VIVITA is an international childrens and youth creativity accelerator and one of its studios — child friendly workshop-inventing lab, VIVISTOP is also in Estonia, Tallinn. VIVISTOP Telliskivi opened it’s doors in November 2018. Our goal is to offer children a creative environment where they can independently use different tools, materials and machines and through that turn their dashing ideas and dream projects into reality.
We wish to include and encourage children to fulfill their dreams outside the usual school environment and also inspire the passion to invent and promote the entrepreneurial mindset.
VIVITA’s activities can be divided into two:
(1) we build open makerspace facilities and invention labs for children to develop their original product ideas into working prototypes. Our studios — VIVISTOPs — as we call them — are child-friendly open workshops / invention labs where children can discover, experiment and create by themselves. In VIVISTOPs children can use various traditional handicraft tools alongside with modern digital tools and devices such as laser-cutters, CNC-routers, 3D printers, sewing machines, soldering stations, various electronic devices, child-friendly programming-and prototyping tools and much more.
(2) we develop educational technology software and hardware tools for prototyping, robotics and other creative activities;
The activities are led by children themselves and grown-up mentors in the space only play a supportive and inspirational role. This results in an environment with an atmosphere that creates organic interest toward STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) related subjects, projects and professions. Bigger idea behind this is to increase children’s confidence and help them grow into bright, smart and responsible world changers.
VIVITA regularly organises design thinking workshops for kids where the main principles of creative thinking tools and quick prototyping skills are introduced. The main goal is to familiarize children with designerly ways of thinking and to give them practical skills to implement their idea. You can get a glimpse of Design Sprint here.
Engaging in activities in VIVISTOPs is free of charge for all children to ensure equal access to the space to all young creative minds. The only precondition we set is the expectation for the child to be motivated in creating and experimenting and to be able to work self-directed. To give a child an idea of what could be done in VIVISTOP, we have created several exciting tasks through which a child can learn how to use all the machines and tools that are available in our makerspace. We call those tasks “challenge cards”.
VIVISTOP team — designers, masters, engineers and producers — each and all professionals at their own field — are there to support children and give advice on areas that may need help (i.e. technical, design or the choice of materials etc).
From late autumn of 2018 when we first opened our doors children have visited our studio more than 2800 times.
In March 2020 we moved onto a 5 times bigger space so that we could include more children and give even more power to make childrens’ dreams into reality.
Companies and VIVISTOP Telliskivi
From time to time different companies ask us about possibilities to cooperate. The interests of companies are different. There are some who wish to conduct workshops with VIVISTOP Telliskivi to understand how to make their own products and services more family friendly and child-oriented. Others wish to test what kind of projects children can make with their products or materials so that later the company could use the information in ther product development or marketing. There are also companies who want to organize workshops for their employees’ children.
To make it easier to map out ideas, there are some possibilities, that VIVISTOP Telliskivi makerspace offers:
- Woodwork hub: saw bench, bench drill, grind bench, grinding machine, jigsaw, saws, chisels, knives etc.
- Makerspace: wide tinkering area with tools, stage with audio mixer and lightning, arts area, sewing and crafting area, laser cutter and 3D printing, robotics and drones. The whole space is easily transformable into a wide auditorium.
- Innovation workshops: Workshops conducted by VIVITA team (designers, engineers, producers
- Workshops conducted by VIVITA members — ie workshops conducted by children themselves: VIVITA members are conducting workshops on different subjects, starting from arts ending with science. All the activities are also explained how and why things happen.
VIVITA international children’s’ and youth creativity accelerators network keeps on growing. Today there are VIVISTOPs also in Japan, Lithuania, South-Korea, Singapore, Philippines and USA, Hawaii.
This gives our members and partners a perfect opportunity to collaborate with children also internationally. In July 2019 we organized a summer school in VIVISTOP Telliskivi for Japanese children and in August the members of VIVITA spent a week in South-Korea, conducting workshops. Children all over the world are fluent in the language of creativity and understand each other brilliantly, no matter in which region they are born or what is their native language.
How can you help?
To make it possible for children to invent and tinker, parents and collaborators help to provide our studio with different materials and tools. Children can take home every project they make or the materials will be reused in next ones.
We teach children awareness of using different materials, including the possibility of reusing and recycling. In 2019, just before Christmas, VIVITA children decorated the cafe of Fotografiska Tallinn art center with materials from the exhibition of British photography artist Kirsty Mitchell. We used a laser cutter that children are quite comfortable with and the process itself as the result was enjoyable.
Another example of using laser cutter and leftover materials was when Stenbock house Christmas tree got a beautiful decoration, made by VIVITA children.
Children are very eager to use different leftover materials in their projects, for example pieces from Starship robots have found a new life in robots built by children. We are also collaborating with Uuskasutuskeskus, giving together a new chance to old things. Leftovers from Lincona linoleum leftovers are now covering workstations of the new VIVISTOP Telliskivi makerspace.
VIVITA is always happy to collaborate with companies who wish to contribute to increasing the possibilities for the development of children. As mentioned before, children use different materials and equipment to fulfill their dream projects. Thereby we are always ready to discuss collaboration ideas with companies who can support our cause with following items:
- wood, construction materials (plywood, laminated timber, birch, softwood, round wooden poles, screws, nuts, glues, leather, wheels, hinges,hooks, eyelets, rivets, sockets, switches, spray-paints, finishing materials for wood, grinding paper etc.)
- sewing materials, crafting materials (textiles, threads, felt, leather, filling materials, wool, fitting dummies etc)
- art making materials (paper, brushes, gouache, acrylic paints, watercolours, glue, glue sticks, washi tapes, glitter etc)
- production waste- different types of production waste, that would otherwise be sent to utlilize.
- tools — professional tools that we already may have some in our workshop but children could always use some extra so that more children could engage in activities simultaneously.
- tablets, where children can use the VIVITA software for robotics, laser cutter, stop-motion movies etc.
- laptops and desktops — where children can learn and practise different digital skills — coding, 3d modelling, data mining etc.
We are sure that it is important to teach children computers as early as possible — starting from primary school. There is no age limit in getting familiar with computers and robotics — we believe that you are never too young or too old for that.
Time and knowledge
One of VIVITA’s goals is to include a wider community to our activities and through this increase children’s opportunities to grow into responsible world changers. That is why the time and knowledge that VIVITA’s collaborators and members’ parents, grandparents share with us is invaluable. Also all those partners, awesome innovators, inspiring practitioners from different fields and volunteers who have made it their priority to share with children the most valuable they have — their skills and time.
Of course, we welcome any other ideas about materials and equipment — we are always looking for exciting projects to work on with children.
If you wish to be part of our journey, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if there is not a certain collaboration in mind, we may together end up with new and exciting solutions. Children grow up fast and by giving them in the early age the opportunity to turn their wildest fantasies into real things, then within a few years, we will already see a new generation, that can venture global projects with an awe-stricken obviosity.
Text and photos: Sigrid Kägi/VIVITA Estonia