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Friday, March 7, 2014

The Birthplace of Out-Of-The-Box Thinking

Lessons Learned

Paper or Plastic?



We talk about the “jump” from ordinary to extraordinary in most any department and we realize that the “jump” we are speaking of, in a word, is the infusion of “creativity.” Creativity, as a full byproduct of a busy imagination, sees the infinite potential dwelling within the bounds of the ordinary, and then can see beyond that to the path that will lead to extraordinary brilliance. Creativity is imagination affirmed. Creativity is imagination with confidence. Creativity creates extraordinary. We plant the seeds for this type of thinking in children when they are very young and quite honestly, it requires a rather counter-cultural perspective. Marketers, who instruct our behavior, and the Joneses, with whom we love to keep up, might suggest or expect that we fill our toy boxes with the latest, greatest, flashiest, costliest items or gadgets or e-games, most of which make spectators of our children, but I would contest that the deepest, truest seeds of creativity are not found amongst these impressive devices. Out-of-the-box thinking comes from out-of-the-box toys; no surprise. Brown paper bags, for instance, offer limitless possibilities for anything anyone might need. From book covers, to drawing paper, puppets and crowns, from bricks(when stuffed), pirate maps, and  birthday cards, to trees(when duct-taped together), wreaths, and journals, from wrapping paper, fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie cooling paper, and cowboy vests, to masks, helmets, and valentines, and on and on and on out to the edges of one’s imagination, brown paper bags do it all and regularly make the “jump” from ordinary to extraordinary in the course of creative play. And they cost nothing more than the correct answer to the perpetual grocery store question, “Paper or plastic?” Paper, of course! Tinfoil, duct tape, pipe cleaners, empty thread spools, popsicle sticks, and countless other ordinary, inexpensive items would fill the toy box in the home of creativity seed planters. For our children to think creatively, they must play creatively, and to play creatively, they must be given simple, ordinary tools with which their extraordinary imaginations may work to create wonderful, magical, unique brilliance.