Creative Thinking Prompt: Surrealism
Surrealism art is an art form that reunites the world of dream and fantasy with everyday reality, a mix of conscious and unconscious realms.
Artist Rene Magritte’s surrealism artwork challenges others, in an unexpected manner, to view his art not as it appears to be, but as it appears not. For Magritte, what is concealed is more important than what is open to view.
This art by Rene Magritte looks like a pipe but its translation is “This is not a pipe.”
Creative Thinking Prompt: If this is not a pipe, what else can it be?
Brainstorm alternate uses for this item. Develop a new name for this “pipe”.
“How Can You Dance?”
This picture book is a celebration of creative movement. Readers will have fun dancing these new steps.
Imagine how you can dance with spring in your shoes, you can’t move your knees or you’re mad as a bee.
This book promotes creative expression and making connections.
TITLE: How Can You Dance?
AUTHOR: Rick Walton
ILLUSTRATOR: Ana López Escrivá
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001
AGE GROUP: 4-6
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative expression and making connections
1) Make a list of feelings. How might you dance to sadness or happiness or scared?
2) Substitute movement for your name. For example, my name Ann is shown by jumping up and clapping my hands above my head.
3) Tell a short story using only movement (no words). You can use a story you already know or make one up.
To learn more about author Rick Walton, visit:
To learn more about illustrator Ana López Escrivá, visit:
Adam Hillman, SpaghettiOOOOOOOOO, 2016
Creative Thinking Prompt: Knolling
Knolling is defined as arranging objects at 90 degree angles from each other and then photographing them. American sculptor Tom Sachs uses knolling as an integral part to his process. He describes the process of knolling in his 2009 studio manual, 10 Bullets.
- Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
- Put away everything not in use. If you aren’t sure, leave it out.
- Group all ‘like’ objects.
- Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself.
Object Arranger Artist Adam Hillman creates his artwork using knolling. By carefully arranging items, he makes colorful compositions and then photographs them.
Images ©Adam Hillman
Think Deeper: Try your hand at knolling. Collect objects from around your home that share a common trait and arrange them using 90 degree angles.
To view more of Adam’s artwork, visit:
To learn more about knolling and view artwork, visit:
Woolbur doesn’t think or behave like the rest of the flock. He does things his way.
“I carded my own wool,” said Woolbur. “No more tangles.”
“It’s unheard of!” said Maa. “I know,” said Woolbur. “Isn’t great?”
His parents don’t understand him. “You must follow the flock, dear. It’s what sheep do.”
Instead Woolbur teaches the other sheep a different way of doing things.
This book promotes humor, creative thinking, taking risks and originality.
AUTHOR: Leslie Helakoski
ILLUSTRATOR: Lee Harper
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins Publisher, 2008
AGE GROUP: 5-8
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: humor, creative thinking, taking risks and originality
1) Design a wacky hairstyle for yourself and wear it to school.
2) Pick something that you feel you do well at and teach it to someone else.
3) Invent a game using cottonballs.
To learn more about author Leslie Helakoski, visit:
To learn more about illustrator Lee Harper, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion®
Creative expression + creative movement + environment + inter- and intra- relationships = DIAVOLO
Diavolo’s mission statement is to explore the relation and interaction between the human body and its architectural environment to understand how we are being affected not only socially, but physically and emotionally. Dancers fly through the air from structures designed by Jacques Heim. Their acrobatic dance performance incorporates strength as well as emotion to tell a story.
In 1992, French-born choreographer and visionary Jacques Heim created DIAVOLO, an acrobatic dance company that incorporates unique geometric-architectural props. Diavolo stands for “I fly” in Latin and “day” in Spanish. Currently, they are competing on the TV show, America’s Got Talent.
To learn more about Diavolo, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: Design Your Pool
In the dog days of summer, wouldn’t it be great if you had a pool that had everything you wanted? Design a pool that fits your style.
Here are some pool designs to inspire you.
Think Deeper: What else can your pool be used for besides swimming?
Creative Thinking Prompt: Design A Chair That’s You
A chair is a commonly used object. Here are some truly unique ones.
rhino, walrus, octopus
books and CDs
Creative Thinking Prompt: Design a chair that represents you. Use your imagination to create a chair that doesn’t resemble a traditional chair. Make it as original as you. What are some different types of chairs (rocking chair, throne, etc.)? What materials would you use and why? What is the purpose of your chair? What colors will you use? How will you decorate/embellish your chair? How will you use your chair? How many legs will your chair have? Will your chair have a back? What will the back look like? How will the seat of your chair be designed? Sketch your chair design.
To view some more interesting chairs, visit:
“Mix It Up!”
Mix It Up! is interactive storytelling at its best. Shake the book! Tilt the book!
What happens to the colors of paint?
Tap the paint! Smear the paint! What happens?
Make colors lighter, add white. Make colors darker, add black. Hervé Tullet encourages readers to explore, take risks and express their creativity.
This book promotes creativity, imagination, and discovery.
TITLE: Mix It Up!
AUTHOR: Hervé Tullet
ILLUSTRATOR: Hervé Tullet
PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books, 2014, 1st published in U.S.A.
AGE GROUP: 4-6
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, imagination, discovery
1) Take one paint color and mix with another color. Take two paint colors and mix with another color. Take three paint colors and mix with another color. Then fingerpaint with the colors you’ve made.
2) Use unusual materials to make paint such as jello, food coloring, etc.
3) Add sprinkles of salt to paint. Paint with it. What happens to the salted paint when it dries?
To learn more about author/illustrator Hervé Tullet, visit:
Creative Thinking Prompt: Installation Artist Chiharu Shiota
Photo credit: Sunhi Mang
Artist Chiharu Shiota uses yarn and repurposed materials to create powerful, provoking art.
The Key in the Hand 2015 at the 56th Venice Biennale
Chiharu Shiota suspends over 50,000 keys collected from world-wide donors with weaved yarn over a wooden boat. The keys represent feelings and memories while the red yarn represents lines of memory and how they relate to one another.
Creative Thinking Prompt: In what ways might you use a key besides opening a door? Brainstorm a list of possibilities of what you can do with a key. What else can a key represent? How might you incorporate keys into an art project?
To learn more about Chiharu Shiota and her work, visit:
Infinity Lines 2017 at Savannah College of Art and Design
“Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog”
In the picture book, Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog, Mr. Putney has all sorts of unusual friends. Readers guess the animals’ names based on clues in the pictures and text.
Turn the page to discover Mr. Putney’s animal friend.
Turn the page to discover Mr. Putney’s animal friend.
This book promotes creativity, inventiveness and imagination.
TITLE: Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog
AUTHOR: Jon Agee
ILLUSTRATOR: Jon Agee
PUBLISHER: Michael Di Capua Books, Scholastic, 2010
AGE GROUP: 6-8
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creativity, inventiveness, imagination
1) Invent your own animal riddles like author Jon Agee.
Other animal riddles from the story are
pastry + turtle = tartle and chicken pox + hippo = hippospotamus.
2) Write riddle poetry. Visit:
To learn more about author/illustrator Jon Agee, visit: