It's school holidays (well here in Victoria it is) and it has been interesting thinking back on the programs I've run. Everything has involved massive use of imagination for the children.

One of the definitions of imagination I like is.... 
:a creation of the mind, especially an idealised or poetic creation.

Sometimes though we expect our imagination to just burst forth on demand. Sometimes it takes time. A warm up, stretch or two. 

During the holidays we had our Lego Club. I had the kids making Lego cars propelled by balloons. We also had to make catapults....both of these inventions had to work. The cars had to travel, the catapults had to....well...pult.

So the children had to think, then try, then re-think. Consider why their car wasn't moving...perhaps too heavy, balloon too close to the wheels. Catapults had to work (I had lollies flying everywhere).

It was interesting to see so many different options...once the kids got going.

Another program I did was Blackout Poetry.

I had run this program last year to great success and once again we had a great turnout of children. Once again the first twenty minutes was filled with 'I can't do this,' and 'I don't know how to make a poem'.

But once they got the hang of it, once they began, there was no stopping them. So many created poem after poem....and I just loved the look of pride on their faces with the finished works.

My last program was a Storytime called 'What's in the Useful Box'.  I read stories about imagination and creativity then they were left to build.

We had boxes and egg cartons, tubes and straws, pipe cleaners and aluminium foil. Coloured paper, sticky tape and glue.

Once again after a very slow 'I don't know what to make' start...we had some awesome creations.

It's often the way that telling someone to go and be very daunting. Nothing happens. We tend to wait, perhaps for the muse to strike, for inspiration to arrive.

I have found that starting, even if you have no clear idea where you are headed, is the key. It's a bit like a warm up. You are stretching your imagination.

If you are making a craft, after stitching perhaps a rock, it's getting the whole idea together. Add a star fish, some reeds and heh presto, half a page is created.

The same with writing. Often the best thing is just to write. Work yourself into it. Write for ten minutes, fifteen minutes. It may be crap. In fact most of it could be subconscious drivel...with perhaps a golden line or two. But once you get going, the writing becomes easier.

You have warmed up. Got inspired.

Sometimes it comes easily. Ideas flood in and we are inundated. Often choosing which one to go with is the problem.

But, for me, I find that sitting at the computer and just beginning really helps. I know I can go back afterwards and delete or edit or simply ignore...and keep on writing. Before I know it, I'm back 'in the zone' and the writing flows.

In every one of the programs I ran these past few weeks, it took the children a while to get involved. They were eager but unsure. Once their imagination was fully switched on, then amazing things were created.

It's something I should take to heart. Realisation that like all muscles, our imagination needs to be worked on. Give it a stretch, few warm up exercises....then go for it.



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