Step Two : Brainstorming
As we move on through the Creative Process, we are at Step 2, Brainstorming! We are going to spend a lot of time here. Brainstorming is an often over-looked but vital part of the creative process. I stress it a lot to my young designers. First, because I know there is so much creativity locked inside their brains. Second, because I know they can be impatient to get to the next steps of designing.
Brainstorming is as easy, or hard, as thinking! It is the process of imagining all of the possibilities for your design. If you don't do justice to this step, your students will use the first idea that comes to their mind, and it will probably be the first idea that comes to everyone else’s mind as well.
When done right, brainstorming can be a whole lot of fun!
Here are 5 Brainstorming Acitivities that can be adapted for any age :
Simple List :
For starters, have the students start throwing out every word that comes to their mind when they think about the project. Set a number goal of at least 50, and they can’t stop until they have that many words.
Complex List :
For older kids, you can organize your list into columns. Here are some examples as we continue with "The Farm Store" project from Step One.
Taking a Break
If your kids seem stuck, just move on. You can brainstorm more the next day. A good break can often help you look at something from a new angle.
These activities are designed to get your creative juices flowing! The kids always love these. They can take anywhere from 5-30 minutes. Even if it is unrelated to your project, it will provide a good break and the kids may come up with a quirky, but brilliant, connection to their actual project.
Here are a few creative excersise that I love :
5 Mini Design Excercises to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
12 Icebreakers to kick start your Brainstorm
Geometric Art Worksheets
Roll-A-Dice Story Telling
My favorite place to look for inspiration is children's books. The colorful illustrations and creative stories can spark an idea in my head for something completely unrelated. For this particular project, you could bring in a few children’s farm books or a food pyramid nutrition guide. Or maybe google “farm photography”. What you do NOT want to do is google “farm logo” as it will be too tempting to copy something you see.
If you have the time/space, you could take the kids on a short walk outside. Have everyone bring a paper and pencil so that they can write and sketch ideas that inspire them. If space and time do not permit, assign it as a home project.
In class you can prepare a list of questions that the students can ask their parents, relatives or neighbors. If you have identified the “Who” from Step One, encourage them to talk to people in that category. In "The Farm Store" project, it will be primarily women who grocery shop . Sample questions for this project are :
“What grocery stores do you shop at and why?
“What is your favorite color?”
“What do you think of when I say “Farm?”
“Which foods do you buy the most?”
The students can bring back their answers and discuss with the class about any new words or thoughts that they hadn’t thought of, and if there were any patterns in the answers.
Once that you feel the topic has been adequately explored, you can move on to Thumbnail sketches. The brainstorming process isn’t actually over, but it will take a different turn in the next lesson!
Luke and I are married and have four little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, education and graphic design.
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