Episode #117: Sparking Back a Love of Learning through Play with Katherine Mengardon

By Barbara Bray

Join Barbara Bray in conversations with awesome educators, leaders, and influencers as they talk about their passion and purpose for planting seeds for change. Each podcast has a link to a related blog post with more information and resources.

Katherine Mengardon is an education innovator and writer with 20 years of experience in developing online innovative education programs and resources. She is the author of the three Little Inventors non-fiction children’s books published by HarperCollins.
Your background
I have been developing educational programs for the past 20 years, working on innovative online resources that bring a real-life element to the classroom. For the past 4 years, I was also Chief Educator at Little Inventors.
Video on Don’t Stop Until you Play Enough

Being an artist/illustrator 

My work mainly centers on capturing the essence of people and translating that into drawings – I do a lot of bespoke portraits, such as family portraits and family trees, or celebrities. I work from ordinary photos and work a composite image of my subjects.

I also do cat illustration, and my cat album covers (catified versions of the Beatles, Nick Cave, Blondie, Blur, Gainsbourg, Miles David, and more) were featured as part of the Meow Exhibition IV in Leuven for the MidZommer festival 2013 at the M Museum (major contemporary museum in Belgium). I have lots of Instagrams for my photography, baking, illustration, and also a funny page of translating famous album covers in French – U2 is toi aussi, Patti Smith is Patricia Lefevre and the Rolling Stones les pierres qui roulent… Instagram KaruskiColors
What are some of the products you worked on and organizations you have worked with?
I have worked on groundbreaking innovative classroom resources for the BBC, Google, Cartoon Network, GSK, NatWest, Little Inventors, Pearson, and Nesta to name a few. My aim is to open children’s eyes and minds to a new fun way of learning and give them the tools to prepare for a bright future.
Chief Educator and Head of Operations of Little Inventors 
Little Inventors is a creative education company – its aim is to inspire children to use their imagination to think up ingenious invention ideas, then work with artists, makers, and designers to bring the most ingenious children’s ideas to life – and develop essential creativity life skills in the process!
The family scooter by wendy age 9

We launch challenges across the world with incredible partners (museums, brands, cultural powerhouses, and celebrities) and beyond – the Canadian government and the Canadian Space Agency even sent our little inventors’ ideas into space!

As part of the Little Inventors team, I looked after all content, including very popular educational programs. I have written numerous STEAM school educational resources for our high-profile partners: the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Space Agency, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Mr Men and Little Miss, Disney, Ocado, and several high profile Arts Council-funded projects.