Simple Ways For Parents To Teach Kids Design Thinking

Ever feel like everyone’s talking about new ways of teaching your children, but nobody tells you how to do it? It feels like no one is teaching us how to dive into the pool from where we all stand at the edge. So, that is where design thinking comes into play.  ‘Design Thinking’ is a game-changer for kids, and the best part? It’s not just for classrooms; it’s for everyone, including your kids at home.

The good news is that you don’t need a design degree to introduce your kids to the wonders of design thinking. As a parent, you’re already quite ready to develop your child’s curiosity and problem-solving skills. From turning everyday activities into design challenges to encouraging experimentation and collaboration, there are numerous fun and easy ways to incorporate design thinking into your child’s life. 

Now, let’s explore some resources and tools that can help you help your children leverage the benefits of design thinking. 

Resources for Introducing Design Thinking Early


Design Thinking Books for Kids

Introduce creativity and problem-solving to your children with captivating reads like ‘Rosie Revere, Engineer’ by Andrea Beaty, or ‘The Most Magnificent Thing’ by Ashley Spires. Explore Kobi Yamada’s series, including ‘What Do You Do With an Idea?’ and others, inspire kids to grow their ideas and open their imagination’s endless possibilities.

Online Courses and Videos

Use interactive courses on sites like TED-Ed and Khan Academy to spark students’ curiosity. Take a look at the ‘Imagineering in a Box’ series from Khan Academy to learn about creativity and design thinking, or check out the entertaining animated lessons on creativity and problem-solving from TED-Ed.

Design Thinking Kits

Incorporate kits such as “Design Thinking for Kids” from SparkLab to promote experiential learning. These kits give users the tools and resources they need to face challenging design problems enjoyably, encouraging creativity and problem-solving abilities. They are made to encourage the kids to explore, create, and innovate through tasks like building bridges and solving common problems. 

Tools to Nurture Design Thinking in Kids


Mind Mapping Apps: Utilize platforms like Miro or MindMeister for visual brainstorming. These online tools help kids jot down ideas, connect them visually, and organize their thoughts effectively. Look for free or educational versions to get started. They’re perfect for turning abstract thoughts into concrete plans.

Recycled Materials: Get creative with cardboard boxes, old containers, and newspapers. Encourage your child to repurpose these items into prototypes, fostering resourcefulness and sustainability while exploring design thinking. You’d be amazed at what can be created with a little imagination and some recycled materials! 

Simple Drawing Tools: Equip your children early with pens, paper, and crayons for sketching. These basic tools allow them to express their ideas freely during brainstorming sessions. Drawing is a universal language that helps kids communicate and refine their thoughts with ease.

Now that you’re equipped with some tools and resources to get you started, let’s look at some activities that you and your child can engage in. 

Fun Activities for Hands-on Learning


Design a Better Toy Box: Solve the timeless problem of toy storage by involving your kid in the design process. Encourage them to interview siblings or friends to understand their toy storage challenges. Then, brainstorm solutions together, create a prototype using simple materials like cardboard, and put it to the test. It’s a hands-on way to develop problem-solving skills while having fun.

Revamp a Recipe: Transform a family recipe into a cooking adventure for your children. Challenge them to redesign the recipe with younger chefs in mind. This activity not only encourages creativity but also teaches empathy as they consider the perspective of younger cooks. From ingredient substitutions to simplified instructions, let their imagination run wild in the kitchen.

Design the Perfect Gift: Challenge your child to design a gift for a loved one that solves a real-world problem they have. Whether it’s a title or a handy gadget, encourage them to focus on meeting the recipient’s needs. This project not only hones their design thinking skills but also helps to grow empathy and creativity, making it a meaningful gift-giving experience.

Teaching design thinking to kids can be simple and enjoyable for both parents and children. By engaging in activities like redesigning toy storage, experimenting with recipes, or creating thoughtful gifts, parents can encourage creativity and problem-solving in their little ones. With tools like mind-mapping apps, recycled materials, and basic drawing supplies, kids can discover their imaginations and develop valuable skills for the future. So, let’s keep exploring and innovating together, making learning a fun and rewarding experience for our children. After all, the journey of discovery is just beginning! 

Looking for the best K-12 school in Bangalore? Apply now for Ekya Nava, India’s First K-12 School of Innovation, Creativity & Design. Located in Panathur Village, Bengaluru, Ekya Nava aims to Go Beyond the core curriculum and approach schooling from a whole new perspective. Admissions open for 2024-25.

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