Creative Problem Solving For Kids: Copy Nature

One of the skills that will become even more important for our kids as AI grows is creativity. It’s important that we find concrete stragegies to grow their creative abilities.  A great book to check out is called Creative Mindset by Jeff and Staney Degraff.  This book provides strategies someone can use to improve their ability to creative problem solve.  Over the next several blog posts, I would like to offer some activities you can do with your kids to grow their creativity using these different strategies.  We will start with the “Copying Nature” technique, which encourages us to look to our natural world for creative solutions.

Activity: Nature’s Problem-Solving Adventure

Objective: The objective of this activity is to challenge students to apply the “copying nature” technique to solve a problem. By observing nature’s designs, patterns, and processes, they will gain inspiration to develop innovative solutions.

Materials Needed:

  1. Paper or sketchbook
  2. Pencils, markers, or colored pencils
  3. List of problem scenarios (see examples below)
  4. Outdoor space such as a garden, park, or backyard


  1. Understanding: Help your child understand the idea of “copying nature” to solve problems by going over this article with them about some inventions that have been inspired by things in nature.
  2. Problem Selection:  It’s important to start with a problem that needs to be solved.  Let your child identify a problem. Some ideas are below.
    • Designing a more efficient solar-powered device
    • Creating a structure that can withstand natural disasters
    • Creating a device that helps your family keep dirt out of the house.
    • Or, any problem that needs solved at home, in their community, or in the world.
  3. Explore Nature’s Inspiration: Take your child on an outdoor adventure to observe and appreciate nature’s elements. Encourage them to look for inspiration related to their selected problem. It could be the structure of leaves, the behavior of animals, or the flow of water. Provide magnifying glasses for closer examination if available.
  4. Sketching Nature’s Designs: Have your child select a specific aspect of nature’s design that inspires them in solving their chosen problem. Ask them to sketch and annotate the design, paying attention to its key features, functions, and adaptations.
  5. Ideation and Problem-Solving: Once they have completed their sketches, guide them to brainstorm ideas by connecting nature’s design with their problem scenario. Encourage them to think creatively and consider how nature has already provided solutions to similar challenges.
  6. Developing Solutions: In this step, students should focus on transforming their ideas into concrete solutions. Using their sketches as a starting point, have them develop detailed plans or prototypes that incorporate nature’s inspiration. They can use additional materials such as clay, craft supplies, or digital tools to bring their solutions to life.
  7. Presentation and Reflection: Provide an opportunity for your child to present their solutions to family and friends. Encourage them to explain the problem they addressed, their design process, and how nature’s inspiration influenced their solution. Facilitate a discussion to reflect on the diverse approaches taken and the benefits of applying the “copying nature” technique.

By engaging in this activity, kids have the opportunity to develop their problem-solving skills while appreciating the brilliance of nature’s designs. Applying the “copying nature” technique encourages creative thinking, innovation, and a deeper connection with the natural world.

Looking for More Ways to Help Your Child Prepare For The Future?

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Creative Problem Solving For Kids: Random Words

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Cultivating a Growth Mindset in Kids: A Parent’s Guide

Encouraging Productive Struggle: A Guide For Parents

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About the author: Shawn D. Walk is the owner of Create2Discover, a business dedicated to helping students discover their ability to create and shape the world around them through creating things. He has been teaching technology, coding, and 21st century skills for nearly 15 years. He is a certified elementary teacher in PA and has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. He is also a previous owner of an educational technology company that pioneered using Minecraft as an educational tool in the Pittsburgh region. His goal is to help kids learn the skills they need in today’s world, but also help them believe they can be the creators of new technology instead of simply consuming it.

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