Creativity from Chaos

The first thing to remember is that creativity is messy. You want kids to color “outside the lines.” Too often in school kids are given projects with a specific example to emulate. Even as young as first grade they already look to adults for approval of their efforts. We want our kids to try new things, find new ways of looking at things. A fun activity that our teams have enjoyed is called `props”. Before the meeting, you put together a bag of various household items. Line up the kids and hand one object to the first in line. He or she says “this is a _______.” Then he/she hands it to the next in line who repeats the statement with a new ending often acting out the usage. This continues going round and round until no one can think of a new descriptor for the object. Then move on to object number two. The point of “props” is to come up with as many different uses/descriptions of the object as possible. For example, a spoon can be a microphone, an earring, a catapult, a shovel, a unicorn horn, an antenna, a tongue, a tail, a shoe, a drumstick, etc. Encourage them to think of it as very big or very small, made of a different material, etc. What could it be? There are no wrong answers. Another fun exercise is to ask them an open-ended question, for example, how many different ways can you attach two pieces of paper together? Put the question on a poster size piece of paper and encourage them to write down every answer they come up with. Then leave the paper up and see how many new answers they think of during the meeting. The answers don’t have to be practical, for example, you can attach two pieces of paper together by squishing cooked rice between them. Not practical, but it works.