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 Creativity Experiment – No Speaking, One Week.

That’s right. No speaking, at all, for one whole week.

Anyone who knows me this is a pretty extreme experiment, I’m nothing if not chatty, but I’m spending the next week in silence so I can explore.

It started with a suggestion from Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, an amazing book that outlines her routine and methods for staying creative over almost fifty years as a choreographer. She is innovative, award winning and incredibly disciplined and has produced more than one hundred sixty artistic works: one hundred twenty-nine dances, twelve television specials, six Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two figure skating routines.

As Tharp says, we diet elsewhere in life so why not in our creative lives? Her reasoning behind not speaking is that it forces one to look at what is worth saying and what is not. As a starting point that’s fascinating but for me I’ll also be using it as an exercise in discipline, an exploration of what I could be creating but am not because I’m distracted and an opportunity to become a better listener, observer and communicator.

So – the logistics, right? How will I ask for coffee? Order dinner? Make plans? What am I going to do without speech?

Well, I’ve sent around a little email to close family and friends explaining the experiment so they know that I won’t be picking up the phone and that I can only use text messaging to make and confirm plans – not chat. I’ve also printed up a couple of cards to aid me on my journey and help explain for those people who want to hear more.

I’m still going to be working, posting for The Creativity Campus and communicating to keep the business ticking along but, as unless I can’t avoid it for work, I won’t be speaking again until the evening of Friday May 31 when I head out to celebrate the birthday of a wonderful friend.

In the meantime – here are the cards

Happy Friday everyone!

Have an amazing weekend

xx

L

I'm Not Speaking

May I Please...

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.