Free ebook!

Creativity Games & Exercises for Creativity

There are many posts on this blog about my games based on creativity exercises. Some are computer games that can be played with the whole class (which many call class presentation games). Others are more like traditional party games, played with cards, paper and pencil.

Here's a recent post that shows how you can play any of these creativity games using Google Apps for Education. Specifically, you'll use Docs, Slides, Forms and Classroom. Most resources below will not refer to that method, but you can use it for them.

Presentation Games

First, here's a creativity game using Google Slides. It's a recent addition to the site. These following games are built on other platforms as described in their descriptions and related posts.

The Classroom Creativity Game - This is probably the best place to start, since it combines most of the activities below into one webpage:
And here is a similar creativity game designed to teach the important elements of a great story:
Coming Soon - the Creativity Game of Great Movie Trailers.

When I introduce those games to a class I also teach them related creativity exercises. This popular post has an example of my presentation:

Creativity and Games - Classroom Presentation

And one of my favorite games for encouraging creative answers to fun questions is Say Anything.  It's a little different than the games mentioned below, but it's the best for ease of use and adaptability for any content area.  It's also the best choice for the elementary grades.

We need to teach creativity in school.  Here are some ways that I am trying to do that.

Several years ago I worked with my friend Kory Heath on a creativity game system.  I played a lot of creativity games with my students in the high school game club at that time.  I modified some of those games so they could be used as interactive classroom games.

Here's a short video that explains how the games work.  It also describes one creative game in the system that can be modified to fit a variety of content area classes.

See the original post about the creativity game system if you want to read more about how the system was developed.

“Creativity is just connecting things.”  -Steve Jobs

In all of these game activities below, random words are selected and from them the players must come up with creative responses based on those words.  In terms of Steve Jobs’ quote, they will practice creativity by making connections between seemingly unrelated things.  

After writing this post I came across an excellent article about the need for teaching creativity in school.  In it, the author describes creativity as a process of divergent thinking to get ideas and convergent thinking to wrangle those ideas into something of value.  These creativity games can serve as an excellent exercise for that process.

If you are playing these games with a group of friends, one player will judge each round and pick a couple winning submissions.  In the classroom games below, the class can vote using a classroom response system like the ActivExpressions.

Creativity Games - 

Computer Versions

I started programming some Flash versions of creativity games in Stencyl.  Why Did the Chicken...? is the first one I completed.  Check it out on the Stencyl Arcade.  If you like it, let me know.  The basic engine is simple to modify to create any of the other games below.

The traditional paper and pencil versions

Only one of these games is a product you would have to purchase.  The others can be played with just a pencil and some paper.  For use in class, students could play in groups of four to six.

  • Why Did the Chicken...? - This is the boxed version of the game system where players make creative, funny answers to riddles.  
  • The Haiku Game - I made this game using letter cards for an old game that is no longer available.  You could play it with Scrabble tiles or any game that has letter cards.
  • Cartoon Chicken - This is by far my favorite of the creativity games.  Players make captions for two randomly paired drawings.
  • The Chicken Game System - This is Kory Heath’s page for the generic system.  It is a great read for any serious game designer.  From here you can learn to make a playable version of any of the creativity games mentioned here.
  • Abe & Einstein - This is a hilarious game I created using this system in which players imagine conversations between two people who would probably never meet.  See the video clip above for a brief description of how this game is played.
  • Get Paul That Promotion - This is my twisted anti-creativity game based on the system.  It is available for free at the link.  You can read about how it was invented with the help of my students here.

Playing in the Classroom

Here are the flipcharts I have made based on this general system using random prompts, creative submissions and a selection of the winner.  Most are based on my haiku game.  Like all of my classroom games, they are designed for ActivInspire and ActivExpressions, but you can adapt them to be used with any computer/projector setup and any classroom response system (including a show of hands).

Here's a video slideshow of one experience I had with a middle school Creative Writing class.  I refer to some forthcoming creativity exercises.  When I finish them, they'll be posted on this page.  (And I have to mention that there were plenty of laughs that my designated camera person did not capture!  She did a good job overall though.)

Of course any of the traditional games mentioned above could be adapted to classroom play.  You can play with a few contestants, like the classroom flipcharts above, or you could have all students write responses.  Determining a winning submission could be handled with a vote or a single judge as appropriate for your class.

Donations are definitely accepted!
If you find any of these flipcharts or other resources on the blog useful, please consider donating $1 to $3.  Any money I receive this way will be used in my district to purchase resources for technology integration. I and my students greatly appreciate your support!  I would love to hear how you use the resources too.