangular cards are for people to write their experience, which will get left on a board. The music room has cards resembling music sheets. The top part has a simple musical suggestion, and the bottom has a tearable section to write about the experience, which will get left on a board. The baking room has cards resembling recipe cards. The wider cards are for recipes (pre-made or to write down a recipe and the memory associated with it) and the more square-shaped cards are to write down one’s experience, which will be left in the same container as the recipe cards.
The WonderRoam website is where people can learn about WonderRoam and connect with others. As depicted in these mockups, it would have a landing page which describes the different hobbies/rooms and what some people may get out of exploring these hobbies based on research, and a community page where people can share their experiences with the space at WonderRoam!
Everything in the WonderRoam branding is very much inspired by nature and the three hobbies of art, music, and baking. From colors inspired by nature to patterns resembling paint, keyboard keys, and flour.
Free to Wonder, Free to Roam
One’s relationship with one’s passions, interests, hobbies, and mental wellness is very personal, which is why a space that offers many ways to experience and explore a hobby in a welcoming and calm environment is important.
Thank you for going on this journey, and remember to take time for your own mental wellness!
•Brown, Daniel K., Jo L. Barton, and Valerie F. Gladwell. “Viewing nature scenes positively affects recovery of autonomic function following acute-mental
stress.”Environmental science & technology47.11 (2013): 5562-5569. •de Witte, Martina, et al. “Effects of music interventions on stress-related outcomes: a systematic review and two meta-analyses.”Health psychology review14.2 (2020): 294-324. •Easterbrook-Smith, Gwyn. “By bread alone: baking as leisure, performance, sustenance, during the COVID-19 crisis.”Leisure Sciences(2020): 1-7. •Ednie, Andrea, et al. “Connecting protected area visitor experiences, wellness motivations, and soundscape perceptions in Chilean Patagonia.”Journal of Leisure Research(2020): 1-27. •Glass, Sandra T., and Eva Heuberger. “Effects of a pleasant natural odor on mood: No influence of age.”Natural product communications11.10 (2016): 1934578X1601101033Gupta, Robert, director. Transcript of “Music Is Medicine, Music Is Sanity”. TED, Feb. 2010, www.ted.com/talks/robert_gupta_music_is_medicine_music_is_sanity/transcript#t-66100. •Krout, Robert E. “Music listening to facilitate relaxation and promote wellness: Integrated aspects of our neurophysiological responses to music.”The arts in Psychotherapy34.2 (2007): 134-141. •Martin, Shantell, director. Transcript of “How Drawing Can Set You Free”. TED, May 2020, www.ted.com/talks/shantell_martin_how_drawing_can_set_you_free/transcript#t-457242. •Sayorwan, Winai, et al. “The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity.” (2012). •Sidenius, Ulrik, et al. ““I look at my own forest and fields in a different way”: the lived experience of nature-based therapy in a therapy garden when suffering from stress-related illness.”International journal of qualitative studies on health and well-being12.1 (2017): 1324700. •TEDxTalks, director. Breathe to Heal | Max Strom | TEDxCapeMay. YouTube, YouTube, 7 Dec. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Lb5L-VEm34. •TEDxTalks, director. Change Your Breath, Change Your Life | Lucas Rockwood | TEDxBarcelona. YouTube, YouTube, 10 Dec. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QTJOAI0UoU. •Thoma, Myriam V., et al. “The effect of music on the human stress response.”PloS one8.8 (2013): e70156.
I am a graphic designer that believes that small things can have huge impacts, that every design should have meaning, and that understanding others will help us all connect. Getting lost in nature, a good book, or a show are some of my favorite past times!