SCAMPER Slide the City

slidethecityHow did those of you in the U.S. celebrate the 4th of July? I spent the afternoon going down a 600-foot slip ‘n slide, courtesy of Slide the City Ann Arbor. Despite the long lines, it was glorious fun. It also gave me plenty of time to contemplate the creativity involved in building such a thing.

Clearly, this was a much-magnified version of a traditional slip ‘n slide. Since magnification is one part of the SCAMPER strategy, it made me think about all the other ways SCAMPER might be used to change a slip ‘n’slide. For those of you unfamiliar with this toy, a traditional slip ‘n slide is a plastic slide used with water for slippery summer fun. But what if we wanted to change it? Consider how SCAMPER could be used to contemplate new slip ‘n slides, real and imaginary. If you’d like some creative family conversation, try these opions.

S Substitute What might you substitute for the water? Imagine what it might be like to slide on jello, oil, mud, or pudding. (I don’t like to waste food, so perhaps these explorations should be imaginary.) Or if you don’t have a traditional slip ‘n slide, what else could you use? A friend traditionally makes a long slide with a hose and a roll of plastic trash bags. It’s bumpy on the ground, but fun!

C Combine What could you combine with a slip ‘n slide to make it more fun? A waterproof sound system? Different types of tubes or boards for sliding?

A Adapt I was delighted to see a young woman with what appeared to be significant disabilities successfully navigate the giant slide. How might it, or other slip ‘n slides be made more accommodating to many kinds of people, young and old? I was among the oldest sliders. How might older people enjoy something like this safely?

M Minify, Magnifiy, Modify Well, we’ve already seen a great example of magnification. Could it be even bigger? (Actually, in cities with longer hills, I understand Slide the City can be 1000 feet long.) Or what might a minified slide look like? Why might we want one?

P Put to Other Uses What else could be done with a slip ‘n slide (or something like it) beyond play? Could it be used for some sort of transportation? What else?

E Eliminate This is a hard one. Is there some part of the slip ‘n slide that could be eliminated? I surely don’t want to contemplate eliminating slip ‘n slides from the world. But that’s OK, not every SCAMPER verb works for every problem. Or how about we eliminate slip ‘n slides just from this exercise. If we start with the giant Slide-the-City creation, can we think of other toys that could be magnified? Can you imagine the world’s largest trampoline? Or LEGOs? Or even Mr. Potato Head??

R Reverse What could be reversed in a slip ‘n slide? Could it go up hill? Could we go down backwards, or upside down? What if the water is under as well as over the slide, and we use it to slide into a pool?

However you think about it, imagining new ways for summer water play can lead to creative fun. If you try any of them, be sure to let me know.

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