A couple of weeks back we wrote about the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s “Museum Moment of Zen.” Today, they’re our Brand of the Day for their Design It Yourself series, which is no doubt keeping many the child entertained … and many the parent sane.
So far, there are 15 installments online, and each presents a design challenge that draws inspiration from an object or artist tied to the museum’s collection.
Here are five highlights. (And hey, they might work for adults too. Just saying …)
Design a Chair
Inspired by Blu Dot’s Real Good Chair, winner of the 2018 National Design Award for Product Design, this challenge walks participants through the creation of their own chair using a printable template, and asks them to consider: What are you designing? Who might use your design? Where will users use your design? Design thinking can never start too early.
Design Your Own Potato Stamp Pattern
Eva Zeisel was known for her gorgeous dinnerware patterns, and this challenge instructs young designers to create their own potato stamp, so that they might get the jump on launching their own lines.
Design a Watch
This challenge is inspired by industrial designer Patricia Moore, 2019 Design Mind winner. Why a watch? It’s all about telling a tale of time. As Cooper Hewitt writes, “Moore traveled throughout North America disguised as an elder woman—her body altered to simulate the normal sensory changes associated with aging—to better respond to people, products and environments.”
Design an Interior Space
In the spirit of IwamotoScott Architecture, this challenge invites kids to explore the firm’s unique outlook on place and adaptability. A printable template includes the foundations of some architecture they can call their own—and a medley of people to populate it with.
Design a Pencil
This challenge doesn’t draw inspiration from a single object within the Cooper Hewitt collection, but rather invites participants to “design a pencil that will be comfortable to hold through a long school day”—in other words, it empowers kids to experience firsthand how design can solve problems in their everyday lives.