When my better half and I decided to make video shorts of me molding tiny, fake foods from play dough, it was to entertain and inspire preschoolers. Our eldest was four and our youngest was one. Fast-forward five years and each of them has earned the title, craftologist (one who makes things). The dough is still in the picture, but cardboard boxes, food packaging, plastic bottles, and other disposable materials take center-stage. Our one-to-three-minute shorts have morphed into a half-hour tv show on AIB Network called Craft Your Imagination for Kids.
While our vision for the show is to spark ideas and encourage solutions, our mission is to inspire viewers of all ages to transform things they might normally throw away into useful, fun gadgets that they’ll want to keep. We also want to encourage viewers to minimize their carbon footprint while they gain a basic, real-life understanding of science, technology, engineering, art, and math and foster a spirit of inclusivity.
Cultivating Love for Our Planet and Environmental Awareness
Disposable plastics, papers and metals, and old textiles are simple, cost-free building blocks for new and complex creations but are often disregarded as such and discarded, only to end up in landfills and take years to decompose while harming our environment in the process. Craft Your Imagination for Kids teaches viewers the value of the three Rs. By intercepting useful objects before they get thrown away, a viewer will reduce what their household sends to a landfill. By creating something new and useful from that intercepted item, that viewer reuses and recycles it. CYIK’s process not only highlights the value of nurturing the environment from a humanitarian standpoint but also exemplifies the personal reward that comes from building something useful with one’s own two hands.
Giving Young Creators More STEAM
While art is the main premise of our show, elements of science, technology, engineering, and math play a major role in the series. In season one, the craftologists and I dabble in everything from botanical science when we use an egg carton as a seed starter, to geometry, when we use compasses to make and mark the focus and radius of circles we use to make fairy houses from paper towel and toilet paper rolls.
Moreover, technology and engineering are underlying staples of the series. In every episode, we use our critical thinking skills to adapt common disposable items into useful gadgets.
A 2016 study performed by Statista.com declared that 74.5% of the roles on cable scripted programs were cast to white actors. Out of the 25.4% of the roles portrayed by people of color, only 13.3% of those roles were occupied by Black actors.
Another study conducted by the National Research Group showed that 2 in 3 Black Americans say they don’t see themselves or their culture represented in movies or television, with 86% of Black Americans wanting to see more representation on screens.
As artisans who bring ideas to life on camera, we hope to exemplify common but rarely celebrated positive models of black life in areas of creativity, innovation, and family dynamics in reality roles in which Black people are rarely cast on American television.
Young viewers who watch the show get to receive a fun, engaging, and informative message from personalities who bring representation to the forefront. This can potentially broaden what some young black and brown viewers believe their career paths can be and bridge a gap between an intangible perspective and a graspable aspiration.
Craft Your Imagination for Kids airs on Mondays at 4:30 pm on AIB Network on Comcast Cable (channel 295), AT&T U-verse (channel 6) in the greater metro Atlanta area, and worldwide Live Streaming.