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Update/Participate: Let's Create! Children thrive when adults model creative curiosity & confidence

Parents routinely say “I can’t draw. etc.” We give adults positive creative experiences. Facilitators inspire with creative projects (art, poetry, welding…) Adults share (anonymously/virtually) with a small community for support/encouragement.

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Check out the 3 Let's Create Projects Posted below for the Refinement / Prototyping Phase and feel free to participate yourself or send the links to anyone you know who might be interested.

Here's a start - some Tangram Sandwich Projects coming in... Feel free to email yours to the link in the instructions below. And please leave comments on the Pinterest postings to offer encouragement and support to the creators of these Projects! 

And here's the start to the Side by Side Portrait Project

And the Music Muse Project

Let's Create! (Online Creative Confidence-building Experiences for Adults) are small online classes / communities of parents / adults who recognize the importance of modeling creative confidence for (their) children.It’s an easy first step to take with others who are all starting from the exact same point of creative insecurity.

Parents (or any adult who wants to participate) choose from a menu of creative endeavors: for example, drawing, comics, dance, poetry, welding, collaging, creative writing, singing, etc. to enroll in a Let's Create! community. Each Let's Create! community is limited to ~20 participants. Every member of that community then watches an inspiring video that describes a creative project* and guides the participants with specific do’s and don’ts to get them past their hesitancies. Each project has a due date by which time the participant scans and uploads their project to the Let's Create! site. Everyone’s work is anonymous and is visible only to others within that community. The facilitator and participants then provide positive feedback to each other’s work ... every member is encouraged to comment on everyone else’s work. The Let's Create community then continues with other projects.

* the creative projects are designed to help adults get past their inhibitions. For example: a drawing project might be to use line, color, shapes to convey an emotion as opposed to a representational drawing (we could use some help here… see below).

This concept was inspired by themes that emerged from discussions at both the Pratt and NYU Poly OpenIDEO meetings / OpenStorms held over the last week.

Refinement / Prototyping UPDATE: We have spoken with a range of art teachers and other who have expertise in the 'creative engagement arena.' I also got together with Rachael Barrett and Bettina Fliegel (OpenIDEO NYC members) to brainstorm ideas for prototyping Let's Create. Between all these interaction we came up with a series of projects. Rachael has agreed to prototype and idea she contributed, a community-created poem. We will post that Let's Create Community Poem Project #4 when it is completed at the end of this Refinement Phase.  We will post instructions / worksheets for the other projects below, over the next few days.  Please feel free to participate - or to forward one or more of the projects below to people you know (preferably parents / adults who interact with kids). Here is the list of the projects we are prototyping. Details / Instructions for all (similar to the one for Project 1 posted below) will be posted soon.  Thanks!!

Project 1 - Tangram Sandwich / Personalized (Parents of very young children)           Grab the instructions & try it out!

Project 2 - Parent / Child: Side by side portraits of each other on the same page

Check out the instructions and give it a go!

Project 3: Drawing to music / Drawing the music / Drawing with movement

Jump in and have some fun!

Project 4: Community Poem

*New* Refinement question: What will the future look like with your idea in it?

