Young children are naturally creative. They explore the world around them with curiosity, enthusiasm, and wonder.
“Why?” is their mantra, as they try to understand how things work. They create countless projects throughout the day from abstract art to blanket fortresses.
Unfortunately, while some of these avant-garde designs get displayed on the fridge for a while, the others never make it past a box in the attic. However, it’s important to preserve and nurture children’s creativity and give them a stake in influencing designs in the real world. We believe children should design for children, and here is why.
Children know what works best for them
It’s not uncommon to see preschoolers surrounded by expensive toys, playing with the bubble wrap the toys were packaged in instead. When creating designs for children, getting their input and feedback, as well as observing how they interact with the design, is vital. Their comments are particularly important when creating spaces where children reside for long periods of time, such as classrooms, schools, playgrounds, and so on. After all, it is they who are best able to identify and explain what they like, don’t like, find interesting or boring. At Fun Academy, we actively involve children in shaping our designs, including the creation of the beloved Kip Crew characters, based on their preferences and valuable input.
They have the best imagination
There is no limit to a child’s imagination. While thinking out of the box is a skill adults need to work on, in a child’s world, there is no box. Kids can make up stories about a dinosaur princess who came from outer space when most adults will struggle to link space exploration with the Jurassic period. As a result, designs by kids are colorful, vibrant, and truly authentic. Therefore, when children design for children, they will inspire and learn from each other in a truly unique way, with the Kip Crew characters being a perfect example of their imaginative contributions.
Unhindered by practicality issues
“The world is filled with enthusiastic, energetic people. Too bad they’re usually under the age of seven.” – Esa Saarinen, Ph.D., Philosopher, and Professor Emeritus Aalto University, Finland
A child’s journey to discovering the world is not slowed down by preconceptions. Childhood is a magical time when you explore, experience, and learn about things for the first time. Therefore, when children design for children, they are not held back by the laws of physics or feng shui. They first design with great enthusiasm and passion, leaving the worries of practicality for another day. As a result, there are many artists, designers, and companies who recreate or replicate children’s designs. The Kip Crew characters embody this spirit of boundless imagination and free thinking.
Give them a head start in shaping their future
Each child is an individual. Our responsibility is to respect their individuality and prepare them to face the world. We must support them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as interests and aspirations. Design is an excellent area for children to experiment and contribute in a safe and inspiring way. They can tap into their imagination to find creative solutions to make everyday life more pleasant. Moreover, they can learn about creating designs to support the more vulnerable people in their communities. Furthermore, they can identify how to be responsible with the materials they source and respectful with the designs they create.
All in all, by allowing children to design for children, we can empower them to be active creators and responsible citizens in the future.
Thank you to Claire Sanders for the original blog on this theme where she discussed the matter of child participation when we were working on giving the Kip Crew characters their final touch. The photos are from a Future Astronaut event at Suomi Areena in Finland where children built a spacecraft out of recycled materials, a focus group session to evaluate character design progress, and a character design workshop.