Crowdfunding kids: How to kickstart creativity and planning

One mom encourages her son to test crowdfunding site Kickstarter, and learns that kids are well-represented on the crowdfunding circuit.

Quin Suhay poses alongside lawn mosaics he created. He has started a campaign to raise funds to create as many numbers for Pi as he can fit into his yard.

Quin Suhay poses alongside lawn mosaics he created. He has started a campaign to raise funds to create as many numbers for Pi as he can fit into his yard. photo: Lisa Suhay

Lisa Suhay,| CS Monitor | JULY 25, 2014 – Crowdfunding has become a popular way for adults and kids to kickstart dreams in areas ranging from the arts to technology. It’s also a great way for parents to help their children realize some small dreams while teaching them about how to define and communicate their goals to others.

Our youngest son Quin, 10, who loves both math and art, was bored to tears when most of his friends packed off to summer camps we couldn’t afford.

That left me to run Camp Mom and him to think about STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) projects he might like to tackle while his friends are away.

I have been making mosaics with him and doing other art and craft projects that incorporate geometry, patterns, calculations, and creativity.

When a neighbor saw all the things we were making for our yard, she gave us plain old, round, concrete stepping stones to try and transform. I suggested that we try making mosaics of numbers to make a hopscotch board in the grass along the side of our home.

“If we’re doing something with numbers, we should do Pi instead,” Quin said. “I think we should try and challenge ourselves to make as many of the numbers in the sequence as we can possibly make.”

That would be great, but Pi is an irrational number derived from the equation for the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. So therefore, the digits of Pi are infinite.

Making mosaics requires mortar, grout, and tile or smashed up ceramics and glass. We had enough resources to afford to make only the first six digits of Pi – 3.14159.

“That’s what I call Puny Pi,” said Quin grumpily. “I could raise money like my friends did.”

After seeing two of his friends go door-to-door asking for money to “fund our dreams” I decided to give Quin a safer way to make his goal by starting his own Kickstarter campaign.

We went through the steps of setting up an account together under my name. Kickstarter allows kids to do campaigns as long as the account is set up in the parent’s name with an adult’s banking information, according to Kickstarter Communications representative Justin Kazmark.

Setting up the campaign on Kickstarter was a great exercise for Quin because it entailed writing a short bio and mission statement, and clearly outlining his goal. He also had to speak on camera to make a video, which meant verbally communicating his goals.

We even did a little research by looking at campaigns by other kids and adults to see if we could detect a pattern that led to success.

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