Games for Creativity

Bad Guy Game
I’m Thinking Of
Scribble Stories

Bad Guy Game

This is a game Story invented to pass the time in the car on the way to and from school. She calls it the Bad Guy Game. The rules are simple. The players take turns coming up with something that bad guys do. Repeats are not allowed, ever. So, for instance, our game would go something like this:

Me: Um, bad guys cut horses’ tails off so they have nothing to swat the horseflies with.3905185541_61bee1aa77_m
Story: Bad guys tear the roofs off houses so that when it rains everyone gets wet.
Me: Um, well, uh … oh! Bad guys take the wheels off cars so no one can drive anywhere.
Story: Mommy, you said that the day before yesterday. Try again. <sigh>
Me: Oh yeah. Okay. Um …
Story: Think, Mommy. Do you want me to go for you?
Me: No, no, I’ve got this. Just give me a minute. Okay, bad guys take all the puppies away so there are no furry friends to play with.
Story: I don’t like that one.
Me: Me either, but they’re supposed to be bad guys!
Story: My turn. Bad guys take down all the flags and let the colors run out so that you don’t know what country you’re in.

Yeah, Story usually wins.


Nurture the experience:
This game can stir the imagination and go in places you never dreamed of—which is so very important (and fun!) for both you and your child. Give the brain a good workout! A hidden gem though is the opportunity to explore cause and effect. Instead of allowing for a simple answer such as, “Bad guys steal the moon,” press further. What happens as a result of the moon being stolen? What is the effect? The accuracy of the effect isn’t so much the issue—in fact, the sillier the better! Making that connection is what counts here.

P.S. There is no such thing as a Good Guy Game. No matter how hard I try to get it started, it never goes anywhere. I guess good guys just don’t interest Story like bad guys. Foreshadowing? I certainly hope not!

I’m Thinking Of …

This is another great game for car rides. Akin to I Spy, one player describes something she is thinking of using three descriptors, and the other player(s) must guess what it is. An example scenario follows:

Story: I’m thinking of something that (1) is round, (2) is part of the Milky Way, and (3) has plants on it.
Me: The Earth?
Story: Yes! Good job, Mommy!

In our car, winning only takes place when the player is able to guess correctly. This serves a couple of purposes. First, Story is very competitive and it helps her to take joy in someone else’s success. Second, it keeps the descriptors at a level that is actually realistic.

Nurture the experience:
Take note of the descriptors your child uses and see if there are any opportunities to enhance the discussion. In the example above, I could use the opportunity to talk about how her description of “round” could have also been “a sphere” and the differences between the two. I could have asked her to further describe the Milky Way. Or, I could have wondered aloud why only the Earth has plants on it, encouraging her to think and speculate.



Scribble Stories

Scribble stories are a great way to spend some time boosting your and your child’s imaginations. Grab a large piece of white paper–the bigger, the better. Pin it up to a wall or lay it out on a table. You and your child each choose a marker, different colors. Your child scribbles over the whole sheet of paper for about 10 seconds, depending on how big the page is. You then place your marker’s tip at exactly the spot your child’s marker stopped and continue the scribble for another 10 seconds. Repeat this one more time each.

Each of you stand back and try to find three to five objects each. (This is kind of like finding shapes in the clouds.) Outline each object with a different-colored marker to make it stand out, and write down the objects at the bottom of the page. Once you have s20150504_121631ix to ten objects, you’ll begin your story. You will tell a story, using all the objects you found in the scribbles. Your child begins the story, and then you continue the story, each taking turns until you come to the end.

In our scribble story, Story and I found a giant pig’s foot, two balloons, a sea monster, a snow-covered mountain, waves, a fish, a figure eight, and vikings on a sleigh. The story that resulted was a wild adventure incorporating balloons on Balloon Island that had been deflated by a giant pig; vikings on a quest continuously shouting, “Glory or death!”; a sea monster that was afraid of nothing except the pig; and a happy ending that resulted in the resurrection of the poor balloons.

Nurture the experience:

Obviously, this is a great way to sharpen the imagination. This is also a great opportunity to discuss art and perspective. Different people see different things in each piece of art, automatically personalizing the piece to their lives. Or, if you want to focus on the story side of this game, you could explain the elements of a story: a beginning, middle, and end; plot; characters; setting; conflict; theme; and so on. Every game is an opportunity to teach. All you have to do is take advantage of it!

Honeycombs and Bees Craft

I can’t take credit for the craft. It was a project that Riley brought home from daycare, but it was too cute not to share! Her class spent the last week learning all about different insects, highlighting one each day. This day they learned about bees and nurtured the experience with a honeycomb craft using honeycomb cereal. Clever!

What you’ll need:honey comb craft

Construction paper; whatever color you’d like. I suggest not using black or yellow since the bees would then blend into the background.

Black and yellow markers. If you don’t think you can draw an adequate bee (which is the case for me) then try stickers.

One box of Honeycomb cereal



1) Glue Honeycomb cereal pieces in the center of the paper to create one large honeycomb.

2) Draw bees (or stick bee stickers) around the honeycomb.