Thinking big and bold and optimistically… Let’s Create! will be the start of a movement to embolden a generation of adults (parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles teachers and mentors…) to actively cultivate their own creative confidence in order to cultivate the creative confidence of the younger generation. My encounters during the Refinement stage have brought me face to face with the deeply ingrained creative inhibitions and insecurities of parents / adults, especially when confronted with the proposition that their actions, attitudes and behaviors had a direct impact on the creative confidence of the young people in their lives. I see this not as an obstacle, but rather as an opportunity and an imperative. In order to realize the vision of this concept I envision a 3-pronged approach: Top Down; Bottom Up; and Center Out Top Down: Anecdotally, one hears of many creatively confident young people who have a creatively confident parent or other adult in their lives. However, this idea has not been tested. To validate this concept / movement it would be very powerful to identify or sponsor research (prospective or retrospective) that tests the central hypotheses: young people are more likely to develop creative confidence if they are exposed to adults who are themselves creatively confident. For example one retrospective analysis would be to identify a group of confident 10-15 year-olds and a group of age matched individuals who are not confident and then determine with an interview if the individuals had significant contact with a creatively confident adult. Perhaps the Kelley brothers could perform this analysis on the 10-year-olds with whom they have interacted when they identified this age as the inflection point for loss of creative confidence. Bottom Up: I envision this movement starting in a very grassroots ways by parents starting small, intimate Let’s Create Creativity Confidence-building Groups (a la Mommy & Me Groups or Book Groups) for whom the Let’s Create! website is both a resource for a wide range of Projects and also a platform for sharing, supporting and encouraging each other, and the larger community of Let’s Creators. Social media and other promotional tools could be used to add momentum to this movement and to share its impact over time. Center Out: Both the Top Down and Bottom Up approaches will fuel a conversation to expand the meaning of ‘what is creativity?’ and thus what it really means to model creative confidence. If we define creative confidence as “The natural human ability to come up with breakthrough ideas combined with the courage to act on them,” it is just as important to apply this definition to all spheres of human endeavor from arts to science to communication and more. For example, imagine a child asks you “why is the center of a flame blue?” (apologies to Allen Alda / The Center for Communicating Science). You could just go to the internet and find a good video (for example: that explains the phenomenon of oxidation / OR you could learn about oxidation yourself and come up with your own way of explaining it to your child through a puppet show or a story or drawings or experiments or other hands-on experiences that allow you to communicate creatively with the child. That’s modeling creative confidence! The sharing of these and other creative-confidence building projects, tools and ideas will be part of the Let’s Create platform and movement.

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.

If there is interest, we may try this out with some parents of young children that we know – giving them a drawing assignment and asking them to email it back to me and then I’ll share the completed drawings (anonymously – if that’s important) back to the group and collect feedback / comments … etc.

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?

Let's Create! communities could attract parents / adults from all many geographies and / or there could be Let's Create communities and experiences in different languages.

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

We could use some help thinking about what kinds of creative projects would be most helpful. Perhaps there are educators on the platform who know of specific creative projects that work well to help the uninitiated get past their insecurities.

Evaluation results

12 evaluations so far

1. How well do you feel this idea could inspire young people to cultivate their creative confidence?

Really well – feels like this idea would kickstart creative confidence in young people everywhere - 33.3%

It's getting there – but it seems to need further work to really inspire creative confidence - 58.3%

I don't think this idea would significantly inspire young people's creative confidence - 8.3%

2. Does this idea have enough momentum behind it to successfully spread and scale to diverse groups of young people globally?

Absolutely – it's inspiring, engaging and I'm sure young people everywhere would be excited to participate - 8.3%

Maybe, but we'd need to figure out more details to really help this idea get adopted more widely - 75%

Nope, I don't see this idea having global appeal for diverse audiences of young people - 16.7%

3. Does this idea show potential for lasting impact on generations of young people and their creative confidence?

This idea seems to have staying power and could impact young people for years to come - 33.3%

I think there's potential for lasting impact but it's not totally clear what that would look like - 58.3%

It feels like this idea is more of a short-term solution that may not last into the future - 8.3%

4. Would this idea appeal to young people who are already creatively confident as well as those who are not?

Absolutely – it would be appealling and accessible to young people of all creative levels and abilities - 50%

Probably – but young people who don't consider themselves very creative might need a little extra support or coaching - 50%

Not really – this idea is really best suited for young people who already see themselves as creatively confident - 0%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

It rocked my world - 25%

I liked it but preferred others - 50%

It didn't get me overly excited - 25%

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Attachments (3)


Let's Create Project 1: Tangram Sandwich


Let's Create Project 2: Side By Side Portraits


Let's Create Project 3: Music / Muse


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This is a great thing to share with kids and families. =D

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Moreover I think that It could work really well, and a lot of people would like to use it.

Photo of Sylvia Stein

Thanks Belen - I'm glad you like this approach. I agree that the ' all family' approach does seem to be the way to get adults involved in the creative confidence-building community. Thanks for your enthusiasm!

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