What to consider when co-creating with kids
At Funday Factory, we see co-creation as a way to get as close to target audiences as possible. Co-creation helps us develop age-appropriate digital play experiences by tapping into the target group’s specific needs, competences and idea of what’s fun. In this article, we’ll share our views on co-creating with kids and the benefits to gain from the process.
The power of co-creating with kids
It makes good sense: Having kids design for kids. When developing fun, engaging games and digital experiences, it can be of great value to let kids in on the development process. Being truly creative, surprising, wild and imaginative, kids help us see the world through their eyes which is essential when designing experiences for them.
By having kids as part of the creative development process, it becomes possible to gain a lot of insights that pave the way for new ideas, feature adjustments, vision and concept alterations and anything in between.
“We co-create with kids because we learn in a really fast pace – and it’s also really inspiring to work with them.”CEO, Kristian Bang Nørgaard
What to co-create with kids
A key question that comes to mind when thinking of co-creation is: What is really co-created in a co-creative session with kids? It is not actually the final product – and maybe not a clear product-suggestion at all. Instead, it’s a collection of small ideas, playstyles, patterns and thoughts that can feed into the design process. We want to let the kids contribute to the design, and they do this just as much by letting us in on their thoughts and ideas about the product as they do with concrete game-ideas. In this way, kids become important co-creators of awesome play experiences.
How to co-create with kids
Kids are creative on a whole other level than grown-ups. They have an extremely honest relation to their wants and needs, and they will gladly contribute – if it’s fun. When co-creating with kids, we want access to their creative and unlimited way of thinking, and funnily enough we find that the best way to do so is by setting up structures and providing the kids with technical insights on what’s actually doable.
However, it’s important to remember that kids aren’t programmers or game-designers, and they can have a hard time grasping the more technical aspects behind digital content. That’s why it can be tricky to incorporate kids co-creatively in the actual digital production phase.
So - to gain the most from co-creating with kids, you should let them in on the concept phase where you can benefit from their ideas, desires, play patterns, dislikes and much more. The goal is thus to co-create on game concepts and to elaborate on insights of the product’s applicability and limits in play sessions.
When a product moves into pre-production, kids can still play an important role in influencing the final product - but here, they’ll test prototypes and help fine tune the experience.
3 practical tips on co-creating with kids
One thing is being clear about when in the overall process co-creation with kids makes the most sense. Another is how to actually do it. Our Strategy & Insights Manager, Tatiana Lyng, brings three key tips on how to co-create with kids.
”Set the scene and rules so that it’s easy for the kids to let go of their fantasy in open-ended play”Strategy & Insights Manager, Tatiana Lyng Pedersen
First of all, it is important that the kids feel safe. To feel safe means that they are given comfortable room to explore their thoughts, desires and ideas.
Secondly, it is important to make the kids feel like co-creators - and not just users or guinea pigs. To do this, Tatiana shares a very easy trick: Give the kids name tags with ‘designer’ written on them, and it’ll instantly make them feel more important to the design process.
As the final third, Tatiana emphasises that it is highly important to be well prepared. Make sure that the scene is set and the rules are clear - so the kids can unfold their fantasies and imagination in open-ended play.
And in any co-creation session, it’s important to gain the most by taking notes, observing the kids without interfering or influencing the experience too much - and to give feedback and guidance when needed. We believe that if you manage to do so, you’ll get a pure and unspoiled picture of how your digital experience or design vision can be transformed into a final product that works in the hands of the target group.