Design Ah!


TV programming that teaches kids design basics in an innovative way.

As a youth in the early ’90s, I spent two years in Japan. It was an incredible place to be a kid, extremely safe with loads of weekly activities and celebrations that made it never-ending fun. I only have two regrets: that this show, Design Ah, didn’t exist when I was little and that I don’t live there now to endlessly watch it.

Design Ah was conceived by NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting network. On Saturday mornings when their American counterparts are busy watching SpongeBob SquarePants, Japanese kids are learning about design thinking, seeing how everyday objects are constructed, and listening to delightful songs about geometric shapes. There’s very little text in each episode so all videos are easily accessible to preschoolers and enjoyable all the way up to adults.

Unfortunately, this show is only broadcast in Japan. But we raided YouTube for videos and found a couple favorites. Until we can find a DVD of all the episodes, you can enjoy playing the Design Ah theme-song game by drawing the ah symbol on the screen.