Good question. Years ago, when I first started running hacker camps for kids, our goal was very narrow. The kids were meant to learn the names of the different electronics, their uses and how to program them. We saw that this wasn’t working and decided to give them problems and possible tools they could use to solve them. But even then, the walls were still narrow.
I remember this boy who was really interested in photography and filmmaking who decided to solve one of the problems by making a documentary. Within a day, he had formed his own team of storytellers. At the end of the week, he had a pretty great video and although he didn’t learn much about microcontrollers or programming, he came up with a solution from his own realm of interests. It was pretty good and nothing any of us trainers had thought about.
I think the biggest strategy for me in widening the walls is keeping an open mind when it comes to kids’ suggestions and helping them navigate through their own thought processes without too much bias.