KidsThinkDesign

Website review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
KidsThinkDesign Website Poster Image
Budding designers explore creative fields, get inspired.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to see design in the world around them, and discover and appreciate what leaders in various creative fields have achieved. Design-related facts drawn from color theory, current research and events, and terminology encourage kids to combine knowledge and express their own ideas. Simple thought-provoking activities, like demonstrating the concept of happiness or anger using only a few geometric shapes, lead kids gently towards greater things. KidsThinkDesign inspires budding designers with stylish content, but misses the chance to be a sounding board for kids' own creative ideas.

Positive Messages

Absolutely, completely positive messages about learning, thinking, and exploring.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

There's a store link with 150 carefully chosen high-quality books, pieces of equipment, supplies, and activity kits; a click will open Amazon in a new tab. Suggested art-supplies list features Utrecht link and logo, but there aren't any ads otherwise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that KidsThinkDesign is a colorful and easy-to-navigate website that opens up a world of possibilities across a range of design industries, from architecture to fashion. Although the store tab redirects to Amazon and there's a sponsoring art-supplies vendor, both are incorporated tastefully. The site has earned a kidSAFE Seal of Approval and asks kids to self-report their birthdays and give a parent or teacher's email address for design submissions. 

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What's it about?

The site is broken down into sections: fashion, graphics, interiors, books, products, film and theater, architecture, animation, and environmental design. They're all introduced through informational snippets such as the functional design of chairs, the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, DKNY runway stills, Spider-Man costume concepts, and Pixar animator biographies. Each design category is accompanied by a list of related sites and books, a couple DIY projects, and the opportunity to submit an original design idea.

Is it any good?

KidsThinkDesign brings together a tasteful and well-rounded set of ideas and resources to evoke thought and creativity in kids and teens. As you would expect, the design is bold and simple, yet relatively full of concrete facts and concepts designed to ignite imagination and inspire thought. DIY projects may not be plentiful, but they're detailed and interesting and include creating a word cloud, assembling a skyscraper, or developing a land-use plan. Each comes with a list of needed supplies and equipment, which could include sophisticated items such as portfolio paper, mannequins, scoring tools, linoleum blocks, and design templates, as well as good ol' pens and pencils. The range of disciplines covers so many aspects of modern life, there's truly something for everyone here.

The host, Kids Design Collaborative, is clearly devoted to its mission of connecting kids with creative professionals, inspiring future designers, and promoting design thinking. That said, although one of the stated functions of the site is to periodically feature kid-submitted designs, there aren't any on the site. That's disappointing, but we hope this submitting, sharing, and showcasing element will expand and evolve, making the site more attractive to the next generation of budding designers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Watch one of the slide shows together, then take a look at your home or a local site to see how it compares. For instance, compare the chairs in your house to the wacky but high-design chairs in the Interior Design slide show. What's more important: form or function?

  • Discuss architecture projects your kids have already created or wish to create (maybe a perfect room or house?) and consider submitting a design.

Website details

  • Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding, exploration, global awareness, historical figures, history, timelines
    Arts: drawing, film, painting
    Hobbies: building, fashion
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, asking questions, collecting data, decision-making, part-whole relationships
    Creativity: combining knowledge, imagination, innovation, making new creations
    Self-Direction: effort, personal growth
    Communication: multiple forms of expression, presenting
  • Genre: Educational
  • Pricing structure: Free

For kids who love creating

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