Creativity Camp at Soho House!

This past weekend we hosted our first Creativity Camp for Families at Soho House Toronto. It was such a great event. We had kids of all ages, parents, grandparents, twins and sibling groups dancing, playing and collaging together.

Though this weekend’s programming was aimed at kids aged 6-12 we had two super toddlers get in on the action and they were great. They drew and toddled and explored. It was a fantastic reminder that creativity is about having fun first and that age limits certainly don’t apply on that front.

As mentioned we had an awesomely adventurous pair of twins who were bubbly and full of stories about their favourite arts activities as their dad and grandmother shared in the fun. Two brothers and a sister brought their dad  too which was great and not only did they make some amazing sketchpad collages but the boys got straight down to work filling the books with awesome drawings while their little sister showed off some fantastic dance moves.

I don’t know if you know this but Soho House has a great photo booth. One superkid headed straight there and he and his dad took photos which they incorporated into their collages. It was such a great idea and is already inspiring future activities at the Campus!

I had SO MUCH FUN creating and playing with this group and Soho House was a welcoming and supportive venue to work with so hopefully we’ll be working with them again to host future Creativity Campus workshops.

What inspiring or creative stuff did you get up to this past weekend? Care to share?

Happy Wednesday!

L

The calm before the storm - supplies for our Creative Selves collages before the families arrived.

The calm before the storm – supplies for our Creative Selves collages before the families arrived.

My fixation with TED talks

So, if you’ve been following along at all you will have noticed that I have a bit of an addiction to TED.

As anyone who is friends with me on a social network will attest to – I love TED. I love watching, discussing, sharing and being inspired by the 20 minute talks.

I love their premise, I love their soul and I love that they can be seen in dozens of languages around the world. I love the freedom of knowledge they represent and the limitlessness of our potentials as humans who choose to dare greatly.

Funny that should use that term, Dare Greatly. It’s actually from my very favourite TED talk, one that I make a point of rewatching every few months. It’s a talk that has changed my life, led to my business and informs all of  my interactions. Whether I succeed or not I try to keep it in mind as I interact with friends, colleagues, family and kids. Especially kids.

Maybe you’ve seen this already but I encourage you to have another watch, there is so much value to be derived whether you watch it with yourself, a friend, work or kids in mind…

Here’s to TED – Enjoy!

Absolutes, Definitions and Limitations

It’s so easy to speak in absolutes – people are optimists or downers, they are hard workers or smart or lazy or outgoing.

It’s natural for us to want to define one another, and ourselves, but it’s also dangerous. The more I delve into the psychology of creativity and innovation the more I encounter the inherent complexity of humans. Our stories are powerful and varied with many sides and voices. Well-formed stories can represent our values, our social norms and our cultural viewpoints all in the space of a few lines of text.

Think for a moment – what adjectives do you use to describe yourself? Are there many? Are they contradictory? Where are they sourced from?

There was an interesting moment one day last week when I found myself  admonishing myself for not spending enough time with someone important to me. Automatically I was calling myself a bad friend. The thing is though, if I were to be speaking to anyone else I would have the logical mind to remind him or her that starting a business, active learning and maintaining personal and professional relationships takes a lot of time. I would remind that friend that one missed opportunity does not define a person.

In the same way that I am not defined by that experience, people are not one creative or non-creative based on their past actions.

There are so many chances to look at the world differently, to suggest a new or innovative path or process – whether in work, at school or elsewhere in life – that it is unlikely that any of us is non-creative. In fact, it’s more likely that we are trapped in narratives that define creative people only as artists, writers, dancers and those working in “creative” fields like advertising.

Imagine what you could be doing if, from youth, you’d been told that science, accounting, law or banking were also creative fields. What new products, procedures or  revenue streams might you be developing if your mind was more open to the potential for creativity in all professions?

The narratives and stories that we share and those we impose and ourselves and others can be limiting and even dangerous as the video below reveals. In the video below, Chimamanda Adichie uses her experience as an author, a Nigerian and an African student in America to take a look at the power of stories and of definition.

Some more questions for today – What are you imposing on yourself? How could a new perspective free up your ideas your relationships and your mind?

L

Getting Ready for the Summer Season

So how does all of this talk about creativity translate when it comes to the programming at The Creativity Campus?

Well today we’re building our summer camps and thought we’d give you a bit of insight into the process.

We’re designing each day so that kids not only have fun (#1 priority) but they learn (#2 priority) and they have something to take home to their parents and for themselves. Something they’ve created that they can be proud of and enjoy (#3 priority).

These priorities actually make organizing the camp fun for us too – we look back into our own childhoods for the games and crafts and activities that we enjoyed the most, then we look at what they taught us. Did they build skills? How?  We also dig deep into our research. There are some amazing resources that come in the form of books, classes, workshops and experiential lessons that can inform how we interact, learn and enjoy life together. All of these are important to building creativity and the skills that come along with it.

Also important is keeping things fresh and varied so we incorporate music, dance, art, discussion and language into play and games throughout each day.

If you have a look at our links page then you can see some of the researchers who influence our work and the theories we’re building from. For each skill set there are specific methods of development – as we plan we are constantly checking that the activities are nurturing those skills, priority #2 is what makes our work interesting and seeing the results is what keeps it fulfilling and fun.

One of the first quotes that popped up on my screen this morning when I went to update our facebook page was from Benjamin Franklin.

Tell Me and I forget, Teach me and I may remember

It’s so true, isn’t it?  The more we enjoy the activity, the more we engage, the more ownership we feel and the more we learn. We learn from doing, we learn from getting our hands in, asking questions and getting involved.

For each of the days that are in the works there are going to be a variety of different ways of getting involved. Each activity is about connecting with different learning types and opening up different learning pathways and “mindsets” for kids while they have fun and explore. Each day will have physical play and, weather permitting, we’ll head outdoors for at least 45 minutes to have fun as we develop our soft skills.

The really special part though, is that we’re learning too. It’s special because it enhances our commitment to teaching and connecting with everyone who takes part.

As we build we draw from what the experts say, what we enjoyed and what is expected but as the kids play and participate we learn even more.

If something’s not working, we’ll adapt it and try something new on the spot. If they have different interests or their own ideas about how they’d like to incorporate creativity then we’ll see how they line up with the research and give it a shot. Flexibility is important to us because everyone who crosses the threshold at The Creativity Campus learns differently and has something unique to offer.

We’re also we’re committed to sending home the products of the kids time and play for parents to check out. The best way for kids to get excited about learning and to engage in actvities is when the people they love are interested too.

If we come to all of this development and education with minds that are open to learning from each other then not only does it validate the kids, their work and their confidence but it allows us as adults to regain some of the perspective of children that is so valued in professional development and innovation today.