The spoooooky season is here and with it comes SO MANY opportunities to get kids’ creative juices flowing!
If you’ve attended one of our summer camps, you know that at Galileo, we love challenging campers to fire up their imaginations and approach the world with a VISIONARY, COURAGEOUS, COLLABORATIVE, REFLECTIVE and DETERMINED mindset as part of our Galileo Innovative Approach.
But this innovative mindset isn’t just for summer camp. If kids work on honing their innovation skills year round, they’ll develop lasting confidence to share their ideas freely, create boldly and persist through new challenges!
Here are just a few fun ideas for getting your creative kids into the innovative spirit this fall.
When you carve pumpkins every year, it can be easy to get in a rut. So, if you can already make a pretty good triangle-eyes-and-toothy-grin face, why not try something new? This year, encourage your kids to come up with pumpkin designs the world has never seen before:
- Challenge your jack-o’-artists to think about different emotions, people, animals or interests that might inspire a one-of-a-kind design. Look to favorite seasonal books or movies, search online or simply check out neighbors’ porches to spark inspiration.
- Think outside the box when it comes to the medium. What size, shape and color of pumpkin will bring the idea to life? What happens if you turn a pumpkin sideways or upside down or stack it with other gourds? Will the design be carved, painted, stenciled or something else? Will it have any three-dimensional elements or accessories?
- Once you have some ideas, experiment on paper to workshop different designs and figure out which will translate best to a pumpkin canvas.
When it comes to a truly VISIONARY design, the only limit is your kids’ imaginations—all you have to do is remind them that they have what it takes to turn their wildest pumpkin ideas into porch-ready realities.
Fall is full of delicious flavors and tried-and-true recipes. This season, try a twist on a kid-friendly cooking project that challenges your chefs-in-training to be a little brave:
- Pick a simple, classic fall recipe that’s ripe for a fresh approach—think pumpkin pie, apple cider or zucchini bread.
- Brainstorm some ingredients that might taste delicious in your recipe, but that you’ve never put in (or maybe even tasted!) before. What if you added chocolate chips to your pie, or topped it with coconut whipped cream? Could you spice up your cider with rosemary or cardamom or lime zest? Would raisins or parmesan cheese complement your bread? Get as creative as you can!
- Try your innovative new ingredients in small servings. Turn your bread into muffins with unique additions in each cup, steep individual mugs of cider with different herbs/spices/zest in each or top each slice (or bite) of pie with a distinct trial topping—then taste and evaluate your choices.
Anyone can follow a recipe for a traditional dish. Remind kids that being COURAGEOUS by stepping outside their comfort zone might lead to some incredible discoveries. Even if coconut or cardamom doesn’t become their favorite ingredient, it could inspire other creations and lead to fun future cooking projects.
Halloween costumes are more fun with family and friends! Even if your kids don’t want to participate in a group costume, coming up with annual ensembles as a team leads to awesomer results all around:
- Round up your kids, along with as many other friends and family members as you like (the more brains the better!), for a costume brainstorming session.
- Get the ideas flowing—without judgment!—with a few Galileo-approved brainstorming techniques:
- Write down all the things you love and try mashing them together in fun ways (Roller skating puppy! Butterfly cheeseburger!)
- Write down a bunch of random nouns and adjectives on individual slips of paper and put them in two separate bags. Draw a word from each bag and put them together.
- Find one great item from the closet or a past costume and generate ideas for how to incorporate it into this year’s costume. Last year’s green Peter Pan tights could be the start of this year’s witch, cactus or frog. Or a headlamp could illuminate a submarine or jack-o-lantern costume.
- Work as a team to narrow down options to one everyone is especially excited about. If you need help deciding, think about what’s achievable given the time/materials/expertise on hand.
When choosing a costume becomes a COLLABORATIVE effort, kids get access to a whole new world of perspectives and ideas they can build on, adapt and make their own. Who knows what creepy, quirky, creative costume ideas they might discover?
Give your kids a fun opportunity to explore their autumnal surroundings and strengthen their persistence skills with a fall-focused scavenger hunt:
- Make a list of fall-themed things for your kids to do or find around the neighborhood, during a hike or on a visit to the pumpkin patch. Aim to challenge them at whatever age they are. Younger kids could try to find something prickly or draw a pumpkin they see, while older kids could be tasked with building a sturdy twig sculpture or finding five distinct types of leaves. Find inspiration (or ready-made hunts like this one) online if you don’t want to start from scratch.
- Make a goal of completing the list with a fun reward for checking off every item, like picking out a special pumpkin or getting to choose the playlist on the way home.
- Help them to keep their goal in mind, even if they get discouraged or run into roadblocks. If their drawing doesn’t turn out the way they envisioned or their tower falls down, ask them what happened the first time around and see if they can use what they learned to try again.
Being DETERMINED isn’t always easy, but it’s so rewarding to work hard to accomplish a goal. Finding small opportunities for kids to practice persistence is a great way to prepare them for bigger challenges down the road.
While mirrors could make fun fall decorations, the reflection we mean here is all about contemplating the work you’re doing and trying to make it better. This season, invite your kids to decorate your door (or porch, or window, or table) in thoughtful style:
- Before starting on your fall decorating project, talk about what you’ve done (or haven’t done) in years past and/or decorations you’ve seen elsewhere and ask some questions: What works well? What doesn’t work so well? How might you tweak something you’ve done or seen to make it work better? Who is the audience for your decorations (neighbors, family, friends)? How might you keep them in mind as you plan your decorations?
- Whatever decorating strategy you decide on—a front stoop stacked with gourds and corn stalks, a spooky skeleton on the front door, homemade bats hanging in the windows—take time to reflect as you create. Step back and think about how well the reality of your décor aligns with your vision or whether you need to make adjustments moving forward.
- Ask for feedback to improve as you go! A friend or neighbor might have a great idea to help take your decorations to the next level.
It can be daunting for kids to really evaluate their work and ask other people to weigh in on it, but being REFLECTIVE in service of a fun and low-stakes project can help them grow into more open, gritty, creatively confident humans.