FROM SIMONE – Most volunteers I have worked with were, to start with, adept of the belief that they were not creative people. Other popular beliefs were that you were either born creative or not and that their ideas were never fun or funny.
I would like to demystify these 3 beliefs. Everybody can be creative and have fun or funny ideas, the more you exercise your creative muscle the more natural it will become to you. Talking about exercising normally leads to the impression that being creative then will take time, much the opposite.
While studying advertising at University I remember vividly our Teacher for the subject of creativity, (yes we do study it in advertising, which is proof that it can be learnt) saying that “The best idea is not the best but the first”. In fact I heard the same motto again later at a creativity course for the playroom too, but what does this mean? When we had brainstorming sessions at the advertising agency everybody would come in, even the cleaners, and throw in the first thing that came into their heads, why? because the first idea is not censored, it is not studied so it is more likely to be funnier, wittier, unexpected. That’s how children function so to work with children it is definitely a hit! While choosing the wrong logo for a company could cost you millions, frankly having an idea that your child is not going to enjoy won’t do any harm so what have you got to lose or fear?
Exercising having ideas at the spear of the moment or improvising is a great tool for the playroom where we need to be flexible and go with the child, who we never know how is going to react.
I had this idea some time ago for practising improvising with my volunteers at meetings and realized while talking to another fellow Son-Rise Mum that she did exactly the same and it also worked so well for her team so I decided to share it with you here.
There is a Program on American/Canadian/British TV called “Whose line is it anyway?” I put an example here for you, in which comedians have to improvise each act after being given some clues. I just use the same games they use in the Program with the volunteers who normally have a lot of fun and the exercises help them also to loosen up. Here are some examples:
Prop – Give your volunteers a strange prop, create yourself something with Styrofoam or use a part from some kitchen device like a food processor and get them to in turns think of uses for them, they could be glasses, hats, spaceships etc
Crazy Party – One volunteer is the party host while the others are guests in the party, each guest is going to receive a card with what or who they are supposed to be in the party and the party host needs to guess who or what they are. Have fun creating funny possibilities such as Turtle racing the rare, Cheshire cat, A car with no brakes, for the guests to act out, the possibilities and fun are endless.
Standing, Sitting, Lying down – Three volunteers act out a scenario you give them, for example you are at the dentist and the dentist mistakes chili paste for your filling, you try to tell him but can’t speak with your mouth being held open by an instrument. One person is the dentist, the other the dentist assistant and the other the patient and they have to act out the scene but as long as at any given moment one person is standing, another sitting and another lying down. When you say change they have to change their positions but remain one on each different position. You can’t have two people sitting or standing at the same time, for example.
Blind Date Program – Two or three volunteers are at a blind date Program and another is the candidate looking for a date. The candidate asks questions such as where would you take me for a romantic dinner or what is your favorite hobby and the dates have to respond according to the card he/she has been given to impersonate, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine or Peter Pan and the candidate has to guess after a few questions who they are.
Sound Effects – One person acts out a given scene the other has to make the sound effects for the scene as in this funny example:
Wishing you loads of fun with your volunteers at your next meeting!