It’s not every day that children and their parents are equally engaged by art and design. Most of the time, the subjects are either simplified for kids (and therefore rendered uninteresting to grown ups), or too sophisticated to be more than superficially understood by youngsters (who, it must be said, can’t be faulted for their lack of experience).
The brand-new EDIT Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology is undeniably high-minded in its aims and ambitious in its execution, but amidst installations, workshops and discussions on everything from food security to sustainable cities, there are also a surprising number of unique, design-oriented things to see and do for kids and families. Running from September 28 to October 8, the massive event has been set up at Toronto’s East Harbour by the Design Exchange, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme. It’s a great opportunity for kids to discover new interests and learn new skills—in computer coding, industrial design and even the culinary arts.
With the ubiquity of seemingly “magical” technology in modern life, it’s no wonder children are interested. EDIT’S Microsoft Hacking STEM classroom is designed to engage young science-, tech-, engineering- and math-curious kids with a variety of activities—like hacking Hot Wheels cars to learn about physics, creating a robotic hand using household items, and making a temperature sensor to better understand chemistry.
Likewise, ACTUA’s Innovation Station offers a fun first-hand look at the tools and technologies used by innovators seeking to make the world a better place. Learn the basics of coding by playing with Ozobots and experimenting with Scratch, turn objects into musical instruments with Makey Makey, build your own LittleBits robot, and lots more!
If all that seems a bit too “grounded” for your budding technophile, a visit to the Drone Zone should satisfy. There, kids have the chance to fly a simulator alongside a certified drone pilot, and see how the technology is being used to help remote communities around the world.
Does it seem like your kids are constantly destroying things around the house? Maybe they just want to see how those things work. EDIT’s Build-a-Bicycle workshops put busy hands to work by teaching children how to take apart and build a bike, while helping them grasp the complex interplay of bicycle parts and learn the basics of bike maintenance.
Design get even more imaginative (and sustainable) thanks to science educator Arvind Gupta’s project, Toys from Trash, which teaches children how to create simple toys out of everyday items—all while they learn mathematical and scientific concepts through play.
To discover innovative design on a larger scale, look no further than Mickey Mouse’s Home of the Future, a fully function house inspired by the beloved Disney character—and made using shipping containers. The project is the result of an OCAD University competition that challenged students to envision a sustainable, eco-friendly version of Mickey’s house.
Have a young budding chef in your household? They’ll love participating in a cooking class with acclaimed chef Cory Vitiello. He’ll be teaching kids age 4 to 12 about local and sustainable ingredients—and introducing some that kids may not have even heard of—before hosting friendly cooking contest.
Families can also get familiar with the new frontier of sustainable food by checking out Bug Snacks—like peanuts and cricket jacks, cricket and chicken McNuggets, and cricket corn dogs. The idea of eating insects may be off-putting, but their abundance (and high protein count) makes them a surprisingly tasty choice for environmentally friendly eating in the future.
And if your family wants to do its part to fight food waste, find a seat at the Feeding 5,000 dinner, hosted by the Food Network’s Bob Blumer. The Thanksgiving feast—and concluding EDIT event—attempts to shine a light on the trouble of global food waste by presenting a meal made from food products that would have been otherwise been thrown out.
Check out EDIT’s 50 exhibits, 40 workshops and 125 speakers at 21 Don Roadway in Toronto. An adult day pass costs $15; students/seniors $10; children 12 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult.