Hi there, this week’s article is going to be very brief. Instead of lots of words, I’m going to give you three creativity exercises, so you can do some brain training and test yourself on your creative thinking skills.
The first creativity exercise was mentioned in one of the TED talks last week. Tim Brown spoke about it in his talk on creativity and play. I believe the exercise came from Bob McKim, a Professor Emeritus at Stanford University who spent a lot of time researching creativity in the 60’s and 70’s. The idea is to draw as many different pictures using the circles as you can in one minute only. I’m not going to give you the post exercise tips and insights until next week, so that I don’t affect how you do the exercise.
The second creativity exercise is my own made up one, well it’s not really mine! When I was a kid, we had this TV show called Mr. Squiggle. We didn’t have TV, but when we left the property and went on holidays, we got to see shows like this. Mr Squiggle was a pretty weird character, in fact, a lot of kids TV show characters were when I think about it. I think the creators must have been pretty tripped out characters themselves.
Anyway, children would send in scribbles or squiggles into the show. Mr Squiggle was a puppet and would use the long pencil he had for a nose to turn the children’s scribbles into pictures. I used to do scribbles of my own and then find ways to turn them into something. So the idea is to turn these random lines into a cartoon drawing of something. There’s no time limit, I think it’s actually quite a tricky scribble to work with, but I’m sure you will be great, just have some fun with it!
The last creativity exercise is also my own made up one. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. A lot of talk about creativity keeps focusing on children and how abundantly creative they are, and how this is missed or messed up by adults and schooling. This last activity comes from something I did as a child, and the story sums up how creative a child’s mind is, and how adults can be completely oblivious to it.
When I was very little, I think I may have only been about three years old, my parents were holding a party at our place. Of course, this was the perfect opportunity to busy myself with something creative that would not have been allowed if anyone was watching. I know I had a side kick, I don’t know if it was my younger sister or a visiting child. Anyway, we took several packets of matches into the bathroom.
Now, as soon as you read matches, you’ll probably think the worst. But here’s the thing, I don’t think I even knew how to light matches or understood what they were really for. I didn’t spark up anything. Instead, I emptied a few hundred matchsticks onto the bathroom floor and made as many of these “sculptures” as I could before being found out…
Can you guess what I was making? Unfortunately, I was found out and got smacked. I remember not really understanding why I was in trouble. I often had this feeling when I was in trouble as a kid, a mixture of confusion, extreme upset for getting in trouble and annoyance at being misunderstood. I’m guessing I may have known matches were not toys, so it’s possible I wasn’t entirely innocent. But the thing that I was so engrossed in making had nothing to do with being naughty. I was truly and completely immersed in a creative activity.
The last exercise is to take a box of matches and make your own little sculpture with the box and contents. You can use glue, blu tack or sticky tape, and the sculpture can be as abstract or literal as you like. If you want to know the explanation for what my four year old mind was so absorbed in creating, pop over to my new site: lightglobetv.com and check out the short video I’ve made of it. I’ve literally just put this site up last week, I plan to use it as a media center for the interviews, articles and videos I’m making, because all this content doesn’t really belong on my other site.
If you want to share any of the outcomes of these creative exercises, feel free to take photos or scan and email them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.