Here you will find a simple and quick way to unleash your inner artist. To begin, you must distinguish between being creative and being artistic. This pair is connected but not interchangeable. When you create art, you use symbols and interpretation to share your unique take on a topic. Looking at a problem from a different angle is creative thinking.
Let’s pretend you’re in a jam and might use some inspiration. You must create a fantastic birthday party theme for a little child. You’ve identified the issue, so let’s move on.
…oh no! The ink in my pen spilled, staining my shirt. Oh my, I was drawn to this clothing, too. It was purchased at…where was that shop again? The one near both Brookstone and the pretzel shop. Structure? Abercrombie? Whatever, it’s all moot. If I couldn’t figure it out, my wife probably would. But I expect it to be set by the time I come home. Her mobile device is currently inaccessible. Shoot!
Hmmm. I need to buy a new pen. Hey! Forgot all about my brain-shaped stress ball in here. Hee-hee. *squeezes* Good times, all around. If it hits the wall, will it bounce?
Oops. (Memo to self: things with funny shapes bounce in weird patterns.)
Excuse me, Bob! Your coffee got knocked over, huh? My bad.” Well, that’s just terrible. He deserves a lunch date with me. Alternatively, you may foot the bill for his dry cleaning. Now that we’re discussing dry cleaning, I must get mine. I need to find my lost ticket.
Neither in my purse nor in my desk drawer. Probably at their house. It is! By Don Knotts-signed necktie sits on the dresser next to it. This guy makes me laugh out loud. More episodes of The Incredible Mister Limpet need to be aired on television. I mean, he’s not Tim Conway funny, but who is?
Okay, where was I? Birthday of the children, I forgot (dumb pen). It’s not like we have the means to do so. The kids and I had just returned from a trip to Disney World. Pictures! The photos need to be uploaded to a computer. A stroke is imminent for the grandparents. You’ve already seen the kids. Mickey Mouse is familiar to you. Just think outside the box!
I believe those photographs would make for a great invite! Were it, not a Disney story, what then? There are more photos available. Also, Photoshop. Sure, no sweat.
Grrr. Is anyone home? I need to think of something. Hello? Um, no. Please don’t ask me to contribute to the police officer’s ball. Huh. No answer. Rude. Somebody has probably already put my name down for a ticket. Perhaps I might make some phone calls to solicit party funders? That’s an enticing thought.
I want a sweet one right now. Cookies? No. Did the bar make of granola? No. Marshmallows? *checks belt* No belt in sight! No. To be specific, carrots and celery. Food for rabbits.
There will be no rabbit food here. It’s possible that I need to go out and grab some groceries. On the way, I would go by a Chick-fil-A. Waffle fries: better than rabbit food every day. A salad would be a good idea, though. Or you could exercise more…
And that wraps things up. There is a plethora of options for hosting a party. Precisely what are you thinking? What do you mean you weren’t listening? Let’s review our reasoning from earlier…
The ink mark on the garment is plain to see. We could even do an excellent tie-dye effect on the cake if we have a tie-dye birthday and let the kids design their party favors. Or you might have an underwater-themed party with a cake shaped like a squid or an octopus. Or perhaps we have a Picasso party, and the kids construct their modern works of art by recreating Rorschach ink blots (with finger paint).
A pretzel-shaped cake, you ask? Like Oktoberfest with a “twist” (pun intended) for kids. Root beer, barrels of monkeys, and lederhosen (just kidding about the lederhosen part). Cake made in the German chocolate style!
Structure: Crafting tools? Legos? Building blocks? Logic puzzles? Mazes? A game of “house of cards,” A plethora of planned events?
Brain Fun and inexpensive party favors, stress balls come in various forms and sizes at party supply retailers. I’m curious as to what forms they take. What’s this, a brain-shaped cake? Has it got a Frankenstein vibe? Try to put the bolt in Frank’s neck. What’s up with the werewolf’s tail? Static electricity: the fun in fear? Operation!
Rent a location for a good bouncing time? A trampoline, perhaps?
