Like Whitney Houston once said, “I believe the children are our future.” One company is taking this belief to heart with a platform that has not only been built for kids, but is primarily run by kids.
DIY.org is a social learning app for kids that is front-running a worldwide movement to help creative kids learn, connect, and inspire one another. The company’s founders Bhavik Rathod and Tripti Ahuja have a wealth of experience in startups, social rewards apps, and designing creative customer experiences, and unflinchingly believe in the power of a well-anchored community.
“Life has a way of sometimes lining up coincidences that steer you in directions that you later realize were probably just meant to be,” explains Rathod. “When I attended the Uber Leadership Summit in 2014, I interacted with some of the most powerful investors in the valley like Arianna Huffington, Bill Gurley, and Ashton Kutcher who were building ecosystems that were improving the lives of every individual they touched. In that room, it truly felt as if there were no limits to what could be achieved, and it really inspired me to take that big next step.”
That next step was DIY. Recognizing the untapped potential of kids’ creativity and their ability to unaffectedly think outside “the box”, Rathod and Ahuja devised an ecosystem for kids to explore creative endeavors, join a community of other kids with similar interests, and be mentored by experts in creative and technical fields. The platform they have created is one where kids can drive content, help others learn the ropes, and host events.
A Kid-Led Platform
The DIY platform encourages and equips kids to explore hobbies, creative crafts, games, and STEM topics in a community environment. It offers how-to videos, live guided workshops, and mentorships in everything from cooking to coding to cartooning. Anything a kid could possibly be into can be explored on DIY.
The kids take the lead on the platform, which sets it apart from other kid-centric apps run primarily by adults. Kids make suggestions to the platform on what should be trending and what new challenges should look like. Some kids, through participation, are elected to be Junior Moderators, helping guide the content and tone of the platform and host certain events. This makes DIY’s platform more welcoming for kids, knowing that one of their own is looking out for them and helping to manage the content they consume and the events they participate in. Through these kid-led contests, camps, and collaborative groups, kids are able to inspire, support, and even teach one another. Junior Moderators welcome every new kid and cheer them on in those early days of making a first-post, signing up for a contest, and so on. This helps ensure that kids who are new to the platform know how to use it and navigate everything that DIY.org has to offer. Kids also regularly provide feedback on the platform that has helped drive its growth and contribute to its continued relatability to kids.
“Pretty soon, our kids are going to take over DIY. Next stop: the world,” Rathod says. “They are constantly sharing their feedback and ideas on how to improve not only our platform, but the environment around them.”
Moderated 24/7 and KidSafe certified, DIY is a safe space for kids to gather, free from trolls, bullies, ads, and inappropriate content. The community aspect of DIY is what the founders revel in.
“The inspiring-others-while-getting-inspired loop on DIY is my absolute favorite thing about the platform,” says Rathod.
On the DIY.org platform, kids can earn experience points and skill badges with each new skill they learn and acquire. They can even compete in live-streamed challenges to test their new skills.
Connection, Creativity, and Education
Rathod and Ahuja believe that online learning platforms are prominent channels for growth, and this belief is foundational to the DIY.org approach. By combining improved virtual communication, a global perspective, and flexibility, kids can explore things that pique their interests and learn valuable skills at the same time.
Kids from 170+ countries have jumped on the DIY platform and connected with one another over shared hobbies and interests. Over 2 million projects have been shared, and the app hosts over 5,000 projects and DIY videos. Best of all, this curated content is offered free of charge.
“By making all of our 500+ hours of learning content free, we hope to enable more families and teachers worldwide to have awesome skill-building resources for their kids right at their fingertips,” says Ahuja.
Worry-Free Screen Time
Between gaming, virtual classes, and their phones, many parents and educators commonly worry about the amount of screen time that kids end up logging each day. However, DIY has addressed this concern while also giving kids various opportunities to bring their creativity to the real world.
“We do worry that more dependency on screens is bound to have negative repercussions,” Rathod mentions. “Unlike adults, many kids may not realize that too much of anything is never a good idea.”
DIY’s content, incentives, and community are all designed to introduce kids to engaging projects and show them how to explore their new skills in the real world. “I believe what makes DIY a little more special is that for every 10 minutes kids spend on the platform, they spend 30 minutes offline imagining, planning, and building,” says Ahuja.
Even the founders’ own child loves the platform. “Our daughter has always been the kind of kid who asks a lot of questions, and it’s wonderful to see her looking to DIY some of the answers,” says Rathod. “She works on projects, practices yoga, and films herself performing Disney musicals and doing science experiments.”
Through DIY.org, kids are learning how to lead, create, communicate, and form a worldwide community. The DIY.org platform is not only helping to educate the next generation of makers; it’s breaking down barriers and showing that all kids are creative, all kids want to learn, and all kids can take it upon themselves to build community.