Exploring For Creativity

My kids love to “go exploring” and on adventures. It is fun and exciting for them, and me. Visiting new places and seeing new things can be not only educational but give plenty of creative input. Exploring is important for creativity. Visiting places can help us see not only what is there but see it in a new way. Watching people and how they behave can help us see how they are different and the same as us. Exploring also gives us the chance to experience new things or see things in a new way.

There are different types of exploration. One is to have an organized approach. Planned out field trips are typical, organized explorations. They have a specific purpose or activity in mind. If you are creating your own organized exploration you can make a list of things to see or do. You could also just have an objective or purpose in mind. On-the-go exploration is much looser. We go just to discover, look and have fun. The experience is just as important as meeting an objective. We explore ways, an organized approach and an on-the-go approach, frequently.

So what is there to explore? No matter where you live or what your circumstances are you can find something to explore for creativity.

  • Places
  • People
  • Things

Places

Places are what most people think about when you mention exploration. Any place new is fun to learn about by exploring it. Walking around, looking closely and noticing everything or just what inspires is a great way to enrich creativity. Taking field trips to different places is another great way to explore. Visiting places that you’ve already been to can still inspire creativity. Looking for “new” things or different things can give us a surge of inspiration when seeing someplace we’ve visited many times before. Places to visit might include:

  • Woods
  • Beach
  • Museum
  • Parks
  • Stores
  • Banks
  • Yard
  • Relatives’ Houses
  • Place of Worship

Things

Exploring “things” as a creative endeavor for us is fun, educational and inspiring. Taking apart an old, non-working appliance is something my kids love to do. Using parts from old bikes, lawn mowers, and other non-working items is a project that they enjoy working on for hours, sometimes even days. Many of these “thing” explorations are on-the-go projects that the kids just want to have fun doing. Other times we have projects that we actually use directions or even kits. The latest was a small, ready to assembly, remote control drone. STEM/STEAM projects fit well into this area. Science labs also are a nice addition for exploration. Not only are these projects educational but also good for creative inspiration.

People

People are interesting to think about as “exploration”. They come in all shapes, sizes, ages, cultural background, job experience and more. We can see people and be creatively inspired by them visually. We can also learn about them and find creative ideas through different experiences involving people. These experiences might include:

  • Visiting a nursing home
  • Going to a cultural event
  • Volunteering
  • Watching people at the park
  • Interviewing people

Explorer’s Kit

Over the years we have made our own Explorer’s Kits to take with us on our adventures. A kit can be simple or complex, depending on what, where, when and who you might be exploring. Our kits can include:

  • Backpack or Bag (long shoulder strap)
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Zip-top Baggies (different sizes)
  • Tape (masking, transparent and/or double-sided)
  • Scissors
  • Paper/Notepad
  • Pencils/Crayons/Markers
  • Camera/Smart Phone
  • Tape Recorder/Voice Recorder
  • Folder
  • Sticky Notes
  • Binoculars

You need something to carry all your kit in and a small backpack or bag with a shoulder-strap works well. It also is has space to store things you gather while exploring. A magnifying glass and binoculars let you look at things from a different perspective. Looking closely at things with a magnifying glass gives you a unique look at objects than you would normally have. The same is true of getting a closer view of things that you might usually see only from a distance. Zip-top bags are great for bring home treasures gathered on your explorations, especially messy, wet or sticky things. Tape can be used to securely close containers, attach things to one another or keep things in place. Scissors can be used to cut up paper, cut off leaves or flowers (if allowed and/or appropriate) and take samples of items (if allowed and/or appropriate).

Paper, notebooks, notepads and pencils, crayons or markers are needed for taking notes and making drawing or sketches. A camera is great for keeping a record of what you are exploring and also for use as inspiration or even in a creative project. A tape recorder or voice recorder of some sort is good to use with interviews or to keep a record of sounds as you explore. A smart phone can replace the camera and the recorder so you won’t need to take extra items and the kids are capable of and you don’t mind them using it. We usually take a pocket folder to keep any pamphlets, handouts or documentation that we gather on our explorations. We also have sticky notes on hand so add notes to documentation. If you are exploring things your kit might include tools along with the rest of the items mentioned. Depending on the type of objects you are exploring would determine what tools you would need.

Do your kids like to “go exploring?” Where and what do they like to explore? I’d love to hear about your explorations in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to sign-up for the Homeschooling With Tea’s mailing list.

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