Little big minds: co-creating with kids

Published on 03 Aug, 2016 by María Crucera

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During the summer, Cronos Kids organises a camp for gifted kids and Knight Moves did want to contribute with what we most enjoy doing: co-creation. Our team facilitated a one-day workshop for sixteen kids, aged from 5 to 12, about the American elections. 

The day started with a short introduction about the American political system, after which our young participants were asked to design their own election campaigns. In order to do so, they were divided into smaller groups, and in each group they had to choose a candidate for the presidency and some ministers who would support the president during the campaign. The imagination of the kids was limitless, and they created departments such as the “Ministry of animals and jokes” or the “Ministry of handicrafts”. 

We planned the workshop with different activities that encouraged the kids to think about the future of America, and how they could fulfil the needs of the different classes of the society while finding a balance between the people, the profit and the planet.

One of the groups was asked to create a newspaper from 2026, highlighting the things that would have changed in ten years if their candidate were elected president of America. Although these were quite young journalists, they thought of some topics that could perfectly have been included in the future edition of The New York Times. 

Another group had to design a presidential speech using our Kingdom Cards. We were very curious to experience how kids would interpret the quest and whether there would be any difference between this exercise and how adults normally use Kingdom. It was very interesting to see how kids used the cards as a storytelling tool, and what their broad imagination brought to the table. 

The other two groups were asked to create a short movie as part as their campaigns. One of them, the group with the youngest kids, started by creating a big drawing about how American kids would live in the future, and afterwards they had to act it out and film it. This ended up with funny results, such as future kids being able to use teleportation or having cleaning-up robots at home. The last group created a movie script and filmed the different scenes for their campaign. 

As a wrap-up of the day, we organised a small political debate with the different groups, where the kids had the chance to practice their presentation skills and show what they had been working on, and answer the questions proposed by members of the opposition.

Conducting co-creation with children was new to our team, and we took this as an opportunity to put it into practice. We gained new insights that we will definitely take with us for future projects, and we have summarised them in the following 5 points:

    • Be prepared: co-creation sessions with kids require a good amount of preparation -even more than with adults-. Children are very expressive, naturally spontaneous and let their wildest ideas take over all the activities, so you need to be prepared for the most unexpected outcomes.

    • Make the guidelines of each exercise as concrete as possible to help them stay in track. While adults need more open instructions that leave them space to be creative, children tend to think broadly and often get off topic if the exercises are not very well defined.

    • Be enthusiastic! Children are an endless source of energy: they love to jump, run, play and talk before, during and after the workshop (breaks included), so make sure you have your batteries fully charged.

    • Be open to learn. These young minds have a lot to offer that is often not found in adults. The spontaneity of their ideas can serve as a good source of inspiration for designers, and it is very interesting to see how far their imagination can take these sessions.

    • Enjoy it! Working with kids presents a bigger challenge than working with adults, but it is also a very rewarding activity. Part of the success of these sessions relies also in the facilitators having fun and connecting with the kids.

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