Nurturing the design thinking mindset of children through gaming

Nurturing the design thinking mindset of children through gaming


The focus on Design Thinking is rooted on research which clearly demonstrates that the competences in the core of the design thinking mindset are critical to the integral development of learners and to their success. As an educational tool, Design Thinking allows educators and learners to organize and facilitate learning experiences based on transdisciplinary approaches, supported by a project-based learning and boosting the need to incorporate and put in practice knowledge from different fields of study to deliver a shared solution to a specific problem.

When applied to learning, Design Thinking promotes the ability to use a systematic process to understand people and situations, define problems, and come up with innovative solutions. Learning through Design Thinking demands for integrated learning hands-on projects, following a design thinking process, and focusing on building empathy, promoting a bias toward action, encouraging ideation and fostering active problem solving.

By participating in this workshop, educators will learn the main phases of Design Thinking interacting with the ChangeMakers digital game and a Toolkit. The workshop will show how students can develop their empathy, problem-solving, prototyping and testing skills.  

The game is organized around a framework for building Design Thinking competences in primary school, developed by a consortium of researchers and practitioners in the field of education. The 5 phases of the game - Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test - aim to address a different set of competences, and includes key competences suggested by the European Commission.


The workshop has a duration of 2 hours.

  • The main characteristics of the Design Thinking approach will be introduced, and how this method can be applied in primary educational levels (students from 6 to 10 years old).
  • Participants will interact (individually or in groups) with the Change Makers digital game, and with a Toolkit (including paper/pencil activities). Examples of practical activities related to the 5 main phases of the Design Thinking process will be explained.
  • Before closing the session, a final reflection will be done with the participants.

The resources are free accessible and available to be used beyond the workshop.

Links to tools/resources/projects

Main goal: Interact with the ChangeMakers game and learn how to apply the Design Thinking method in primary education.

Audience: Primary school teachers

Question/s related to the workshop:

  • What if educators thought as designers?
  • Do you want to know how to apply Design Thinking in primary educational levels?
  • How to practice Design Thinking through gaming at the classroom?

Competencies/Learning Objectives:

  • Learn to learn: To organize the learning process itself and apply appropriate techniques.
  • To learn how to use a design thinking approach to address and build solutions to problems in primary education levels.
  • To learn an innovative and user friendly tool for nurturing the Design Thinking mindset that can be used in various settings.
  • To tackle the lack of transversal skills development in early age.