So there I was sitting nervously, on what seemed to be the tiniest chair ever, waiting for the attendees to arrive. My visual aids were solid, but I had no idea what I was actually going to say. I kept reminding myself it’s only 15 minutes, and if you talk for 10, they can ask questions for the last 5. Then suddenly, there were 30 pairs of little people eyeballs staring up at me ready to eat up every word that left my mouth…
Friday was such a fun day for me. It was Career Day in my son’s kindergarten classroom, and I was invited to come speak about my job. I was so excited to share how I created my own job, which started as a hobby (aka this blog), and has turned into a business I love. As much as I love talking about Teal & Lime, I was still a bit nervous. Sometimes 5-year olds can be hard to keep engaged.
I knew strong visual aids would be key to keeping them engaged and sharing my rather visual business. I created 3 simple visual aids to teach the kids what I do as a blogger and decorator.
Blog Visual Aid
The first visual aid was designed to connect with the kids and have a wow moment. And, I got the wow! Nothing beats 30 kindergartens jaws dropping. Throughout the year, they have been creating journaling pages, where they draw a picture and write a sentence. I explained to them that my career started as a hobby with my blog, aka online journal. This helped me make a connection with them.
For the wow factor, I printed the first 10 pages of my blog. I taped them all together and rolled it up from the bottom, clipping the roll at the bottom of the first page. I introduced them to my blog showing them the first printed page. I explained unlike a journal where you flip through the pages like a book, on a blog you scroll to see more stories. I told them I wrote in my journal over 400 times in the last two years. Then, I had my son undo the clips letting the blog roll out before the kids. They gasped! It was exciting for them to think of a journal that goes on and on.
Mood Board Samples
My second visual aid was to introduce them to the business side of Teal & Lime. I wanted to somehow bring my portfolio to life. I printed 8 x 10 images of four client mood boards and mounted them to black foam core. I carefully selected the images that would allow me to share a brief story with the kids.
1. Teal & Olive Living Room – The first board I showed them, explaining it has my favorite colors.
2. Bold & Happy Living Room – I told them the story about how the mom had adopted her son from Africa and they could see the art print of Africa in the corner. They spent the past year learning all about the continents, so this was a hit.
3. Coral Crush Home Office – I explained this room was for a mommy who works at home as a photographer and she has two little boys. I pointed out the play table and poufs I added for a little play space in the mommy’s office.
4. Little Man Cave Playroom – I knew would be a hit with the boys. I told them I created it for 3 brothers who loved hockey.
While I finished my talk, I let the kids pass around and look at the mood boards. They all wanted to see each one.
Giant Mood Board Visual Aid
My last visual aid helped quiet the rustling over trying to see all the mood boards, when I told them I would show them how I create a mood board. To create this visual aid, I painted a piece of foam core with one of our leftover paint colors. I clipped it to a large drawing board. I brought along fabric swatches, paint chips, a scrap of rug from my recent rug ottoman project, and some catalog clippings of furniture and decor. I laminated the catalog clippings to make them easier to handle.
I explained my design process while pinning things to the board. I told them I like to start by choosing a color palette, as I pinned two paint chips to the board and showed them one of my paint decks. Then, I like to select a rug for the room, as I pinned the rug sample to the board. Next, I choose furniture for the room, as I pinned furniture images to the board. Then, I add in fabrics. I pinned a large swatch explaining it was the fabric I would use for curtains. I added a few smaller swatches for pillow fabrics. Lastly, I add in the decor, which I explained was art, lamps, decorative objects, as I pinned images of decor to the board. Once the board was complete, I told them this is what I give to my clients so they can decorate their room.
Although they did not create the giant mood board, it was still interactive as they watched me create it layer by layer.
Mood Board Activity Sheet
I finished with a crowd-pleaser…an activity packet to take home. I wanted to give them each a worksheet where they could create their own mood board. I made a mood board sheet. I also made a page filled with different furniture and decor options for a bedroom, which I drew by hand. My mom helped me cut up little pieces of fabric and paint chips to include with each packet. The kids can color the furniture sheet, cut out their favorites, and add them to the mood board. They can glue their favorite fabrics and paint colors to the mood board, too. My son spent almost an hour quietly creating his the other day.
That short 15 minutes was the highlight of my week. Not only did I get to spend time with my son in the classroom before the school year ends, but I got to teach 30 little people something new. It was awesome to see how easy it was to relate to them and get them interested in design. I hope I have the opportunity to speak at more career days in the future!
By the way, I am 5’10”. That chair, appropriately labeled “chair”, is the tiniest chair I have ever sat in. I sit down and my knees are up to my chest. The table next to it was pretty tiny, too. When I stood to pin stuff on the mood board I kind of felt like Alice in Wonderland after eating the cake. Not complaining though…I love being tall and wearing flats whenever I want.