I recently provided an after school enrichment program at a local elementary school. I was trying out some new ideas to spark creative thinking in kids. The program was only open to students in 2nd to 5th grade, but the principal of the school mistakenly invited kindergarteners and first graders to join, too.
When I arrived at school the principal told me that the little ones had no other place to go during the program, so I had to include them. I was concerned because I didn’t believe children so young could possibly keep up with the older ones. I was wrong.
I prompted the group of 14 to generate new uses for everyday items (see "What Can You Do with a Paper Clip?"), sketch imaginary animals, make up stories based on random images, invent new toys, and solve outrageous problems. The youngest ones eagerly embraced the challenges and ran circles around most of the 4th and 5th graders.