A Plug and Play T-Shirt Designed to Boost Creativity in Kids
A few years ago, I sat down to make a birthday gift for my little friend Charlie who was turning four. As the boss of my own graphic design business, I spend not only entire days sitting in front of a computer, but also too much time worrying about serious grown-up things like strategic planning, budgets, and making the right decision. So sitting down to play with something—whether it's fabric or vegetables—is something I really love and crave in my life. I try to not only have a bit of fun and take my mind off all the things I get worked up about each day, but also remind myself that in those moments of play, when it doesn't matter what the outcome is—real magic happens. Magic that impacts the course of all that "serious" business.
So when this sweet little idea emerged during my afternoon crafting session—a button holding a stack of felt shapes on the front of a baby T-shirt—it seemed a little bit silly, but mostly really great. That little stack could be a sandwich, a flower, sushi, a dump truck, a monster, ice cream, ANYTHING! And it turned out to be a hit. Charlie loved taking this first prototype apart and putting it back together—and whatever combination she made, she got to wear it around all day too. So I made another one, and another, and another until I had a whole bunch of different designs.
The Itty Bitty Project was born.
At my studio and other kids' birthday parties, I loved watching what kids would do with all the pieces. I saw two little friends putting their tees together side-by-side, swapping bits and coming up with their own ingenious combinations. They were certain that eyeballs belonged in outer space. An aspiring chef even asked his mom, “Can I have bacon and egg on my pizza?”
When a friend's three-year-old got her Itty Bitty Monster T-shirt, she instantly named it Shiny and had an extensive conversation with it, as it hung on the towel rack during her bath time.