[Special Issue] The Lifelong Kindergarten: Engaging People in Creative Learning Experiences

Editor: LI Ruixuan



The Lifelong Kindergarten group develops technologies, activities, and communities to engage young people, from all backgrounds, in creative learning experiences, so they can develop their thinking, their voices, and their identities. The group is deeply committed to bringing about change in the world and improving the lives of young people, especially those from communities that face systemic inequities and injustices.

In his book Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play, the Director of the Lifelong Kindergarten, Mitchel Resnick, presents that the creative learning kindergartners exude as a spiral that follows the acts of imagining, creating, playing, sharing, and reflecting. The ultimate message is that creative thinking can be carried into aspects of our lives as learners beyond that playful, joyful, but all-too-brief kindergarten school year.

The group is operated at the MIT Media Lab, developing new technologies and strategies for cultivating creative learning. Its approach is based on four guiding principles:

Projects: To learn best when actively working on projects - generating new ideas, designing prototypes, making improvements, and creating final products.

Passion: When focusing on things one cares about, working longer and harder, persisting in the face of challenges, and learning more in the process.

Peers: Learning flourishes as a social activity, with people sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, and building on one another's work.

Play: Learning involves playful experimentation - trying new things, tinkering with materials, testing boundaries, taking risks, iterating again and again.

They apply these principles to their own work within the Media Lab, sparking creativity and innovation in the research. And they share their creative-learning ideas and technologies outside of the Lab, to help others engage in Media Lab-style learning.The group’s goal: to enable everyone everywhere to learn creatively - Preparing themselves and others for life in tomorrow's rapidly-changing world.

Selected Projects


Scratch is the world's most popular coding community for kids.  Over the past decade, millions of kids around the world are using Scratch to program their own interactive stories, games, and animations—and share their creations in an active online community. In the process, they are learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively, while also learning important mathematical and computational ideas. This outpouring of creativity inspires the team to continue to extend and improve Scratch so that kids everywhere have new opportunities to express themselves creatively with new technologies.


[To help kids get started with Scratch, there is a new collection of tutorials and “how-to” videos. Credit: Scratch team/MIT Media Lab]

Whether you’re just getting started or looking for inspiration, the website includes tutorials for everyone. Animate a character, make music, or create an adventure game with Cartoon Network characters. You can find more activities and full coding curricula from Raspberry Pi Code Club, Google CS First, and the ScratchEd Creative Computing Curriculum Guide.

With Scratch extensions, you can keep adding new coding blocks to Scratch. The library of extensions will continue to grow over time, expanding what you can create with Scratch.


[In Scratch 3.0, you can add collections of extra blocks called “extensions” that enable you to do more with Scratch. Credit: Scratch team/MIT Media Lab]

Scratch has always been more than a coding platform. What makes Scratch special is the global community of kids, educators, families, and organizations who are creating and sharing projects, developing tutorials and resources, and hosting in-person events, workshops, and conferences.

Scratch On!


Learning Creative Learning

Learning Creative Learning is an online course and community of educators, designers, technologists, and tinkerers exploring creative learning. Participants create hands-on projects based on their interests, explore new technologies, and share ideas with peers from all over the world.

The course is free and open to everyone. Materials are translated into several languages and are always available on the course website. Participants can explore the materials at their own pace at any time or participate with a cohort when a new round is offered.

5-global community of LCL

[The global community of Learning Creative Learning.]

Unlike a traditional MOOC, the course emphasizes collaboration over instruction; the goal is to foster the same environment of creative learning that it is teaching to participants. While Learning Creative Learning is open for anyone to join, the focus is on education—on cultivating kids’ creativity in a learning environment.  There are currently 12,000 people signed up, from more than 50 countries. The course is being led by Mitch Resnick, head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group, recent grad Carmelo Presicce, and learning resources developer Moran Tsur. They will lead the community in readings, hands-on activities, and videos while providing the participants with opportunities to work on independent and collaborative projects.

The Clubhouse Network

The Clubhouse Network provides a creative and safe out-of-school learning environment where young people from underserved communities around the world work with adult mentors to explore their own ideas, develop new skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology.

[The Clubhouse Network]

The first Clubhouse was established in 1993, as a collaboration between the Lifelong Kindergarten group and The Computer Museum (now part of the Boston Museum of Science). Four guiding principles were created to empower youth from all backgrounds to become more capable, creative, and confident learners. The four principles are: learning by designing, following one's interests, building a community, and fostering respect and trust.  Since then, the network has expanded to more than 100 centers in 19 countries, serving more than 25,000 young people annually.

The Lifelong Kindergarten group continues to develop new technologies, introduce new educational approaches, and lead professional development workshops for Clubhouses around the world.

Project Octopus

Project Octopus is a new way to make collaborative Scratch projects. Based on technologies developed for the Scratch programming language, Project Octopus allows makers to capture an object from the physical world (e.g., a character made out of craft materials or a hand-drawn creature), program the object using Scratch blocks, and then send the programmed object to a collective canvas hosted on a public webserver.

Multiple makers can capture, code, and share simultaneously, allowing large groups of people to work on the same project together in real-time.

Project Octopus is designed for large-scale collaborations in settings such as museums, outdoor spaces, and virtual online gatherings. It is a collaboration between researchers at Lifelong Kindergarten and colleagues at the Tinkering Studio, Exploratorium, San Francisco.

Project UNArt 2020 #06:Imagine-Create 2021.10.01-2022.01.10
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