Creativity is the name of the game

Room 3023 in the Mahurin Honors College and International Center was buzzing on Wednesday as Camp Discover campers worked through ideas for Jumanji: Creating Board Games through STEAM.

“There is a price for winning,” said Mya M. as her group talked about the rules for the board game they are developing. Winners, she said, would have to perform a task drawn from a stack of cards. Her teammates Leah A. and Griffin P. nodded and shared suggestions: do the chicken dance, maybe, or sing a song.

Then Griffin jumped up excitedly. “No, wait! The winner gets to pick the task from the stack and then pick one of the losers to do it!”

Yes! All agreed this was a much better option, then they turned to the day’s task of creating the board layout for their game, a test of music trivia. Similar conversations were going on around the room as students worked and reworked ideas. A trio of book lovers – Diya M., Bethany B., and Emerson S. – created question cards based on Harry Potter, The Secret Garden, The Hunger Games, and more. Kap M. sketched out his idea for a game that featured kids at a sleepover trying to sneak past sleeping parents – all the while appeasing a pesky younger sibling who threatened to throw a fit and wake up the household. Anna W. and Amber S. painted a beautiful board that featured an ocean and island theme, and Grayson M., Jackson B., and Logan A. talked through the intricacies of their game, a race to reach billionaire status featuring Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and, interestingly, Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Tucker B. used the creative thinking strategy SCAMPER to make his game, a combination of Monopoly, Jumanji and chess. SCAMPER encourages students to think about an existing game and then put a unique spin on it. Using the acronym, students can substitute, combine, adapt, modify/magnify/minify, put to other uses, eliminate, or reverse elements to create something new.

Thursday will be devoted to putting on the finishing touches, and on Friday, campers will get to play their classmates’ creations, offer suggestion, and file away ideas for future creative thinking endeavors.