paperclipUsed in the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, the Unusual Uses Challenge  stretches your creativity by having you think of as many uses as possible for an everyday object like a chair, coffee mug, tin can, or brick. Here’s a sample brainstorm for “paper clip” uses:

  • Hold papers together
  • Cufflinks
  • Earrings
  • Bag closure
  • Christmas tree ornament hooks
  • Bookmark

The test measures divergent thinking across four sub-categories:

  • Fluency – how many uses you can come up with
  • Originality – how uncommon those uses are (e.g. “ornament hook” is more uncommon than “holding papers together”)
  • Flexibility – how many areas your answers cover (e.g. cufflinks and earrings are both accessories, aka one area)
  • Elaboration – the amount of detail in your responses

I gave my nine-year-old daughter an empty tissue box and had her write a list of all the uses she could think of for that tissue box. Here is a list of what she came up with:

  • Piggy Banktissuebox
  • Dollhouse
  • Shoe
  • Hat
  • Drum
  • Toy guitar
  • Train
  • Garage for toy cars
  • Hair ribbon holder
  • Jewelry box
  • Pencil case

This activity will stimulate your child’s creativity. Find any object around the house and give it a try.

For more fun with this activity, purchase our “Creative Mindflexors” set of cards, from our on-line  store.  They can be used anytime, anywhere to boost your child’s creativity.  Just a few cards a day can make a difference. CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW:


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