Creativity on the Go

Summer is the time for road trips. And kids. As any parent knows, the two do not always happily coexist. But if you have an iphone or an ipod touch, do I have an app for you!

I recently learned of an app called Creative Genius on the Go, designed to support creative thinking through imaginative activities on the go. Here’s how it works.

If you are interested in Creative Genius on the Go, you can find it at the iTunes App Store for 99 cents. Such a deal! If you enjoy it, you might want to check out the authors’ website for additional ideas and information. This also would be a helpful app for teachers who find themselves with those 7-minutes-until-lunch-np-time-to-start-anything moments.

But for these summer days, here are a few more road trip options. Needless to say, they also can be fun as home or school activities.

1. Do I even need to mention books-on-CD? Particularly for younger children, the experience of hearing a book without illustrations is a great object lesson in the value of just-plain-print, and a wonderful opportunity for imagination.

2. Do you like to play the alphabet game? I do. Looking for the letters of the alphabet (in order) on roadside signs and buildings is a great way to pass the time, particularly in steamy city driving. But you can also try this variation: Look for “accidental alphabet” letters that are formed by tree branches, building trim, or anything in the natural world. For a little inspiration, check the Nature’s Alphabet website from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. They have a lovely pdf file of the alphabet shapes found in nature, and a teachers’ guide as well.

3. Invent a silly song. Take a familiar tune and create new words. I particularly like this account of children singing about “The Burglar on the Bus.” Imagine what kind of song  you could sing about “The Wizard on the Bus” or “The Circus on the Bus” or perhaps “Drippy Drippy Little Cone” to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. ”

4. Build a creature together. There are several ways to do this using folded sheets of paper. One way is to take a sheet of paper and fold it in half the short way, then again the same way. You should end up with a paper divided cross-ways into fourths. Each player draws the head of a creature in the top section, like this. If you want to be really fancy, the artist should extend the lines just slightly into the next section so the next player knows where it left off. Fold the top section back so it is invisible, and have the next player draw a body. Fold back and pass the paper to the next player to add legs, then pass again to add the feet. You may end up with a lovely creature like this one. For older artists, another variation is to have the papers passed person to person, with each person adding words on the side to suggest the type of head, body, etc. to be created. The last person unfolds the paper and must create the creature as directed (green dragon head, pig body, elephant legs, or whatever).

5. Tell a shared story. One player begins a story, stopping at a crucial point for the next player to pick up the plot. It can be helpful to remind younger players that a story usually has a problem to solve, some extra problems along and the way, and eventually, a way to solve the problem. You may be amazed at the creative results!

If you have other creative ideas for road trip fun, we’d love to hear them.

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