||Nothing stupefies kids (I have in mind young people, though the same is true of many adults) as quickly as long-winded, jargon-filled, highly abstract theoretical discourse, especially when it seems to have no immediate utility. Kids like fun. They like play; they like games; they like challenges and puzzles; and they detest pompous academic abstractions. But if this is so, then it is easy to understand why aesthetics--this most abstract, theoretical, and sometimes pompous field of the art-related academic disciplines -- would seem completely unsuitable for teaching to children. After all, just picture yourself lecturing, say, on the aesthetics of Kant (skirting, of course, the full scholarly complexity of the Critique of Judgment), or on Santayana, or on Clive Bell, or any other major figure in the history of aesthetics--even if you try to buy relevance by jazzing it up with a couple of references to comic-book art or rap tunes--and you see a roomful of squirming, restless, utterly bored kids, eager for you to quit. Perhaps all you do is try to explain how some people think that art is the expression of feelings or that beauty is "really real" but you still may get the same apathetic response. "So what," the kids will say, "who cares?" But now picture a child faced with a genuine puzzle--a puzzle that does not depend on abstract terminology, scholarly tradition, or extensive background information, but a puzzle that presents a real problem, here and now. If you can get the child to see the puzzle so that it makes him or her think, you are in effect home free. With a bit of adroit guidance in the form of further, prodding questions, the child will do the rest--that is, try to figure the puzzle out.