I have spent a while recently looking at strategies to help adults develop their (already in-built!) creativity. My favourite games book is “The Big Book of creativity games” by Robert Epstein. He wrote it to support creativity amongst business teams and is probably the basis for many team-building exercises across the globe.
It got me thinking about how some of these games could be adapted for families. I say ‘families’ because so many adults don’t think they are creative and focus only on developing a creative child – which yes, I know I am writing about in the blog and through emails, but it’s not the whole picture. In developing your family creativity, you can underpin the way that you all go about different tasks and you will begin to think creatively together.
It also means that you as the adult will begin to understand your own creative strengths, which can’t be a bad thing, can it?!
Here’s a simple game to get you started:
Capturing a daydream
How many times do we tell children off for daydreaming and not concentrating?! But it’s not a bad thing to do and has huge creative potential! Try this with your children, allowing them to understand that it’s ok to daydream now and they shouldn’t try to force a daydream – just let it appear.
Some children and adults will find this particularly difficult and it’s good to find out why. Maybe it’s the wrong place or the wrong time. Find out what works best so you are all able to relax and close your eyes (hoping that you don’t drop off! Lol!).
Set a timer so it doesn’t go on too long – maybe 2-3 mins to start – and once the timer has gone off you can do one of three things:
1. Discuss your daydream with each other. Where did you go? What did you see? What did you experience? What could you do with that daydream that would inspire some creativity?
2. Make some notes about it so you don’t forget what you saw before discussing it.
3. Draw what you saw and keep a family scrapbook of daydreams.
Recording daydreams helps to remember them later. They do disappear from our memories quite quickly, so a note or picture can trigger a memory.
Daydreaming like this is a great way to bring out the creative brain (which must have been there to create the daydream in the first place!) and show you all that just stopping for a moment and, yes, daydreaming (or whatever you want to call it) can bring with it some bizarre, beautiful or interesting experiences. It’s also a great way to start a writing activity, so if your child needs to write an imaginative story for school, why not start this way – but practise first so they get the idea.
I guess it’s a bit like meditation, but with much more colour and variety. Less watching the thoughts pass and more grabbing them with both hands and holding them for a moment to enjoy the experience!
The Big Challenge Game
This game is about problem solving and about not being afraid to share ideas, no matter how silly they seem! This is a great game to develop confidence in your children’s thinking.
Their solution may be inappropriate (remember their age and realise that their understanding of their world is limited when faced with some challenges) but it allows them to share and discuss how it could be realised. Very young children often have no qualms about sharing what they would do, but sometimes as children get older, they lose that confidence (sometimes through knockbacks at school, or just a self-consciousness arises that wasn’t there before). Despite their better understanding of the world around them, some teenagers can struggle to share solutions for fear of being mocked.
Obviously, that wouldn’t happen in your family game, but it’s something to be aware of, so this game can gently encourage the sharing and allow discussion of the idea as being valid or not. Children can think that anything is possible but it’s also good for them to be part of a safe discussion where you as a family show that actually, doing it that way wouldn’t work, but that’s ok!
If you find that you are facing a melt-down when the idea isn’t accepted (when you get to that point!), just take a breath and explain how long it took to finally get a man to the moon and start space investigations and explain how things don’t always work first time around. It could be time to try some simple experiments and see which work and which don’t…
Anyway, I digress…
Set the timer for between 5-10 mins.
Give a problem – I’ll give you three suggestions, so you get the idea and then use your creativity to come up with others 😉
A mountain is blocking the view from your new house. How could you knock it down?
I need to get to Australia in the next hour! What could you invent that would help me?
We need to get rid of all plastic in the ocean within the next 30 days. What could we do?
These questions are probably for slightly older children, maybe 7+, but should spur some interesting discussion and ideas! Make it fun, make it light-hearted but also make sure you all listen to each other. This game isn’t about the solution, it’s about how you all react when faced with a problem (even if these really are HUGE problems!). Understanding how your child reacts will help you to either coax out the confidence or tone it down, Lol!
The lolly-stick game
In this game, you all need some lolly-sticks or something similar (you could use pasta or flattened paper straws). The idea is to get creative with what you have!
So, start with the same number of sticks. I would suggest 30 each, but maybe if there are four of you, you could work in pairs.
Set the timer for 20 mins and get creating! The most imaginative design wins!
If you do this game again, it would be great to have a judge, who has to explain their choice. This might not be for the faint-hearted! Lol!
Give these games a try and let me know how you get on. I'd be really interested to see how different children and different ages react to different games. Maybe even ask older children to feedback to me! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have fun and don't forget our FREE download for getting creative with learning at home - a great way to start building creativity into daily life :)
See you soon!