So often, creative thinking entails bringing two different things together. Lists of inventions (and crazy holiday catalogs) are full of combinations, from cat brush mittens to Google Glasses. Other times the combinations are more abstract—using metaphors to spur new ideas or solve problems.
And sometimes, creative combinations are just fun. Ask Chris Durso of Foodiggity and his eight-year-old son. Their combinations of food and states to creative the pun-filled Instagrams called Foodnited States of America are an absolute delight. You can see them at the Foodiggity Instagram site, but they are mixed with lots of other images. You may enjoy them more in concentrated form via some of the articles written about the series. For example, here’s an article from Distractify. At the point the pair have created food puns and images for 25 states. Imagine a photo of Kaleifornia—a California-shaped piece of Kale—or Tunasee.
The Foodnited States of America is a fine example of creative combination—and a source for inspired combinations-to-come. You could, of course, challenge students to develop images for some of the states not yet in the series. Or perhaps better yet, think about a combination series of your own. You could continue with visual combinations using something other than states—perhaps countries or animals. How about Mexicocoa or even a cheezta (are you picturing a cheetah made of cheese?) Imagine the stories that could be created around them.
Combinations can also spur more realistic creative writing. Students could create new characters by combining attributes of humans and animals. Think about how a snake-like villain might differ from a froglike villain—or perhaps a rabbit-villain. It could be interesting to consider the animals that best reflect real historic or literary characters.
Creative combinations can provide the impetus for inventions, art, writing, scientific investigations. But perhaps your next practice can begin with a creative—and pun-filled—directory of the states. If nothing else, let it provide you a few minutes of delight!