This creative thinking activity is like the paper clip exercise, but with a toothpick.
The point of this exercise is to find ways to use a tooth pick that are different. By building up your divergent thinking skills, you can think more creatively and solve problems in a different manner. When we limit ourselves to only one answer, or only the “right” answer, we can miss out on a lot of options. Whether it’s choosing a less-traveled path for ourselves or for characters, or coming up with an unusual solution to a problem at school or work, or having the ability to solve a problem we’d previously thought unsolvable, divergent thinking prepares us to consider a wide variety of options.
Young children, in kindergarten or younger, tend to be better at these exercises because their imaginations haven’t been tampered with yet. So maybe, when you’re doing this exercise today, consider the toothpick from a child’s perspective. Don’t limit yourself. You can do anything with the toothpick. If you get stuck, ask yourself, “What if” questions and see if it gives you other ideas. Remember: there are no bad ideas for this exercise.
If you have a toothpick on hand, pick it up, touch it and get acquainted with it. Set an alarm for three minutes and write down everything you can think of before the alarm goes off.
Set another alarm for a minute, and just sit. When that alarm goes off, reset the minute alarm and write down everything else you can think of.
What ideas did you come up with? Did you feel that you came up with more unique ideas during the last minute?
Challenge Yourself: For another component to the exercise, add a few things to your list over the next week. By continuing to think about, did you come up with anything new? Did you expand your thinking?