Nurture the experience:

Let’s learn about bees! It’s summertime, so there is no doubt we’ll be seeing a lot of bees flying around. What are the differences between the types of bees that your little one will be seeing? Why are some bees large and fluffy and the others are small and skinny? What is a hive, and what is the hive’s purpose? Start talking with your child about the differences while using the proper words to describe them. Spend some time on Google exploring different videos about bees to help put it in context for your child. Some good videos include:

Flight of the Honey Bee

A Bee Video Book

Or, if you prefer to read, these fiction and nonfiction books are great at getting the conversation started.

Time For Kids: Bees! (Time for Kids Science Scoops)

Time for Kids Bees

This book is targeted for beginning readers with simple words and sentences. This is a nonfiction piece with large, vibrant pictures. It will help your little ones get an up-close look at bees without the danger of the stinger!





What If There Were No Bees?: A Book About the Grassland Ecosystem (Food Chain Reactions)

What if there were no beesAfter your child’s first bee sting, it is likely that she will not be as fond of these little insects as she once was, but what if there were no bees? This book takes the journey of what would happen to the ecosystem if there were no more bees. While also making a connection to science, you can also make this an empathy lesson. We may not always like certain animals or individuals, but each has its place and purpose.

Painted Shapes Canvas

painted shapes canvasThis simple craft has very few guidelines. Perfect for toddlers or small kids but engaging enough for older siblings to paint along. Holiday coming up? Use a holiday-themed shape! A ghost for Halloween, a pot of gold for St. Patrick’s Day. We’d love to see your creations!

What You’ll Need:Painted Hand

Acrylic paint

Paint brush


Masking or Painter’s Tape


1) Cut strips of tape, both large and small. You will need the smaller pieces to make rounded edges.

2) Place tape on the canvas in the shape of your choosing.

3) Paint!

4) Let the painting completely dry and remove tape. That’s it!

Nurture the experience:

This is a great opportunity to weave in a lesson on shapes. Begin on a scrap piece of paper and draw, or have your child draw, a series of shapes. Heart, circle, triangle, square, rectangle, etc. Take the time to point out important characteristics of each. For example, you could say “The triangle has three sides, one, two, three. How many sides does this square have?” Use their answers to build on the differences between each shape. The square has four sides and so does the rectangle. What makes them different?

After some time discussing similarities and differences between the shapes, draw the image that you will be putting on the canvas. Ask your child what shapes she sees that make up this image. This type of questioning can help your child begin to use shape recognition skills.

Paper Plate Fans

It’s getting hot out there! This weekend, it was just cool enough that I couldn’t justify turning on the air conditioning but hot enough that we needed a little reprieve. So, we got out our crayons and paper plates and started working on our personalized fans! They did just the trick.

What you’ll need:Paper plate fans

Paper plates

Crayons or markers

Popsicle sticks



Paper clip


1) Cut paper plate in half. These are personal fans, so we want to keep them small. The smaller size also helps it stick together.

2) Color and decorate the plate any way that you want! That’s the beauty of it! Be sure to color the back side as well since both will show when you fold it.

3) Fold the paper plate accordion style.

4) Put a large drop of glue in each fold at the bottom. Place Popsicle stick in the approximate middle fold. Add a little more glue to the fold with the Popsicle stick.

5) Fold it back up and paper clip the bottom closed until it drys! Be careful not to get any glue on the paper clip so it does not rip it when you take it off.

Nurture the experience: 

This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about symmetry. Practice drawing shapes on a separate piece of paper. Talk to your kids about what it might look like when it is folded in half. Will it line up perfectly, or will there be edges that don’t line up? Explain to your child that when the edges do line up, that it is called symmetrical. When it doesn’t, it is asymmetrical. Take a break from the project and take a look in the mirror with your child. Talk about the human face and whether or not it is symmetrical. You’ll probably get some pretty funny responses but it allows your child to transfer what she is learning about the shapes to other real-life examples.

Recommended Reading: 

Take some time to learn about the Japanese culture and their beautiful fans! Here are some sites for some quick facts.

PBS Learning


Talk to your child about what you’ve learned and make it relevant to her with these books.

The Magic Fan

The magic fanA great story about realizing your gifts! This tale is about a Japanese builder who is very creative and will build just about anything. While struggling to find inspiration, he comes across a magic fan that gives him all the creativity he needs. His village mocks his new creations until the village is saved from a tidal wave by a bridge he built. When his fan is swept out to sea by the tidal wave, he learns that it was his imagination all along, not the fan.


Tikki Tikki Tembo

Tikki Tikki TemboOkay, Tikki Tikki Tembo is set in China, and it is not about fans at all, but I had to include it. This was definitely at the top of my to-go list as a child. So take the opportunity to talk about another Asian country and pick it up! If you read these sequentially, I would suggest noting the differences between Japan and China. This story is about a pair of Chinese brothers who were playing around a well. The folktale in this story states that the firstborn son would receive a long name to honor him and the second born would receive a short, simple name. The eldest son’s name is Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo, and the youngest is Chang. The youngest son falls down the well first, and Tikki Tikki Tembo is able to get help for him very quickly. However, when Tikki Tikki Tempo no Sa Rembo chari Bari Ruchi pip Peri Pembo falls down the well, Chang is not able to communicate it clearly. While it is not an accurate portrayal of Chinese history (what folktales are?) it is a fun book to share with your kids.