Play and being playful are considered cornerstones of creativity and idea generation. There is significant evidence that many groundbreaking products and services were developed through playing with ideas, materials, and products.
Play itself gives us a fresh perspective, and according to American Academy of Pediatrics, “Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st century skills, such as problem solving, collaboration, and creativity, which require the executive functioning skills that are critical for adult success.”
Play helps entrepreneurs innovate because it’s risk free; there’s no judgment or failure when you’re playing. We can make and build, create new worlds and personas, play new games, and experiment without consequences.
This is an improvisation game where students take an ordinary object and transform it into ANYTHING they can think of, either real or imaginary. As the object is passed around the group, each person adds their idea of what that object could become. The aim is to have fun, confidently share ideas, build community, and show students how play leads into creative ways of thinking and doing.
Activity: This Is Not…
1. Let students select an object (a pencil, a box of tissues, a shell, a spoon) available in the room.
2. Have students form a circle.
3. Tell students they will use their imagination to transform the object into something new and create a sound and/or movement to go along with the object’s new identity. Model this by holding the object in your hands and saying, “This is not a pencil, this is an elephant.” As you say elephant, bring the pencil to your nose, pretending it’s an elephant trunk and make an elephant sound.
4. Have everyone in the circle repeat the statement, “This is not a pencil, this is an elephant” and mimics the sound and gesture. (Counting to 3 helps everyone to start at the same time.)
5. The object is then placed in the center of the circle and any student with an idea can take it (or the object can also be passed to the left or right).
6. A student takes the object in their hands and says, “This is not a(n) _______, this is a(n) _______.” and makes a movement and sound. All students repeat in unison, “This is not a(n) _______, this is a(n) _______.” and mimic the movement and sound.
6. Repeat step 5.
This activity comes from VentureLab’s caregiver workbook! Want more entrepreneurship resources and activities emailed to you each month? Join our monthly resource newsletter!