Kids teach = kids learn
In VIVITA kids and youth accelerator, during technology-, science and creative workshops kids both learn from and teach other VIVITA members aka Vivinauts — kids aged 9–14.
School holidays are a great time to try something new and exciting, both for children, parents and all family-friendly businesses. Georg Ots Spa Hotel in Saaremaa, Kuressaare, is undoubtedly one of the most popular places in Estonia among families. GOSPA boldly says that they love everyone, big and small, spa lovers, and everyone who has even once partaken of their hospitality will probably agree with that.
A special part of what GOSPA offers is without a doubt the children’s program during school holidays, especially considering younger spa visitors. Their workshops include exciting activities such as crafts, cooking, exciting sports activities etc. While the parents are enjoying the spa pleasures, the children get to have an exciting time in the workshops.
GOSPA approached VIVITA with a proposal to bring technology, science and creativity workshops to Saaremaa during the school holidays. In order to approach the children’s program in a VIVITA-like way, we agreed that VIVITA members, aka vivinauts, could also be the facilitators of the workshops. The VIVITA team only had a supporting and technical role while conducting the workshops.
At VIVISTOP Telliskivi studio, we have repeatedly experienced how well the learning process works, when children pass on skills and knowledge to other children. Receiving information and knowledge is quite different if it is received from peers vs. authorities such as teachers, parents. Peers share similar knowledge, use of language and also challenges. Thereby, it is easier to understand what is being said. However, for a child who conducts a workshop and shares his knowledge, it is a great opportunity to consolidate knowledge and gain essential skills for the future in public speaking. It is also helpful to get a good experience in expressing his thoughts clearly at an early age. Furthermore, it’s a great way to build children’s self-confidence, showing that you don’t have to wait until adulthood to share your skills and knowledge with others.
The workshops were conducted by four vivinauts: Karolin (12), Lydia Maria (14), Heloise (12) and Olivia (10). The workshops took place with pre-registration, where ten children from the age of 8 could register for each workshop.
VIVITA inventor science workshop — Colour-changing lemonade
Vivinaut Karolin (12) has previously conducted several science workshops, one of her and other children’s favourites is the colour-changing lemonade science workshop. During the one-hour-long workshop, the participants made their own lemonade and then tried to see if the colour of the lemonade could be changed. They also learned about the theory of mixing different colour shades. What happens when you mix blue and yellow? Is there any way to get the resulting colour back to blue? But what happens when you add “a little” too much of an ingredient? All this fun experimentation was accompanied by Karolin’s explanations of why the different reactions happened and the science behind this experiment.
VIVITA inventor’s creative workshop — Anime drawing workshop
Vivinaut Lydia (14)’s passion is drawing, especially in anime style. Lydia has started to create her own video game in the VIVITA Vista program, the characters of which are all drawn by her. Drawing in anime style was also very interesting to other kids. The workshop was quickly sold out and people were even added to the waiting list. During the workshop, Lydia taught step-by-step how to draw in anime style and everyone had the possibility to create the character they wanted in their sketch book. Since the kids took the sketch books to hotel room, it was very nice to see later in the restaurant and the hotel lobby, how they continued to draw, inspired by the workshop.
VIVITA inventor’s workshop — Fun science learning by making slime
The third science workshop was making slime, which is extremely popular among children. In the workshop, participants found out what is the science behind making slime. Vivinaut Karolin started conducting slime science workshops when she was 9 years old. Today she has started her Mastermind startup in the VIVITA Vista entrepreneurship program, which aims to make science learning through DIY and experimentation interesting for children. In the workshop, the children listened with interest to what a non-Newtonian fluid is, why slime sometimes flows and the next moment breaks etc. And then, under the guidance of Karolin, a perfect slime was made, which you can play with for a long time later, and most importantly — the slime according to this recipe does not stick to the carpet, nor does it stain anything during the game! When the slimes were ready, the children came up with different challenges, trying to find out whose slime stretches the best, whose slime bounces the best, or can the slime make a parachute?
VIVITA inventor’s design workshop — Designing and making unique tote bags using a digital cutter and heat press
Vivinauts Heloise (12) and Olivia (9) are sisters who are very fond of design and sewing. Olivia has previously conducted an online workshop for other vivinauts, teaching how to easily design a birthday card for a friend in the Canva program. In the workshop at GOSPA, Olivia taught how to create a unique design in the Canva program, which can then be cut out with a digital cutter under the guidance of Heloise and pressed on a tote bag using a heat press. Using the Canva program was the first time for most of the participants, but when you are guided by someone your own age, who thinks as similarly as you, and uses familiar words, designing in the new program is easy and logical. Using a digital cutter was also something completely new for the children, and everyone waited patiently for their turn, when Heloise explained how to cut out the finished design on the tablet and then transfer it straight to the bag.
VIVITA inventor’s science workshop —a weather phenomenon in a jar
In the next workshop, vivinaut Karolin took on the weather phenomena of clouds and rain. She showed how to easily create a cloud in an ordinary glass jar, while explaining how clouds are formed. Then, together, we explored how rain starts to fall from the clouds, and in the same way, all the participants in the workshop could try it themselves and make as colourful rain in the jar as their heart desired. The weather phenomenon workshop was very popular with the children. Creating and studying clouds was tried plenty of times. Later on, the children excitedly explained to their parents why clouds form and how rain starts to fall from the clouds. It was great to see that when another child explains scientific phenomena, everything seems somehow simple and logical!
In addition to the workshops conducted by vivinauts, VIVITA designers Vera and Joonas also got to teach new work methods and technology. The principles of engineering became clearer when looking at the construction of a simple Picking Chicken. The participants learned the principle of the crankshaft. By trying to build it themselves, they understood how important attention and precision are in a simple crankshaft mechanism.
Children’s natural playfulness and creativity took on a new dimension when a mini world was created by using a vacuum press. With the help of a vacuum press and tiny 3d printed objects, the figures were completed. The completed abstract forms were filled with a plaster mixture, and when the cast plaster had dried, the individual mini-worlds were ready! Perfectly suitable for Kuressaare, where GOSPA is located.
VIVITA’s mission is to increase children’s self-confidence and courage to fantasise and teach them the skills to implement their ideas and thereby create the future they would like to live in. We believe that creativity is the foundation of future innovators, entrepreneurs and change makers. Today’s children and young people are the generation under whose leadership we will see a positive change in the future. By giving children the opportunity to take a leadership role in their own world, we will already see brave, confident and responsible young people in the coming years.
The great success of the GOSPA workshops was also made possible by the help and professionalism of the GOSPA team — the entire organisation was smooth and even minor issues were quickly resolved. Many thanks Liisi, Marju and the whole background force! We also thank Elisa Eesti, whose tablets produced various designs!
Text and photos: Sigrid Kägi, VIVITA Estonia