Learning in the Making: Design

Looking for something fun to make at home? Each week we are collecting and curating resources around a topic and this week is design thinking. We are focusing on designing with what you have around the house. Here’s some inspiration to get you started!

“Coming up with an idea is easy. Coming up with the right one takes work. With design thinking, throwing out what you think you know and starting from scratch opens up all kinds of possibilities.” Read Design Thinking, Explained by MIT or watch this video by Sprouts to get up to speed on the basics of the design thinking process.

Follow along with us as we discuss the design process in order to design, build, and test a prototype for your dream shoes using a variety of household materials.

We are so excited to support hands-on learning as educators, caregivers, and young learners shift to distance learning, and we need your support! Donate today so we can keep going. 

Download the project guides below: 

Learning in the Making: Shoe Design Challenge
Project Guide in English
Hacer Para Aprender: Desafío de diseño de zapatos
Guía de proyecto en Español


We’ll be using common household items for this maker design challenge. Whatever you have will work, but here are some ideas of things to look for and gather from around your house.

Suggested supplies:

  • Planning supplies: paper, pencil, markers, crayons
  • Base material: cardboard, construction paper, felt, fabric
  • Structural support: Chenille stems (pipe cleaners), craft sticks, straws, twist-ties, paper clips
  • Connecting materials: tape, yarn, hot glue gun, glue sticks
  • Decorating materials: pom poms, ribbon, yarn, markers

Similar Projects:

Looking for additional inspiration? Check out these ideas:

  • Caine’s Cardboard Arcade: Watch nine year old Caine talk about and show off the Cardboard Arcade he built in his father’s shop.
  • Tech for Global Good: Introduce young people to the world’s top innovators, then encourage them to tackle the toughest challenges facing our planet.
  • Family Maker Camp encourages making and hands-on learning at home. Making is fun and engaging for kids as well as adults.

We want to see your projects! After the livestream, we encourage you to post your engineering activity on Twitter or Instagram. Tag us @MakerEdOrg with #MakerEdAtHome and #ShoeDesignChallenge.

Learning in the Making: LIVE! is an online video series designed to support educators and families with accessible hands-on learning experiences. This work is part of our focus on supporting remote learning in various environments. (To learn more, read this blog post about our work during shelter-in-place measures in 2020.) 

Each week, we are hosting a live making activity on our YouTube channel and sharing related resources on our blog. 


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