Our family is about to embark on a new chapter. My oldest is getting ready to go to college… with early graduation. He wants to do so many things and learn everything I know. With him leaving early and the constant navigation of life’s hurdles, I am ultimately unprepared to share the things he wants to know before he actually leaves.
If only I could download my brain into an external drive, but where’s the great backstory in that? Every experience, lesson, success and failure is brought together from our own unique lives. While we may not be the most famous or well known, the way we take on a project or problem is definitely ours alone.
Creativity on a budget
School projects, costumes, birthday parties, and even our own wedding have always been created with the slightest budget, whatever is available on hand, plus the knowledge and skills of friends and family to help with the execution. Food, fashion, fun and games… whatever inspires and moves us!
We are always striving to make things that are wacky and wild, crazy and cool, imaginative and inspirational or just freaky and fantastical. We like to test things out and learn what doesn’t work.
Problem solving possibilities
The idea for this blog hasn’t just cropped up out of nowhere. My youngest often says
I don’t know what to make…
I don’t know how to make it…
I don’t know what to do…
He has ideas, but sometimes can’t find the best way to make it. I want to give him a chance to gain more experience, learn new skills and break down the problem solving process himself. The goal is to be able to apply creativity and problem solving to any challenge in life.
With my boys, we take a look at what’s around us, what we can use and what we need to find… stick around. We’ll share our discoveries as we deconstruct, debunk and experiment.
It’s time to start our compendium of the journey so far… soon they will add their own stories to help us all stay connected no matter how far away they go.
Problem Solving Mode … and so it begins
Why this blog? I am in problem solving mode… I am doing this for my boys. As an adult I now know there are so many things I should have learned early on but back then I didn’t know to ask. I look back and think I should have been more assertive. Sometimes you have to put it out there. Try and describe it as best you can. Get others to help you figure things out.
I know even as old as I am, I text my dad to pick his brain. How should I approach a building project I’m working on? Or I will ask my mom her opinion on some design I have in mind. With problem solving I combine my creative thinking with critical thinking. I like to keep snippets of things that I think of even if I don’t know what I will do with it yet. For example, I have folders and scrapbooks full of notes and ideas of possibilities from when I was a kid. It’s not always something you physically need, sometimes it’s something you want to learn. Now, I use Pinterest to organize my thoughts. From there, I build boards with my ideas and eventually they come together like pieces of a puzzle. You really never know where inspiration will come from…
Do your research
My oldest is great at looking at something and figuring out how it works without anyone explaining it. Also, his ideas about what he would like to make are amazing, but doesn’t always know how to do it. So he does a lot of research. He looks at what is possible and often comes up with his own designs based on his knowledge and experience.
Getting into problem solving mode
My youngest knows and understands a few things like Minecraft and Legos really well. So sticking with what he knows, he can create totally new things without instruction, but using new media has been a challenge. He has a really great imagination with creative design ideas, but he can’t always break down and analyze this process to actually create the invention he has in mind.
We have noticed a change in education where students are taught to stick to conventional solutions where they don’t consider all the possibilities. Most kids have answers presented to them without having to explore, investigate, tinker and test just so they can pass. They are often taught there is only one right answer. By teaching our kids how to problem solve, they can not only help themselves out of any situation, they can help us improve the world we live in. The goal here is to work on our creative thinking and boost our critical thinking so we can get into the problem solving mode.
This blog will keep track of all our experiments and things we learn. Stick around and let’s see where this takes us!
The Traveler: Illustration 93759929 © Grandfailure – Dreamstime.com
Creative Project: Illustration 133315654 © Mast3r – Dreamstime.com