Tag Archives: flexible thinking



From the cover to the end of the Petra’s story, readers’ imaginations will spark. Petra is a mountain. Nothing can move her.

Petra is an egg. What will she grow up to be?

Petra is an island.

What else will Petra be?

This book promotes imagination and flexible thinking.

TITLE: Petra

AUTHOR: Marianna Coppo

ILLUSTRATOR: Marianna Coppo

PUBLISHER: Tundra, 2018


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: imagination, flexible thinking


1) Build or design a rock home for an insect or small creature.

2) What else can a rock be? Make a list of attributes of a rock. What attributes does a rock have that can be used in something else? For example: strength (attribute) – can be used to build a tower. How might the rock’s strength be good for building? How might the rock’s strength not be good for building?


To learn more about author/illustrator Marianna Coppo, visit:


Dirt + Water = Mud

Dirt + Water = Mud”

What do you get when you add water to dirt? Come, find out in this fun book!


The girl adds water to dirt, and her imagination takes off.

(Notice the girl’s shadow.)


Add more props.


A sheet, a stick and a cat’s ear equals a queen and her knight.

Follow this pair of best friends as they play in the backyard.

This story promotes imagination, humor, and flexible thinking.

TITLE: Dirt + Water = Mud

AUTHOR: Katherine Hannigan

ILLUSTRATOR: Katherine Hannigan

PUBLISHER: Greenwillow Books, 2016


CREATIVE COMPONENTS: imagination, humor, flexible thinking


1) Compound words are two words put together to form a new word with a new definition. Make a list of compound words. From your list, pick a word. Sketch an image for each word, and then, combine both images to create a new definition. For example, rain + bow = rainbow. Sketch an image for rain. Sketch an image for bow. Combine your two images to form a new definition of a rainbow.

2) Let’s use your imagination just like the author did to combine math and your favorite activities. Make a list of your favorite activities. Work in reverse by thinking about which two items can be added together to equal one of your favorite activities. For example, one of my favorite activities is baking cookies. Chocolate + circles = cookies

Think Deeper:  What if instead of adding things together in the above activities, you subtracted, what would happen?


To learn more about author/illustrator Katherine Hannigan, visit:


Creative Thinking Prompt: Create a New Basket Design

Creative Thinking Prompt: Create a New Basket Design

Catriona Pollard – “Sowing New Seeds” www.TheArtofWeaving.com.au

Creative thinkers sometimes take what someone else has done and think about ways it can be improved. Australian fiber artist, Catriona Pollard takes natural weaving materials to create art. Her baskets connect people to nature. When working with foraged and discarded plant material, she “listens” to the material, weaving and shaping it into what it wants to be to create her unique organic sculptures.

Creative Thinking Prompt: Create a New Basket Design

First, think about the purpose of a basket. Is used to hold things, to carry things, or to be home to an animal? Brainstorm other ways a basket can be used. Will it hang from a wall? Will someone use it? From your list, pick one purpose.

Second, make a list of different materials that can a basket can be made from. Choose one material to use when creating your basket.

Third, think about how you can make your basket unique. Remember it needs to achieve its purpose.

Fourth, sketch out your design.

Fifth, gather materials you will need and begin to create your basket. Don’t worry if your design does not work at first. Sometimes it takes several tries and revision before it works. Your design may take on a different approach than what you originally thought and that is okay.

Sixth, elaborate on your basket design. What embellishments or decorations would you like to add (or not add)? What can be added or taken away to improve your basket’s function?

Seventh, proudly use and display your basket.

You can also use this creative thinking technique called Scamper to help you design your basket.

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 perspectives. Turn 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.


To learn more about Catriona Pollard and her creative process, visit: http://www.catrionapollard.com/art/  and watch this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZHySibDdoA

To practice your weaving skills, create an easy paper basket: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX2Tw40K5DY