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Generation of modern engineers: how 3D printing is nurturing kids' creativity

September 16th, 2014


Generation of modern engineers: how 3D printing is nurturing kids' creativity

When you look into the future, what do you see? Super smart technologies, robotics, smart living and most certainly – 3D printing. Our kids will live in a completely new world, so our job is to make their transition as smooth as possible. We have talked extensively about the ways that 3D printing is changing the world, leaving no spheres of life untouched – education and children’s market being no exception. What potential does 3D printing offer in creating new experiences for children? Endless. Read on.

Toys with a voice

Is your kid obsessed with Disney movie characters, Marvel or book heroes? Do you have to spend your Saturdays walking the aisles of supermarkets, searching for the right action figures? What if we tell you that there is another way now? Let your kids choose from hundreds of unique 3D models online or even get them contribute to creating new ones, and have the action figures delivered to your door. The majority of parents worry about the yet unknown long-term impact that technology is making on children. However, researchers agree that “ play is a remarkably creative process that fosters emotional health, imagination, original thinking, problem solving, critical thinking, and self-regulation” and 3D printing adds an extra layer of creativity to the whole process by providing kids the chance to create their own toys that they can later use in their play scenarios.Or perhaps you’re a 3D designer, looking for new opportunities? Then keep tabs on this trend – it’s likely to be big in no time, as the era of mass personalization is dawning on us.

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Give them more

Some kindergartners are more tech-savvy than their parents. They’re growing surrounded by technologies and 3D-printed objects will be part of their life when they’re adults.

According to NPD Group , children between 2 and 12 use a mobile device an average of five days each week, with an average session lasting just under an hour. The growing body of research also shows that children’s frequent exposure to technologies is actually wiring their brains differently compared to previous generations. Attention, information overload, decision-making and memory/learning are the areas that technology has the greatest influence on. Some worry that technology is making children less intelligent, but on the contrary, research shows that exposed to computer technology, coupled with suitable off-computer activities, children “show gains in intelligence, non-verbal skills, long-term memory, and manual dexterity and improve their scores in verbal, problem-solving, and conceptual skills”.

Encouraging children’s technological intelligence rather than denying its importance would be a logical move, since they were born into a world where technology is an integral part of their daily life.

Why not let them experiment while they’re most creative and not afraid to fail? 3D printing can help kids develop specific skills very early in age ( children as young as 3 years old can intuitively use tablets ) – design, interior, engineering, various crafts, let alone the basic skills like problem solving, critical thinking, creative skills, etc. The potential is endless. You can download numerous educational apps (or software) like Monstermatic, Blokify, PotteryPrint, Tinkercad or Maker’s Empire to let your kids experience the magic of 3D printing and further advance their skills.

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3D-printed vintage-inspired rockets from MakerBot

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3D-printed customizable Modarri car

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Fun and easy to use, Maker's Empire software is designed for tablets (iPad/Android/Windows) and can be used in the classroom or on the go.

Fueling kids’ creativity

Giving your kids a chance to turn their playful sketches into real figurines can make a big difference developing their sense of aesthetics and boosting their creativity. It is widely agreed that we learn through our senses, “ primarily through our visual system which accounts for 80% of what we process ”. The experts also agree that digital world requires a lot of different skills, visual skills being among the key ones. Learning through play is becoming more popular, as it helps to improve learning outcomes and bring arts and creativity into schools and home. Perhaps that’s why educators around the world are advocating so passionately for educational digital games for children.

Sure, drawing or building are still exciting, but 3D printing takes the experience to a whole new level. Crayon Creatures is a service to turn children’s drawings into figurines, so instead of sticking one beautifully weird artwork to your fridge, you are now able to turn it into a nice-looking designer object to decorate your living room. Doodle3D WiFi-Box is also a great tool. It connects your 3D printer wirelessly to your laptop, computer, tablet or smart-phone, making your 3D printer as accessible as a sheet of paper without needing any knowledge of difficult 3D design programs. Soon you’ll have to adopt a new phrase: “If you want a new toy, print it!” And the children will love it, too.

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Crayon Creatures is a service to turn children’s drawings into figurines

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Doodle3D WiFi-Box is a software that connects your 3D printer to your tablet, smartphone or laptop.


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