Here are some activities you can share with children to get their creativity flowing:

Breaking Up of Old Ideas

Talk about the kinds of animals children might see in a typical zoo. Then ask children what kinds of creatures they might find in a brand new kind of zoo that no one has ever seen before. Provide paper and crayons that children can use to illustrate their imaginative zoo creatures.

Place four or five objects on the floor and ask children to count them. Discuss with children alternative ways to count the objects. Can they count the objects on their fingers? Can they count them on their toes? Help children discover that there is more than one way of doing things.

Making New Connections

Encourage children to recycle materials, such as empty rolls of tape, paper clips, empty paper towel rolls, clam shells, and pipe cleaners, and then use the materials to create 3-- dimensional figures and structures. To help jump-start children's thinking, you might suggest that empty toilet paper rolls represent the wheels of a large truck. The pipe cleaners might be turned into stick figures sitting on the hinge of the clamshell as if they were fishing in the bowl of the shell.

Show children how a funnel is used at the water table. Then pass the funnel around and ask children to think of other ways to use it. Can children use it as a horn? A microscope?

Enlarging the Limits of Knowledge

Ask parents to bring in old (or broken) hair dryers, battery-- operated toys (such as robots, trains, and cars), or other items that are no longer working (without sharp edges or parts that could present a safety hazard). Work with children to take the objects apart to see just how the items were assembled. As you work, ask questions such as, "Where did the batteries go? What parts do you think the toy makers put in first? Why?"

Ask children to bring in rubber boots. The children put on the boots and imagine that they are wearing space boots and walking on the moon. As children "walk on the moon," ask them how the moon surface feels, what happens to the surface when they step from place to place or what they might see flying past them.

The Onset of Wonderful Ideas

Encourage children to move about the classroom in their own creative ways. Play a dreamy piece of music, such as "Skater's Waltz." Then offer children pieces of colorful nylon and invite them to create their own dances that feel just like the music.

Share the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" with children. Talk about the way Goldi locks might have felt after breaking Baby Bear's chair and spoiling his breakfast. Ask children to pretend to be Goldilocks for a few moments and think about what they might say in a letter of apology to Baby Bear. Invite children to dictate their letters.