Doing a long drive this summer? 5 Creative Thinking games for the car

by Matthew Worwood

I write a lot about the scholar E. Paul Torrance, nicknamed the father of creativity. One of his greatest accomplishments was the identification of a creativity skill set that was used to teach and test for creativity.

The Torrance Tests of Creativity include simple questions that measure creativity skills, for example the ability to produce and consider many alternatives – basically coming up with lots of new ideas. Evidence suggests that the more ideas we can generate, the more likely we are to move past the obvious ones and produce ideas that can be considered creative, or lead to creative outcomes. I try to avoid anything too heavy on this blog, but this is one of the skills that I’ve seen lacking in many high school students.

So as well as a fully charged iPad, you might want to check out some of the creative thinking games listed below. All can be played in the car, and most have been specifically designed to encourage players to produce and consider many alternatives.

  • How many alternative uses for a bucket? (you could repeat this game with other everyday objects like a bath, brick, or car tire).
  • The Cloud Game is probably better when stuck in traffic, but it’s basically a challenge to see how many things we can see in the shape of a cloud.
  • Imagine if we could suddenly fly. How many problems would exist if this scenario suddenly occurred. Another similar type game is to imagine if there were no cars or buses, how many alternative ways could we get to school?
  • List 15 things that are commonly red or contain red.
  • And yes you’ve got it – ‘I Spy’. The objective of this game is ‘originality’. Players must come up with ideas that are not obvious and less likely to be guessed by the opposing player.

Two other games that might be a challenge to play in the car but still promote this important creative thinking skill (or characteristic).

  • 30 Circles: Print or draw out a sheet that contains 30 empty circles. Turn as many circles as you can into recognizable drawings in three minutes.
  • Trace a picture of a child-friendly object such as a truck, house, or animal. Come up with as many labels for the picture as possible.

If you’d like to learn a little more about ‘Fluency’ and ‘Originality’ check out an extract from my documentary ‘Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance’. This scene references a proposed Creativity Crisis in education and how these two skills diminish as we children reach 5th and 6th grade.

FREE FILM for parents and educators

You can also view the entire film for free by simply commenting on one of our articles. Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

If you choose to comment via social media be sure to sure to include reference to @dads4creativityor share from our Facebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

Featured Image: (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Matthew Worwood
Matthew Worwood is an educator, Creative Studies scholar-practitioner, and co-host of the Fueling Creativity in Education podcast. He is a professor of Digital Media Design at the University of Connecticut and a husband and proud father to three young boys.

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Kelly June 30, 2015 - 9:44 pm

Great ideas … Can’t wait to use them !!

Matthew Worwood July 3, 2015 - 8:02 pm

Thanks Kelly. Be sure to keep us updated.

Rosemarie Grouver July 3, 2015 - 8:55 pm

These are some great ideas! We are going on a long trip in a month or so! We will probably use these suggestions!

Matthew Worwood July 4, 2015 - 2:09 pm

Hello Rosemary, thanks for the post. Make sure you come back and tell us how they went.

Nurturing Creative Thinking in Young Children at 30,000 Feet! August 21, 2015 - 10:27 pm

[…] SEE ALSO: Doing a long drive this summer? Five Creative Thinking Games for the Car […]

Lisa October 24, 2016 - 7:08 am

Thanks for the great info dog I owe you biiytgg.


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