Design Thinking with Kids


'Design Thinking with Kids' is a two hour workshop that gives teachers and parents the tools and skills to introduce children (aged 5 and up) to Design Thinking. Whether it's designing a new musical instrument, building the perfect home for a pet, designing ways to save energy around the house or even a better way to get to Saturn, Design Thinking provides a fun way of exploring problems and building important social and cognitive skills.

On completion of the workshop, you will have experienced Design Thinking methodology themselves, and will be ready to share it with others. From identifying interesting problems to look at to collecting interesting resources for prototyping, the session gives you useful, practical techniques, as well as showing how children will be learning important skills during the process.

Create Problem-based Projects

Whether you are looking to build a unit of work, or plan something to do at home over the weekend, Design Thinking gives you an approach to creating deeply engaging activities.

Driven by children’s curiosity and interests, plan activities where they can explore, create and learn.

Versatile Thinking Tools

With Design Thinking methodology, you can equip children with a toolkit of powerful ways of working – from ideation to prototyping, from ethnography to testing.

These are skills that they can apply in a wide range of contexts, both at school and outside. As they apply them more broadly, the skills will continue to develop with use.

Hand's On Experiences

With screens and digital technology playing such a big role in learning and recreation for children, Design Thinking is about the physical, the experiential and the low tech. Even when thinking about technological problems, it focuses on conversation, physical prototyping, and hands-on experience.

The more opportunities children have to learn and play in these ways, the more balance we can create with mediated technology.

'Design Thinking with Kids' is not a BOSTES endorsed course for NSW teachers. It can however contribute to part of your overall professional development goals.

The course was developed to contribute toward 3.3.2, 3.4.2 and 6.3.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

Select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop
knowledge, skills, problem-solving and critical and creative

Select and/or create and use a range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning.

Contribute to collegial discussions and apply constructive feedback from colleagues to improve professional knowledge and practice.

What is Design Thinking?

'Design Thinking' is an approach to problems that brings together ideas from multiple disciplines. In recent years it has been adopted by many of the world's most innovative companies and institutions as a powerful toolkit for problem solving.

Design thinking is a great way to work with kids because it develops a range of important skills. It encourages creative thinking in a wide range of domains. It also encourages critical thinking and shows how critical and creative thinking can work together to generate great ideas.

The approach is also very hands-on. It has a focus on exploring a problem through doing - from asking people to experiencing things for yourself. It also focuses on doing as part of developing solutions - creating prototypes to test ideas, getting people to use initial prototypes, and learning through trial and error.


Design Thinking encourages collaborative exploration. It's a great way to help kids develop the social skills to participate in and lead group activities.

What is covered in the workshop?

The workshop consists of three different parts.

The first part of the workshop is an introduction to Design Thinking. Whether you are familiar with the idea, or this is all new to you, we take a few minutes to get everyone on the same page.

The second part of the workshop is to doing some hands-on design thinking. We believe you really need to have experienced it to teach it, so you will work on a real problem with some of the other workshop participants. You will identify problems, come up with solutions, prototype them, test them - all in the space of about an hour!

The third part of the workshop is stepping you through the process of preparing and running a design thinking session for kids. We will switch back and forth between the hands-on activity and the 'how to do this with kids', showing you how each part of the activity you are doing can best be run with children from 5 years and up.

You'll take away some simple documentation, tools and suggestions that mean you will be all set to run your own session.


Design Thinking is about thinking with your hands, not just your head. Building lo-fi prototypes, testing and learning - these are critical skills for success in problem solving.

Who should attend? How will they benefit?

This workshop has been designed for anyone spending time with children from about 5 to 15 years old. This includes parents and teachers, as well as grandparents, child care workers, youth workers and others.

If you spend time with young people and want to help them develop creative and critical thinking skills in a fun and engaging way, then this is the workshop for you. It gives you practical tools to use in introducing kids to design thinking, as well as giving you a chance to experience the methodology yourself.

There are lots of other great resources around to help you plan and deliver design thinking experiences for kids - in particular you should check out Stanford University's Institute of Design ( and IDEO's Design Thinking for Educators (

Course Facilitation

The 'Design Thinking with Kids' workshop was developed by our training specialists at Schoolhouse, drawing on leading research and methodology in design thinking. Each workshop will facilitated by either Brett Rolfe or Craig Adams.




Brett leads a number of initiatives for Schoolhouse, including the advocacy of parental involvement in the classroom. He is a passionate advocate of the power of collaboration and the benefits of student-directed experiential learning. Brett has a bachelors degree in Psychology and a masters degree in Teaching (Primary).




Craig is a design thinking practitioner and founder of the Sydney chapter of Good for Nothing (GFN). GFN is a growing community of thinkers, do-ers, makers and tinkerers, finding time to gift our skills and energy to help accelerate the impact of cause led innovators, change makers and epic projects of social good. You can find out more at

Find Out More

For more information about 'Design Thinking with Kids' or our other courses you can email us at We look forward to hearing from you.


Feature image on this page by Fabrice Florin. Accompanying images courtesy of Jennifer Morrow and Hannah Perner-Wilson.