Encouraging Kids Creativity Old-School Style

Encouraging Kid’s Creativity — Old-School Style

By UM News

Encouraging Kid’s Creativity — Old-School Style

By UM News
UM alumna creates board game with husband to tackle today’s “creativity crisis”

Meghan Owenz and her husband, Adam, love to play games, especially with family and friends during weekend game nights. One day when discussing the impact of today’s “creativity crisis,” a phrase used to explain how children’s creativity is steadily declining and has been since the 1990’s, Meghan and Adam (parents of two young children) decided to create a board game to encourage creativity in kids.

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UM alumna, Meghan, and her husband, Adam, created a new game for kids.

The game is called Starting LinesTM and the concept is simple: everyone gets the same starting line, a category card tells them the general theme, and then they have two minutes to transform that starting line into a drawing and caption it. All the drawings are then judged by one of the players.  

“My favorite part of the game is seeing how everyone started with the same line, but created totally different designs using it—that and the captions because they can make a drawing hilarious,” said Meghan, a University of Miami alumna (Class of 2013) who graduated with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology.

The couple gained proof of concept by playing the game with any family or friends they could gather for the past year and half, and on August 1, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first big production run of the game.

“We wanted to create a game that all different types of families could play together. Not one where adults mindlessly move across a board based on a spinner or where younger kids can’t keep up with the strategy,” Adam adds.

“Kids are naturally more creative than adults, so this is a game where adults can try their hardest and still be beat by a seven-year-old,” said Meghan. "We would love to see this game become a part of the movement towards recognizing the importance of creativity."

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Meghan and Adam have also worked together on previous projects; they run the website Screen-Free Parenting. Adam, a marketing professor at Albright College, knows how to make and market a product, while Meghan, a psychologist and professor at Penn State, is an expert in child development. She knows what kids and families will enjoy and what activities are correlated with positive child outcomes such as creativity and academic success. 

The duo also created materials emphasizing their S.P.O.I.L. SystemTM, which is used in schools, museums, Girl Scouts events, and presented at national conferences. The SPOIL SystemTMemphasizes the basics of family life such as spending time together (Social), playing together (Play), experiencing adventures (Outdoor), completing chores (Independent work), and reading (Literacy).  

While the motivation for designing the game was the decline in children’s creativity, the couple says the game is incredibly fun at adult game nights, too. To prove their point, they are offering an adults-only expansion pack on Kickstarter. They are also offering a “give one/get one option.” For less than the cost of two games, individuals can purchase a game for themselves and the couple will then donate a second game to a shelter, school, kids’ club, or camp.

For more information about Starting Lines and the Kickstarter campaign, visit www.startinglinesgame.com.  The game is available on Kickstarter for $25 through August, 30 2018.

 

August 10, 2018