Bob requests Bob the Builder; can we get it? Can we? (Yes! Bob Barker (please, pet owners, do not forget to spay and neuter your animals). Who is Bob Costas? Dylan? Marley? Bobsled? Playing “Apples to Apples”
Joe: Juan Valdez, it’s piata time! Salsa with a sombrero. Beans on the jump. Get together for tacos! (and maybe some Jose Cuervo to help me deal with it later…)
Have the get-together at a restaurant for lunch. Perhaps an ice cream shop? Pizza?
Chemicals….a cooking space for dry cleaning. Reaction celebration? Do we have to dress up?
Admission: Film? Zoo? Funfair activities? Go-cart tickets for speeding?
The Mayberry theme, Don Knotts? Constables and bandits? Jail? Have you found the fishing hole? A haircut at Floyd’s? Mr. Furley… ’70s disco attire? Those kids are only five years old, and they’re already hustling!
Wear a costume of your favorite cartoon character, Limpett says. Who’s up for some deep-sea fishing? A bash in the deep? Fishsticks! Or not…
Conway, Tim. An abundance of symbols for the generation of innumerable concepts: Conductor of the orchestra, workplace party, and young children dressed as elderly…hee-hee…
Monopoly, pretend money, cash rewards (well, maybe not), presidents, and banks are all forms of cash.
Disney: What movie will you base your backyard theme park on?
Picture a gathering where everyone dresses up for pictures. Presenting… a Fashion Show. Baking a cake with a camera on it.
Kick: pool party time! Doctor-theme. Theme based on a trip to the beach. Luau? Gathering to paint?
A phone-shaped cake, please. Are cord phones made of tin cans?
The Policeman’s Ball: Back to the cops and crooks theme, again? Social dancing? The ball with masks?
Granola with rabbit food: a…picnic in the park? Open space? Zoo? Theme: a farm? Backyard… mud cake!
Belt: Karate get-together? Alligator? Belt-driven fans…automotive shindig?
Fries coated in waffle batter: morning bash, anyone? It need not be breakfast time; waffles are a treat for everyone. What about a breakfast BBQ where I break out the skillet and cook them on the grill?
Work-out: Get-togethers for physical activity? Jumping trampoline, foam weights, workout gear…
So many possibilities! All of it came from a mere five minutes of “thinking.” People tend to focus too narrowly when they try to be creative or brainstorm. If you’re sitting around thinking, “Party, party, party,” you’re not going to come up with anything new for parties. Stop being so myopic. The mind needs to wander. Let the sidetrackers in, gently guide them to your goal, and see the results.
Don’t be too quick to pass judgment. Even if you think it’s dumb, jot it down. Many of the things I said are either clichéd or irrelevant. But that’s not the end of it. Use some of the concepts from your list to form a new one. The odds of making a miraculous discovery increase when you combine things that aren’t remarkably similar.
Take, for example, the options of a dress-up party, a dirt cake, and a pool party. Are you able to embellish your pool? Can it be transformed into a jungle watering hole by adding plants, decorations, and animal-shaped floats? Put on fancy clothes and serve your dirt cake as a volcano by adding a few inches of sand to a few plastic kiddie pools and decorating the whole thing with a jungle theme. You awake to find yourself on a remote tropical island.
You may also try a piata, a robbery, or a photo shoot. Make the party space look like a prison. Have the adults dress in sheriff’s stars and use white undershirts and black fabric paint to create striped prisoner clothes for the kids. In other words, “book them” as soon as they arrive. Provide them a uniform (your child’s birthday serves as the ID number), a photograph (which you may include with your thank-you messages), and an identification placard. Use your imagination and some paper mache to fashion rock-shaped “pietas” (without strings) to conceal treats. Gather the chain gang near the end of the celebration and let them smash rocks for their awards. Warrants might be sent in the form of invitations.
See? The first stage of creativity consists merely of information collection. Then experiment with those components to come up with original concepts. Instead of working, go out and have fun!
Freelance writer and marketing expert Danny Thompson has worked in marketing, management, and corporate training for nearly a decade. The Lefthanded Writer is his business name, and he provides marketing and business guidance on his website.