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Color Outside The Lines

Let's see what kind of pictures kids can draw when given just a basic shape like a square or circle.

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Written by DeletedUser

When I was in elementary school, I was asked by my teacher to take a test for entrance into the Gifted and Talented Program. To this day, I can remember nothing else about that exam except being given a piece of paper with a circle on it and asked to complete the picture. I remember turing the circle into the face of a girl with long hair holding an umbrella in the middle of the street. It seems simple now, but for a 2nd grader, it was enough to get me into the program. 

This memory resurfaced for me today when one of the most creative and entrepreneurial-minded friends was doodling in class. This took me back to my elementary school days when we had the time and luxury to let our minds wander and draw whatever popped into our free flowing minds. I would like to channel this creativity through transformation of simple shapes into drawings that tell a story. I think when kids are challenged to turn something from rudimentary to comprehensive, it truly spurs their creative juices.  

In this challenge, we want to create ideas with young people, not for them. Outline how you’re planning to involve young people or other end-users (parents, teachers, etc) in designing, iterating or testing your idea during the Ideas phase.

This could be a simple activity that students can do in school, home, or anywhere! In school, it could be a quick 5 minute exercise that the teacher could implement 5 minutes before the students are dismissed. At home, the parents could instill a "sketch" table where there would be drawing utensils and papers with just shapes.

How might you envision your idea spreading across geographies or cultures so that it inspires young people around the world to cultivate their creative confidence?

Pictures are universal. They can be interpreted in any which way, which makes this concept easily adaptable by any culture.

What skills, input or guidance would you like to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Do you think this is an effective activity? How could this idea be improved? Are there any other ideas that can incorporate drawings into spurring creativity?


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This is a nice play on the stereotypical tasks we get set at first school, I wonder if it could be developed towards older children.

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