One of the most iconic elements of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking is the Incomplete Figure test. The participant is given a shape and asked to complete the picture.  The more creative child will go beyond the most logical way to complete the figure.  Here is an example of three different types of shapes that would be given individually on the test: a partial triangle, a squiggle line, and a pattern of diamonds.


Uncommon subject matter, implied stories, humor, and original perspective all earn high marks. They also look to see if the drawing communicates a feeling, shows movement, and has rich imagery.  To the left you will see two drawings done by a child given two different shapes. These pictures scored a 17 out of 20, earning a lot of points for elaborateness, expressiveness, vividness, and resistance to premature closure. The evaluator believed the drawings had “very strong elaboration, a lot of details, a lot of stuff going on.  The first drawing is of a fish, but there’s a lot of motion, detail. In the fish eating fish drawing, there is a certain amount of storytelling: something that is happening here—we can kind of imagine what the next scene will look like. The lines in the second drawing form a hat.”


For this mindflexor take a blank piece of white paper and draw a shape for your child. Tell them to use the shape to draw an unusual, interesting picture, and see what they come up with. I started off with the simple partial triangle. My 7-year-old boy drew a bird and my 9-year-old daughter turned hers into a cartoon snail.


My kids had so much fun with this that they asked for more and more shapes. They wanted circles and squares and even asked for trapezoids. Here are more examples of some of the pictures they drew from those requests.



It’s a fun, creative activity to do with your kids. Once they draw the picture, ask them if their picture shows a feeling, or to elaborate on the story the picture tells. This mindflexor is not only fun to do, but it will also help your child explore their creative side by having them practice drawing “a funny picture”, or drawing “a picture that shows movement”, or drawing “a picture that tells a story”, or drawing “a picture that is part of a scene”.

 For more fun with this activity, purchase the “Imagination Drawing Station” activity booklet, from Amazon,  CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW:

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2 responses »

  1. […] it a try at Find some kids and have them try, too. Make up your own incomplete figures for each other to […]

  2. […] it out at RaiseCreativeKidz. Find some kids and have them try, too. Make up your own incomplete figures for each other to […]

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