"Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important."
— Bill Gates
Growing up in the 80s and 90s, we had little access to the latest technological wonders. We rarely saw real-life personal computers, didn't have Internet, mobile, or even landline, and ubiquitous smartphones with thousands of apps were a far-far away future that only existed in books and movies.
Today's kids are born straight into the digital age. From the earliest childhood, they are exposed to tech so advanced that not all adults understand it. They grow and learn faster. They are often on social media before their first grade. Digital tools we were awed by in our time are just a mundane routine to them. In my nephew's generation, this was about kids having a smartphone or a tablet.
I don't have kids myself. And although I consulted heavily with many parents when working on this study, I am not (and don't want to be) in the place to advise about a child's upbringing. Instead, this article is a collection of ideas about how kids may use Midjourney to learn, play and communicate with the world and how their parents can help them in the process. I hope these examples will inspire you and give you the base to build upon.
I asked a 4-year-old friend's kid to play an imagination game with me. He described a scene (loosely based on his impressions from Goodnight, Moon ;)), and I translated his words into prompts and visualized his fantasies in different styles, enriching his storytelling with vibrant pictures and encouraging him to compare his vision with what came out, and then adjusting the prompt (with parents help and my assistance) to shift the result closer and closer to what he imagined!
After the game ended, while looking at all images together, he quietly said, "So it turns out I am... like... artist?!" I immediately confirmed that he, indeed, is.
My other friends' daughters are 3 and 5, and each has their favorite bedtime stories. But one story—about a catling getting on various adventures—stood out for both of them. This wasn't some famous book but a bedtime story that mothers in the family told their children for generations. I asked the kids what this little cat looked like, and they both gave me their descriptions:
Both girls went crazy when they saw their favorite character in lovely, lively pictures. Their versions differed drastically, and naturally, they couldn't agree on which one was the best. However, they were both happy to have a beloved character of their own design! , and a more teenage-style, cooler-looking (and brave!) cat for the elder. ^___^
P.S. The younger one saw this image where Midjourney missed the prompt (I specifically asked for a cat but got a pink-tailed girl instead), and she immediately recognized herself in the picture!
Another idea about mindfully entertaining preschoolers with the help of Midjourey was to generate a set of images to illustrate a nursery rhyme. The obvious goal here is to help children connect words and pictures, understand simple concepts, and enrich their listening experience with the visual one.
And when you separate verses, it works even better!
The next crucial aspect I wanted to explore with this study was educating preschoolers in an involving manner.
Naturally, the first idea that comes to mind is rendering bright and attractive alphabet pictures. Imagine the incredible possibilities of creating highly customized, personalized alphabet cards (or full posters!) aimed specifically at your kid's individualities.
Midjourney is infamously challenging when you want to add text to your generation. It sometimes takes many attempts to get even a small part of the letters you wish for right.
The good news is that it becomes better when you prompt one letter at a time. The bad news: Midjourney doesn't seem to know a significant part of the alphabet. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ And some letters are more difficult than others.
Here are some tips and tricks that I discovered while working on this study that will help you generate a perfect alphabet:
You can overwhelm some trickier letters (G, E, F, H, Q, L, M, P, W, Y—MJ regularly confuses them with similarily-looking symbols) with re-rolls. At one point, MJ will bring you what you prompted (as at least one variation of four).
Throughout my experiments, I saw some styles incapable of rendering certain letters. Changing an artist, technique, or genre helps with that.
There are letters that Midjourney simply refuses to recognize (I, J, T). For those—use Image Prompts: find a letter somewhat close to what you want on Google Images, copy its URL (image address), and paste it to Midjourney along with a text prompt part. Voila!
In the latter case, you can affect the result dramatically by picking the right initial image. You need floral patterns in your letter T? Google for "letter T floral texture." Going for a cyberpunk-themed I? Look up "futuristic letter I," and so on.
Or you can make your own symbols in a graphic editor like Photoshop or GIMP. Note that your every choice changes the outcome: which font to use, how much space a glyph takes inside the frame, and whether it is colorful or monochromatic. Dark background or bright? Clean colors or patterns?
There are excitingly many ways to get the exact results you want and build a highly personalized and unique alphabet.
For this experiment, I messaged yet another parent-friend of mine and asked him about his four-year-old's interests and hobbies. It turned out the little guy is obsessed with birds and birdwatching—and here comes our theme!
And then if we think beyond just the alphabet—it's a countless number of unique combinations of any symbols. Personalized posters and postcards, one-of-a-kind room labels, or wall decorations. And after spending some desperate time fighting for every second glyph—I kind of started to like the challenge here. So stay tuned for Midlibrary Font! ;)
Numbers in Midjourney are challenging in the same way as the alphabet. For instance, MJ has significant difficulties rendering "1", and often confuses "7" with "Z" or "2," "8" with "9," and so on.
The trick is to be persistent, try different styles, vary your prompt formula, and --stylize value. The correct numbers will eventually come up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Print those as cards (we have a study on Upscaling AI-art for high-quality printing)—and you'll turn math problems into a cool card game!
HINT: Collect the "misfires" — you wanted a 7 but got a 2? Save the 2! You'll need it anyways. And if you ask Midjourney for a 2 next time, you might get a 7 in return, so grasp the opportunity. ;)
The signs situation in Midjourney is grim. I used Image Prompts for all of the math signs in this example. But it was totally worth the effort—look at those math problems!
As with the alphabet, you can assemble whole sets of digits and symbols for many ever-unique-looking math problems. If you are stubborn enough, that is. :)
There are, for sure, hundreds more examples, ideas, and approaches to how Midjourney can make learning more fun, captivating, and enriching. Still, I will stop here, hoping these cases will fuel your imagination and show our endless creative possibilities in these extraordinary times.
The third and final side of using Midjourney for kids is social interactions, general knowledge about the world, and learning the concepts of diversity, inclusion, and equality.
Even not a parent, I realize the meaning of trusting, intimate and sincere communication between kids and their parents regarding sensitive topics or complex concepts. But wouldn't it be great to support these conversations with colorful, visually attractive illustrations—for more accessible explanation and to keep children more focused and involved?
Not even trying to be an expert, I want to just touch a few ideas of how Midjourney can create visual assistance in challenging parent's responsibilities.
In all these examples, Midjourney (given a bit of artistic direction) delivers images that nourish a child's visual cortex, develop their aesthetical senses, and, ultimately, help grow visual taste.
Tracie Grimwood's illustration depicting preschoolers and kindergartners explore enldess possibilities of text-to-image artificial intelli`gence --ar 2:1 --v 4
Take it from a visual artist (for 22 years!)—exposure to art in all its variety is crucial to children's upbringing. In the AI era, we have incredibly powerful AND exceptionally accessible tools to bring art into our kids' lives. And weave that art into their education, entertainment, and interaction with the world.
Remember the very first prompt in this study, generated by ChatGPT? Let's use it one more time, with one little addition. :)
Naive art world where kids are surrounded by vibrant and exciting technology, from smartphones and tablets to AIs and cameras. Despite the endless possibilities and endless entertainment, these kids are also struggling with too much screen time and missing out on real-life experiences. But instead of focusing on the negative, let's celebrate the joy and wonder that technology brings and find a way to balance it with real-life adventures and meaningful connections --ar 3:2 --v 4
In the following Part II of this study, we will look at how Midjourney can aid with the same on the same fronts with 7 to 12-year-olds.
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All samples are produced by Midlibrary team using Midjourney AI.
Naturally, they are not representative of real artists' works/real-world prototypes.
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