Parents, Educators & Engineers

Guide to Web Features for Kids

The DESIGN SQUAD GLOBAL website is a destination for creative tween and teens, promoting the message: You are creative and can solve problems. You can make things that help people. We want you to join DESIGN SQUAD GLOBAL. Let's dream big. Let's build something together.

Design

Ideas

In the Design section, kids can contribute to the safe, fully moderated online community. Kids can start a design project by sharing an idea, or contribute to an existing project by sending in a drawing. The PBS KIDS login was retired in June 2021, so children's user accounts are no longer available. They can still share their design ideas anonymously.

Global Challenges

Kids can also join a new kind of project that encourages them to design solutions to global problems, and in doing so, earn a special virtual sticker. Hosts Nate and Deysi pose each challenge and offer contextual support in the form of design tips and submission highlights, serving as mentors to the online community.

Build

The Build section features hands-on projects with short demo videos and step-by-step photo instructions. Kids can browse projects by theme, or narrow their search using the Stuff Spinner. Designed to be completed at home with common materials, these projects make building a social activity connected to interests that kids already have.

Stuff Spinner

In this interactive feature based on popular search tools found across the web, kids can choose their favorite interest (like toys and vehicles) and building materials (like balloons and cardboard), then spin the Spinner to see hands-on projects matching their choices. Kids are introduced to fresh and unexpected ideas that will encourage further exploration and deeper engagement with science topics such as force and energy, materials science, or tension and compression.

Top Builder

This section is where we're rolling out a series of special challenges that asks kids to build a small project at home and submit it to the site. The top entries will be shared with the community for a final vote, and the winner will receive a special virtual sticker.

Watch

A series of new video shorts starring hosts Nate and Deysi will hook the YouTube generation with engineering stunts, amazing do-it-yourself projects, and the chance to get their own questions answered and designs prototyped by our hosts on camera. The message is that with a little engineering know-how, you can do some amazing things. These shorts, in addition to our catalogue of full-length episodes and engineer profiles, are made available in the Watch Section. Like other areas of the website, videos are organized by themes that appeal to kids.

Games

Fidgit Power!

In this game, players design and test wind turbines to make electricity for the Fidgit characters in an environmentally responsible way. Players explore the simulated turbines to learn the basics of generating power from the wind. They also practice their engineering design process skills by revising their turbines and seeing how different attributes generate more electricity. Players get to use the electricity from their successful turbines to power buildings around the Fidgit's home town and complete fun interactions at each place: a bakery, school, toy factory, and a party at the Fidgit's home!

Feed the Fidgits!

DESIGN SQUAD's "Feed the Fidgits!" game introduces players to the design process by having them build, test, and redesign simulated systems for growing plants and fish together. In each level, the player aims to grow a certain amount of fruit or vegetables. They build structures for the plants to sprout in and adjust their designs to balance the number of fish and plants. If the plants have enough nutrients to be healthy and the water stays clean for the fish, the plants will grow, and the fruits and vegetables can be harvested. The design process has never been so yummy!

Don't Flood the Fidgits!

In this flood prevention simulation game, players explore how different building choices impact flooding at the city scale. The goal of the game is to build our fictional Fidgit characters a safe, dry city. Players will need to consider a number of factors when they build, including how real-world building materials and strategies, such as using green space to alleviate runoff from pavement and canals to help divert rainfall, impact their city's ability to withstand a series of flooding events. Players will practice their engineering design process skills as they play through a cycle of designing, flooding, and redesigning their cities on three different game boards for island, river, and peninsula cities.

Fidgits to the Rescue!

In this game, players design ways to deliver emergency supplies to our Fidgit characters after a natural disaster. Following an earthquake or hurricane, players travel through a damaged landscape with their supply truck and a flying robot, which helps them in their mission. Whenever the path is blocked, players use the design process to create and test simple tools for the robot to help clear the way and rebuild the road. With roadways and bridges rebuilt, the player's truck can keep moving and they can deliver their emergency supplies.

Blog

The blog features inspiring engineering and DIY content from across the web and around the world, with new posts added every month.

Stickers

Kids are given a set of virtual stickers which they can give out to projects and designs in the online community that have been submitted by other players (unlike their real-world versions, these virtual stickers never run out!). The goal: to encourage a virtuous cycle that gets kids to continue sharing their own ideas while cheering on others to do the same.