Creative Problem Solving For Kids: Random Words

The “random words” technique provides a fun and unique way to spark creative ideas. This article continues our series on providing concrete strategies parents can teach their kids to improve their creativity. The following activity provides hands-on experience helping children learn to think outside the box, create unexpected connections, and tackle real-world problems with inventive solutions.

Activity: Imaginary Inventions Galore

Objective:

The objective of this activity is to challenge children to use the random words technique to create imaginary inventions that solve everyday problems. By exploring unusual word combinations, they will enhance their problem-solving skills and cultivate their overall creativity.

Materials Needed:

Paper or sketchbook
Pencils, markers, or colored pencils
A hat, bowl, or jar
List of everyday problems (see examples below)

Instructions/Steps:

Step 1- Understanding:

The following video is a great introduction to random words and even provides an example of using it.  Watch this video with your child before starting the activity.  Brainstorm Technique: Random Words

Step 2- Inventive Inspiration:

Begin by presenting your child with a collection of everyday problems, inviting them to choose one problem they’d like to solve creatively. The problems should be age-appropriate and relevant to their lives. Examples:

  • Design a gadget that tidies up messy rooms with a single button press
  • Create a machine that helps plants grow faster and healthier
  • Invent a tool that turns vegetables into delicious ice cream flavors

Step 3- Random Word Generation:

Introduce the random words technique by filling a hat, bowl, or jar with a variety of unrelated words written on small slips of paper. Encourage your child to draw a random random word from the collection.  Alternatively, you could also use the website https://randomwordgenerator.com/ to generate a random word.

Step 4- Sparking Imagination:

Once they have their random word, instruct children to embrace the challenge of incorporating this unrelated word into their inventive inventions. Encourage them to think creatively and find unique ways to integrate this word to solve their chosen problem. For example, if they draw “umbrella” while solving the room-tidying problem, how can they use this word to create their gadget?

It is also helpful to list other words connected to the random word.  List synonyms, antonyms, nouns, adjectives, and verbs related to the word.

Step 5- Drawing Designs:

Guide children to sketch their imaginary inventions on paper, illustrating how they work and how the random word is cleverly integrated into the design. Encourage them to annotate their drawings to explain the functions and benefits of their inventions.

Step 6- Presenting Imaginary Inventions:

Have children present their imaginative inventions to family and friends or a small audience. During the presentation, they should explain how the random word inspired their creations and how their inventions effectively solve the chosen problems.

Step 7- Celebrating Creativity:

Conclude the activity with a celebration of creativity. Encourage children to appreciate the power of the random words technique in stimulating imaginative thinking and fostering unique problem-solving approaches.

By completing this activity, children can embark on a whirlwind of creativity and problem-solving. The random words technique challenges them to think beyond the ordinary, connecting unrelated concepts to create extraordinary solutions. Inspire children to unleash their imaginations, transforming random words into ingenious inventions that make the world a more imaginative and innovative place.

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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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