The Wall Street Journal posted an article posing this question, “You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender. The blades are about to start, what do you do?” The title of this article, How to Ace a Google Interview is ironic because the answer is not just a click away.
The answer to this question relies on the ability to critically and creatively think about the situation. It requires seeing the whole picture, brainstorming and making hypotheses. In some instances, it requires letting logic and rationale go and thinking without any confines. It requires being uncomfortable as you grapple with a situation and the many possibilities.
In her book, How to Teach Thinking and Learning Skills, C.J. Simister, education expert, writes about how “critical thinking and creative thinking are, in many cases, interrelated as situations depend on gathering and absorbing information (critical thinking) leading to the transformation of this knowledge to generate new ideas (creative thinking)“. Promoting critical and creative thinking appears to be at the forefront of school’s agendas. Camps, on the other hand, have been developing these kinds of thinking for decades.
Imagine, a group of campers looking at the spider’s web low ropes course element; how are the campers going to get to the other side? Will they pick each other up? Crawl around? Each and every time this element is completed, a new strategy arises. Now imagine, a group of campers given a bag of non-related items such as a toilet paper roll, tennis racquets, bathrobes and flashlights. What can those campers make from all those items given a little bit of time and the freedom to think?
At camp, children are not able to Google the current wind direction, the elements of a ropes course challenge, the sounds of nature they are hearing, or the different ways to construct fairy houses. The answer is not a click away, and therefore they must rely on and develop the ability to think critically and creatively.
For more ideas on how to promote critical thinking for your camper at home, check out Parents Magazine’s article Inspiring Creativity: Raise a Trailblazer and the University of California’s article 7 ways to Foster Creativity.
Rachel Kelly, Intermediate Unit Director and Program Development Coordinator