Why I Expose my Toddler to Design

toutes les maisons sont dans la nature

In six words: to prepare him for the world. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a visual person or the fact that design is in my bones. I found my style at 6 years old. I recalled our Sunday car rides where my parents went to see upscale houses across the province. My parents were looking at traditional houses while I was admiring the few modern architecture houses that we encountered. They knew about my preference.

Yes, I teach my son about good taste. I want him to recognize an aesthetically pleasing object when he sees one. But it goes deeper than that. I expose Zack to design for giving him the tools to be successful and happy. For me, preparing him for the world requires a design mindset. Design affects all parts of our live. But most importantly, design thinking enables us to explore and ultimately find new solutions to challenges.

As many parents, I want to give my son the best chances to have a great career. Most rewarding jobs require problem solving. To excel at problem solving, you must be open-minded in order to imagine how to assemble or organize things differently, to think outside the box, to simplify complex systems and to care for the stakeholders in doing so. Well-designed products fulfill what they are supposed to do in an elegant, simple form. When he uses or is exposed to a well-designed product, it can feel the goal.

A kid is never too young to learn about design. My philosophy is the sooner, the better. I surrounded my son with great design from the toys he has to the baby gears we bought for him. We bring him to museums. We exposed him to the movies by Hayao Miyazaki as a baby. Ponyo and My Neighbor Totoro are his favorite ones. We fuel its imagination by reading books. It seems to pay off when I look at his Mega Bloks or Duplo creations. Both my husband and I are amazed by the complexity of some of his creations.

A Modern Architecture Children’s Book

maison eames

My latest move was to buy him a wonderful book that teach kids about modern architecture. Toutes les maisons sont dans la nature is a children’s book that explains in very simple terms the design thinking behind 10 modern architecture masterpieces houses from 1924 to 2002. Didier Corneille’s texts are so well-written that it is also absolutely a treat to read for an adult. The drawings are appealing for kids.

maison de bordeaux

Sadly, “Toutes les maisons sont dans la nature” is only available in French. I bought my copy at the bookstore of Centre Canadien d’Architecture but unfortunately for the CCA, their Web site is poorly designed and I can’t supply you the link to the product page. Here is the link to buy it from Amazon.

+ photo credits: Hélium

  • Suzzie
    April 12, 2013 at 02:50

    This is better than keeping your toddlers do their gadgets all day, exposing them to design and architecture would be fun and meaningful compared to gaming.