Creative Thinking Prompt: Reinvent the Wheel

Creative Thinking Prompt: Reinvent the Wheel

Originality, an elemental component of creative thinking, takes the usual and makes it unusual. Let’s take the wheel, a common object, and make it original.

What makes a wheel a wheel?

Make a list of all the different types of wheels.

What traits do all wheels have in common?

Brainstorm different ways or purposes that a wheel can be used.

Then, use SCAMPER to reinvent the wheel.

S = Substitute:  Remove some part and replace it with something else.

C = Combination:  Join or force together two or more elements of your subject to develop a solution.

A = Adapt:  Change some part so that it works where before it didn’t work.

M = Magnify or modify:  Consider the attributes of the subject and change them. Attributes include: size, shape, other dimensions, texture, color, position, etc.

P = Put to other uses:  Think about your subject – why it exists, what it is used for, what it’s supposed to do. Then think up new and unusual purposes.            

E = Eliminate:  Remove any or all elements of the subject to find another solution.

R = Rearrange or reverse:  Look at the subject from different perspectivesTurn it upside-down, inside-out. Make it go backwards, against the direction it was intended to go or be used. Similar to Reverse, modify the order of operations or any other hierarchy involved.

SCAMPER was developed by Bob Eberle based upon Alex Osborn’s creating thinking questions. Alex Osborn is the originator of brainstorming. Scamper is based upon seven creative thinking principles. Each principle views your idea in a different manner. By asking questions related to each principle, Scamper gets you thinking about which areas of your idea you can improve.

ABC Pasta: An Entertaining Alphabet

ABC Pasta: An Entertaining Alphabet”

An ABC circus that good enough to eat!

Author/illustrator Juana Medina’s pasta characters and use of alliteration create a very entertaining way to learn the alphabet.

This book promotes creativity, originality, and flexible thinking.

TITLE: ABC Pasta: An Entertaining Alphabet

AUTHOR: Juana Medina


PUBLISHER: Viking, 2017


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, originality, flexible thinking


1) Pick a food group. Use that food to create a variety of characters.

2) Using dried pasta or cooked spaghetti, form letters of the alphabet.

3) Invent your own pasta characters and tell their stories.


To learn more about author/illustrator Juana Medina, visit:

I also love this counting salad book by Juana Medina.

Creative Thinking Prompt: The Green Blob

Creative Thinking Prompt:  The Green Blob

Brainstorm a list of at least 100 things that are green. Circle the most unusual ones.

Brainstorm a list of at least 100 things that move. Circle the most unusual ones.

Now take one circled item from each list and combine them to invent The Green Blob.

Your green blob can be anything – a thing, a creature, a storybook character, or a new invention.

Sketch out your blob.

What are the characteristics of your blob?

What makes your blob unique?

What does your blob do?

Name your blob.


Just for fun. To make green slime (recipe included), visit:

Kids in the Kitchen: Homemade Slime!

What Pete Ate A – Z

What Pete Ate A – Z”

WHAT PETE ATE A – Z is not your typical alphabet book! This ABC story follows Pete the Dog as he devours a myriad of things, which he shouldn’t eat such as an accordion, a camera, a pocketbook, and everything to make an egg sandwich. Doesn’t Pete know the difference between edible and inedible?

The letter “G.”

Here’s Pete! What a dog!

This book promotes humor, creativity, imagination, and originality.

TITLE: What Pete Ate A – Z

AUTHOR: Maira Kalman


PUBLISHER: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: humor, creativity, originality, imagination


1) Pick a letter from the alphabet. Brainstorm a list of inedible items that Pete the Dog could eat. Now write a tongue twister about Pete eating some of those items.

2) What happens to Pete at the end of the book after he’s eaten all those inedible things? Write an ending to Pete’s alphabet eating journey.


To learn more about author/illustrator Maira Kalman, visit:

Creative Thinking Prompt: Unusual Knitting

Creative Thinking Prompt: Unusual Knitting

Knitting Artist Dave Cole

knits using unusual materials such as lead-lined fabric and Kevlar and using unusual knitting needles like excavation machines and rifles.

This teddy bear he knitted from fiberglass.


This flag he knitted using John Deere excavation machines.

Titled “The Knitting Machine.”


 Creative Thinking Prompt: Brainstorm a list of knitting materials that someone can use to knit with. Brainstorm a second list of items that can be used as knitting needles. Pair one of your knitting materials with one of your knitting needles items, then Google to see if anyone has ever tried knitting in that fashion.


