Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Brain Break: What Can It Be?

What can it be? Is one of my favorite creativity increasing brain breaks around. It works for any grade level and can be played for as long or as short as you like. This game is super easy to set up and will have the kids thinking creatively and critically in no time!

The premise of the game is simple, give the students an object and say "I know this is a ------, but what can it be?" Students then use their creative and critical thinking skills to come up with as many different ways you could use the object and demonstrating that use. I only have two rules for this game 1) must be class room appropriate 2) you can't repeat what someone else said. 

Here is how the game is played at my school. 
First everyone comes and sits in a circle (you could have them stay that their desks but I like to get them closer together for the game). 
Next bring out any random item you have. I like to start with very nondescript items (length of fabric, a stick) and move towards more specific items (toothbrush, pencil)
Then tell you students "I know this is a ------, but what can it be?" ( if this is your first time playing you night want to give a few creative examples to get the thinking flowing).
Finally have the students answer the question one at a time acting out their answer. (For example the stick could be a baseball bat- act out swinging a bat, a dog stick - play fetch, or a curling iron - act out curling hair). The round is over when either everyone in the circle has passed or you run out of time.

For me this game is all about creativity. There are no wrong answers. If they can act it out and it's class appropriate, it counts. After the first round, if students can't think of an idea I let them pass their turn, but in the first round all must compete. This also forces some kids to be very creative. If possible I try to set it up so my more creative/gifted kids get the item near the end of the round, while my quieter students get it first.  I like to have the class compete against itself to come up with the most creative answers. Our towel is the winner at 55 different uses!

This game is great because it is simple, yet very funny. It really makes the kids look at items in a different light and try new ideas. Below are several of the ways the kids came up for what a towel can be! (unfortunately I was not taking notes they day we played with a towel, so several of the answers have been forgotten).

A skirt
A dress
A head wrap
A blanket
A pillow
A shawl
A hula costume
A rope
A whip
A mask
A parachute
A backpack
Rapunzel hair
A table cloth
A picnic cloth
A ghost costume
A trap
A foot warmer
A belt
A jump rope 
A tug of war starter kit
A necklace
A bracelet
A sleeping bag
A dog toy
A way to hide from penguins (the white towel in snow)
A band-aid
An animal carrier
A sweat rag
A super hero cape
String to a really big guitar
A door mat
A dog drying device 

I hope your class likes this game! How many ways did you all come up with for using a towel?

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