A few summers ago I was challenged by my friend Lindsey to dump a bucket of ice over my head and share the footage with all of my friends. People all over were doing it. It was the cool thing to do. My unfortunate footage shows me AFTER the ice was dumped, as the person holding the phone was heard muttering to himself about ‘how this thing works‘. ‘Just scoop it up and do it again,’ he goes on to say as I stand with my hands on my hips shaking my head and saying ‘Are you kidding me?!‘. This was my moment, my time to be a part of a pop culture craze! And it was ruined!
Go back one year and talk to me about whether I’d be dumping ice on my head in an effort to be part of a hip internet culture and I’d look at you like you had lobsters crawling out of your ears. But there I was, and, I bet, there you were too.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was, of course, a charitable act as well as a way to identify yourself as hip and part of a really crazy bunch of people who could take the cold, so to speak.
The Ice Bucket Challenge. The Running Man Challenge. The Mannequin Challenge. Challenges are everywhere anymore. Some are harmless, some are charitable, and some are downright dangerous. The Cinnamon Challenge? Crazy.
But there are a few Challenges I bet you haven’t heard of, and they are all really cool and great for our kids. They are born of a creative spirit and get kids and adults alike really excited about MAKING things- more worthwhile than the saltine cracker challenge.
This is a challenge that takes place throughout the month of September. Anyone can do it, and it doesn’t take too much in terms of money or supplies. The challenge is for kids of all ages, and asks that they
work together to build really cool things out of cardboard. Then, on October 1, they all come together to play! Make an arcade, inspired by Caine’s Arcade, or make a robot village. The point is that this Challenge encourages kids to work together, think creatively, build, and play.
If you accept the challenge, you’ll be working in sync with kids from around the globe- from Canada to Sri Lanka. Post your photos to their website to become part of this global challenge!
This isn’t worded as a Challenge, per se, but it meets the criteria. It’s world-wide, it’s about making something creative, and it happens every year. April 24 is Worldwide Pinhole Camera Day, a day that challenges photographers and students alike to make their own cameras and get out there and use ’em! Pinhole cameras are easy to make, even at home. The exposure time for a pinhole image can range from a few seconds up to a few minutes, and the nature of this maker centered style of photography is one of trial and error, and beauty in the process. Photos have an ethereal quality, with ghost like trails where people and things move through the frame. You need film or photo paper for these images, and that makes them increasingly rare.
No wonder the people who love this type of photography celebrate it with it’s own ‘Day’!
3. The 30 day Drawing Challenge
My art teacher always told us that Mozart once said -and I’m paraphrasing here – that if he missed one day of practice HE could tell. If he missed two days, CRITICS could tell. And if he missed three days the AUDIENCE could tell. I looked into it and it seems that lots of early musicians are credited with this thought, but the point remains the same. Practice counts. This site has an interesting story about Kobe Bryant and how he practices.
The artistic challenge to draw every day for X number of days builds on this idea. These challenges are all over the place, and the concept is easy to guess. Make a commitment to draw for a set amount of time, often focused on a theme, every day for 30 days. For the student looking to improve their drawing skills, this challenge is a no-brainer.
Another ‘get your art on every day’ challenge, but this time it’s with a camera, and you’re on the hook for a whole year.
If you’ve been anywhere near my classroom this year, you know all about Dot Day. If not, check out this post from a few months ago. This day gets kids talking and thinking about the impact one small good deed can make on the world around them and encourages them to do a little art along the way.
Not inspired yet?
Here’s a link to lots more, challenges for every month of the year and for every type of artist. Musicians, writers, fine artists, and more can all find a challenge here that will speak to your creative self. Skip the Cinnamon and make something worthwhile.