To view more of Dave Cole art, visit:

Kids can knit with their fingers. Watch this easy tutorial to start creating your own knitting handiworks.

‪How to Finger Knit, Episode 80 by Fiber Flux at

Cat Knit

Cat Knit”

Cat and Yarn are best friends.

They are inseparable. But Girl takes Yarn away.

When Yarn returns, he has changed a lot. Cat is mad!

Can they ever be friends again?

This book promotes adaptability, humor, and originality.

TITLE: Cat Knit

AUTHOR: Jacob Grant


PUBLISHER: Feiwel and Friends Book, 2016


CREATIVE COMPONENTS:  adaptability, humor, originality


1) Use an unusual material to make friendship bracelets to hand out to your friends.

2) In what other ways can yarn be used? Brainstorm a list of ways that yarn can be used.


To learn more about author/illustrator Jacob Grant, visit:

Creative Thinking Prompt: Kamishibai – A Storytelling Art

Creative Thinking Prompt:  Kamishibai – A Storytelling Art

Kamishibai is a visual and oral storytelling art form originating from Japan starting in the 1920s. Typically, the storyteller rode his bike with his miniature stage attached. Crowds of children would gather to listen to the story. These storytellers had the audience interact with the story by using 12 or more visual cards with minimal story detail.

Watch a kamishibai story at

‪The Three Magic Charms: a kamishibai tale 

Told by ‪Genevieve Waller, Crooked Door Storytelling

To learn more about the history of kamishibai, visit:

Creative Thinking Prompt:  Create your own version of kamishibai storytelling by making your own visual cards and developing your own oral story.

 Read this picture book by Allen Say.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!”

Filled with humor and friendship, Ben Clanton’s graphic novel, Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, geared toward elementary school readers features three stories with “intermissions.” In the first story, Narwhal and Jelly think each is imaginary. When they find they both love waffles, they become best friends. In the second story, Narwhal searches for his pod family. When he doesn’t find them, he makes his own, asking ocean friends to become honorary tusk-wearing members. But Jelly feels left out. In the third story, Narwhal shares his favorite imagination book with Jelly except the pages are blank.

This book promotes creativity, nature, humor, and originality.

TITLE: Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!

AUTHOR: Ben Clanton


PUBLISHER: Tundra Books, 2016


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, humor, imagination


1) Create two best friend cartoon characters. Sketch them and give them names. Write a story about them using their imaginations.

2) Writers use word play – a play on words to enhance their writing and deepen their characters. Ben Clanton used “Tentacular!” as dialogue for his octopus character and “Podtastic!” to describe Narwhal and his group of friends. Use word play in your writing to: What might your best friend cartoon characters say? What behavior might they exhibit?


To learn more about author/illustrator Ben Clanton, visit:

Creative Thinking Prompt: Your Door to Your Imagination

Creative Thinking Prompt:  Your Door to Your Imagination

Doors can be portals to new worlds. A way a door looks can tell a lot about where it leads to. Look at the pictures below.

Where do you imagine these doors lead?

Creative Thinking Prompt:  Use your imagination to design your own door and where it will take you. Use multiple mediums to create a two-dimensional or three-dimensional door. Make your door as ornate as you like.

How does your door open? Does it creak? Is it silent?

Is your door upright or upside-down?

Do you enter into an underwater world, an underground world, an alien world, a fantasy, etc?

What time is it? 1800’s, 2050, night, dawn, etc.

When you walk through the door, what do your feet touch? What do you smell? What do you see? Is someone or something waiting for you?

Now imagine what you will do in this new world.

Owl Sees Owl

Owl Sees Owl”

In Owl Sees Owl, a union of text and pictures come together to tell the story of Little Owl who is ready for a night adventure on his own. He leaves the nest and soars across fields and forests. What will he find?

Told in the form of a reverso poem, Little Owl makes a discovery and then safely returns home. A reverso poem is a poem that uses the same words forwards and then reuses the same words in reverse order.

This book promotes creativity, nature, and originality.

TITLE: Owl Sees Owl

AUTHOR: Laura Godwin


PUBLISHER: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, nature, originality


1) Research a favorite animal of yours. Make a list of 8 adjectives, 8 nouns, and 8 verbs that describe your animal. Arrange these words into a poem.

2) Try your hand at writing a reverso poem.


To learn more about author Laura Godwin, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Rob Dunlavey, visit: