Creative Talent Comes Out to Play : Page 2 of 2
Creative Talent Comes Out to Play
• Dictionary — This classic game idea has seen a number of commercial incarnations over the years, such as Slang Master® and more. The object of the game is to present an unfamiliar word to the players, who make up definitions to fool the others into believing their definition is correct. Writing bogus but convincing definitions takes originality, elaboration, and plenty of imagination.
• Word Flurry™ — This game calls upon a bit of flexible thinking with a large dose of fluency. Players are challenged to make as many words as they can from only the letters contained in a given word. Creative players run consonant blends, vowel substitutions, and letter combos through their minds as they scan for words before the time runs out.
• Mad Libs® — This popular game of substitutions tends to elicit much amusement. Players are given a written story with fill-in-the-blanks, which they fill in with random words. There are many Mad Lib variations, but I consider Mad Libs a modern adaptation of its hysterical classic predecessor, “The Comical Game of Dr. Quack,” first published in the 1930s.
Creative kids love the surprising ideas generated by random substitutions and they especially delight in making up their own stories and fill-in-the-blank words in homemade versions of the game. Originality, imagination, and flexibility-through-substitution are most of the fun in playing this game.
• Gin Rummy, Canasta, and Variations — Tried and true card games such as these have been reworked and reinvented in a number of cutely named and illustrated card games for children, but their basic concept remains similar: combine cards in certain ways that score optimum points. Luck aside, flexible thinkers have a great advantage here, as they see extra possibilities for combining and recombining the values of their cards.
• Lucky Ducky™ — Two or more players and an abundance of imagination are all the working parts you need to play this game. Elaboration helps, too.
To play Lucky Ducky, the first player begins a story about something that makes Lucky Ducky smile. The next player turns poor Lucky Ducky’s situation to a bad one. Then a player turns it good again, and so forth until a player runs out of story ideas. Each new piece of story must continue from the last story line.
For example, begin with “Lucky Ducky went to the beach.” The second player might say, “Unluckily it started to rain” Next, “Luckily he met a friend who shared an umbrella” “Unluckily, the wind destroyed the umbrella” “Luckily, the sun came out again.” “Unluckily Lucky Ducky and his friend were cold.” “Luckily they had some hot chocolate in a thermos to warm themselves up” …and so forth.
• Hats & Cats Alike™ — In this game of uncommon commonalities, two or more players must stretch their minds to find what two seemingly unrelated things have in common. To play, the first player names a random thing, such as “hat.” The second player names another random thing, such as “cat.” Players alternate turns, naming what the two have in common. Remember, creativity is all about making new connections.
For example, “They both can be orange.” “They both can fit in a shoe box.” “They both have a soft surface.” “They both belong to the same family.” “They both are made of natural materials.”… and so forth, until a player runs out of ideas.
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Lucky Ducky and Hats & Cats Alike are games I made up to play with my kids when we were out and they were bored. Not only were these fun boredom busters, but also Lucky Ducky developed and focused their imaginations and Hats & Cats Alike gave their creative minds a serious workout.
The next time your kids play a favorite game, consider whether it has a creative thinking aspect to it. If it does, be encouraged knowing that not only is your child having fun, but he or she is practicing becoming a future creative genius.
*E. Paul Torrance, 1962 Prentice Hall, N.J., “Guiding Creative Talent,”
© 2012 Marjorie Sarnat. All rights reserved.
Marjorie Sarnat is an author, artist, product designer, and co-founder of Jr Imagination®, a company dedicated to helping teachers and parents foster creative thinking skills in kids. More »