Free Activity: SCAMPER A Holiday Decoration

A graphic promoting SCAMPER, a holiday decoration with a blue outline of a reindeer. The background includes holiday-themed icons. Text reads "SCAMPER A HOLIDAY DECORATION" and "#TrackSCAMPER". This fun activity integrates elements of the k12 entrepreneur curriculum. VentureLab logo at bottom.

You’ve heard of Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen… but do you recall the most creative reindeer of all? SCAMPER!

SCAMPER is sure to inspire learners of all ages and makes a perfect learning extension activity for the whole family to do together during the holiday break. This activity combines seasonal cheer with the entrepreneurial spirit!

Entrepreneurs observe, identify, and act to solve problems. They get a lot of ideas for new businesses by thinking about how they could change things and how they could make life better for people. We call this opportunity seeking.

You show the opportunity seeking mindset when you:

  • Find quicker ways to clean your room.
  • Suggest another way to solve a problem to your science lab partners.
  • Figure out a new way to improve your product to better help your customers.

Activity: SCAMPER A Holiday Decoration

SCAMPER is an acronym for a useful list of words that act as a stimulus to help people think creatively while seeking opportunities. It can be applied to a wide variety of different situations or challenges. Each of the words is an active verb that encourages action-oriented thoughts and ideas.

1. Introduce the concept of SCAMPER: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate, Reverse. SCAMPER is a focused brainstorming technique that many entrepreneurs use to help then rethink a problem and to come up with new ideas.

2. Guide students through an example by asking them to reimagine a cheese pizza:

  • What could be substituted in a cheese pizza to come up with something new? (A gluten free crust, dairy-free cheese, pesto instead of tomato sauce)
  • What could be combined? (Sauce and cheese combined rather than layered, cheese combined into the crust)
  • What could be adapted? (Different mix of cheese, different sauce recipe)
  • How could the pizza (or ingredients) be put to other uses? Sprinkle cheese over a salad, make pasta with sauce)
  • What could be eliminated? (Cheese, sauce, crust, ingredients in those things)
  • What could be reversed? (Cheese could go on crust with sauce on top, cheese and sauce could be cooked and melted together and then put on crust)
A snowglobe SCAMPERed to include a dinosaur!

3. Once you’ve walked students through the pizza example, let them know they’re going to be thinking about any decoration or ornament used for a holiday celebration using SCAMPER. Hand out the SCAMPER student sheet.

4. After they’ve completed the SCAMPER student sheet, have students pick one of their ideas and build a simple prototype out of household materials like paper, tape, ribbons, pipe cleaners, play-dough, and cardboard! (Or, if supplies are available, build the real thing.)

5. Proudly display your new holiday decor! You’ve just practiced creativity, opportunity seeking, and thinking like an entrepreneur.

BONUS: Share a photo of your finished decoration on social media by tagging @ourventurelab and using the hashtag #TrackSCAMPER to help us track SCAMPER’s travels around the globe!

Download SCAMPER student sheet


This activity comes from VentureLab’s caregiver workbook! Want more entrepreneurship resources and activities emailed to you each month? Join our monthly resource newsletter!



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