My Big Idea: Empowering Young Minds to Shape Their Community’s Future 

On a bright and bustling Saturday, the Institute of Imagination, in collaboration with the LEGO Group and with the support of Zappar, hosted the much anticipated “My Big Idea: A Children’s Showcase” event at Clapham Library in Lambeth. This event was a platform for young minds aged 13 and under to express their imaginative ideas on how technology can improve their local community. With an impressive turnout of 69 children and 54 adults, the event was a resounding success, leaving participants and iOi staff alike inspired and amazed at the creativity and vision displayed.  

All participants were delighted to receive a special goody bag that included an Imagination Box, a Zapbox, and an assortment of LEGO. These valuable resources acted as catalysts, igniting the participants’ imagination and fueling their passion for innovation. 

The event in Lambeth created an engaging and supportive environment, offering children an array of stimulating activities and opportunities for growth. From the outset, the event aimed to foster a sense of empowerment and community engagement among the young participants. And it delivered on that promise. 

One of the most significant outcomes of the event was the boost in confidence that children experienced. The opportunity to present their ideas and receive recognition for their creativity instilled a newfound self-assurance in each participant. This enhanced confidence will undoubtedly serve them well as they continue to develop their ideas and navigate future challenges. Creativity, the lifeblood of innovation, flourished throughout the event. The children were encouraged to think outside the box, explore novel solutions, and reimagine their community through the lens of technology. This nurturing environment allowed their ideas to flow freely, empowering them to become imaginative problem solvers and change-makers. 

Diverse Participation and Engaging Activities:

The My Big Idea event attracted a diverse group of attendees, with children ranging in age from 2 to 12 years old. The most common age among the participants was 7 years old. The event witnessed an approximate gender breakdown of 44% girls and 56% boys, showcasing a balanced representation of young innovators. Moreover, most attendees, 70%, hailed from the Lambeth community, highlighting the local engagement and impact of the event. Remarkably, 40% of the event’s attendees identified themselves as low-income families, indicating the accessibility and inclusivity of the event. Our commitment to providing opportunities for all children, regardless of socioeconomic background, was evident in the event’s success. 

Captivating Activities and Positive Feedback: 

The event offered a range of engaging activities that captivated the young participants. Junk modelling, a popular activity at the event, received rave reviews, with 94% of participants rating it as “very good” and the remaining 6% rating it as “good.” This hands-on creative exercise allowed children to repurpose everyday objects into imaginative works of art, fostering resourcefulness and environmental awareness. 

The CoSpaces and Zapboxes activity, utilising mixed reality headsets, impressed 88% of participants, who rated it as “very good.”  This activity opened up new dimensions of imagination and technology, allowing children to explore virtual worlds and engage with immersive experiences. 

The LEGO activities, a perennial favourite among young creators, received positive feedback as well, with 80% of participants rating them as “very good” and the remaining 20% rating them as “good.” These activities fostered collaboration, problem-solving, and spatial reasoning skills, promoting creativity and critical thinking. 

The Children’s Showcase, the highlight of the event, received praise from 81% of participants who rated it as “very good,” while 19% rated it as “good.” This platform allowed children to present their ideas to an attentive audience, encouraging public speaking and boosting confidence. 

Parents were delighted to witness the positive impact that My Big Idea had on their children. Here are some of the key learning parents mentioned their children gained from the event in Lambeth: 

  • Confidence: Many parents noticed a boost in their children’s confidence as they had the opportunity to showcase their ideas and receive recognition for their creativity. 
  • Inclusion: The event fostered a sense of inclusion among the children, allowing them to interact with peers from diverse backgrounds and collaborate on projects. 
  • Fine Motor Skills: Engaging in activities like LEGO building and junk modelling helped children enhance their fine motor skills, developing their hand-eye coordination and dexterity. 
  • Fun: Parents highlighted the enjoyment their children experienced throughout the event, indicating that the activities and overall atmosphere created a fun and engaging environment. 
  • Creativity: My Big Idea sparked the creative thinking of the children, inspiring them to think outside the box and explore innovative solutions to improve their local community. 
  • Understanding the World and Technology: Through the event, children gained a deeper understanding of the role technology can play in addressing community needs. They were able to explore the possibilities and potential applications of technology in a real-world context. 
  • Knowing They Can Create Their Own World: Participating in the event allowed children to realize that they have the power to shape their own world through their ideas and inventions. 
  • Learning from Others: Interacting with fellow participants and hearing their ideas provided children with a valuable learning experience. They were exposed to different perspectives and learned from the innovative ideas of their peers. 
  • A Different Angle on the World’s Needs and Ideas: My Big Idea encouraged children to think critically about the needs of their community and how their ideas could address those needs. It broadened their perspective and allowed them to consider unconventional approaches to problem-solving. 

Planning is underway for My Big Idea in Newham, so keep your eyes and ears open at libraries near you!  

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