The January Challenge (with 64 million artists)
Get ready to embark on an exciting journey of creativity and community engagement as your school gears up for the January Challenge 2024! Following our successful participation last year, we can't wait to once again immerse ourselves in this inspiring initiative hosted by 64 Million Artists.
The January Challenge isn't just an artistic endeavor; it's a powerful platform that encourages individuals, schools, and communities to discover the transformative potential of creativity. This challenge is an opportunity for everyone to unleash their imagination, embrace diverse perspectives, and celebrate the joy of creating together.
Please have a look https://64millionartists.com/thejanuarychallenge/
Don't miss out on the chance to be part of something extraordinary! Join us in the January Challenge 2024 and witness the transformative power of creativity within your school. Let's make this year even more vibrant, inspiring, and memorable!
what we want to try and see is both a feeling of wellbeing from each taking a little “me” time and also to build community as we take on these challenges as a school. We can share experiences using social media platforms or through our channels we will set up to support those taking part.
Let us know what challenges you will be doing. we will add your name to the below to let others know you are taking part and we can all support each other:
We ask that anyone taking part and posting about this on social media include the hashtags:
#SCMH_TJC (the SCMH-specific one to allow us to keep track)
#TheJanuaryChallenge (so you can see what others elsewhere are doing).
If you are not on social media then don’t worry, you can still share your contributions by emailing these to us and they will be added to posts from the Schools accounts.
We want everyone to be able to take part.
1. Poster for a Better Future
It's Day 1 of The January Challenge, and Day 1 of 2024! We have a new year ahead of us - what could happen? What change - big, or small - do you want to see in the world this year?
Think up a slogan or message that captures that change.
Now, take an A4 sheet of paper, and create a poster by filling it with your message. Your message should be bold, short and colourful. Add drawings if you'd like to!
2. From my Window
Find a window, perhaps it’s at home, on a train, at work, or a shop window.
Take a moment to look through it.
Write a list of words to record your experience - perhaps you write down what you can see or hear, how you might describe the weather, temperature or light.
Use your list to inspire a sentence, short poem or sketch to capture this moment.
Create a simple ‘Pointillist’ image, taking no more than 10 minutes.
How...? Use a circular stamp, your fingers, the end of a pencil, a brush or any other round object. Dip into paint, ink, or any other material available to you, and make your dots on a page.
Create a pattern or recreate an image of your choice. Try to use both hands to create the image. You could even try making 2 - one with your left hand and one with your right hand.
4. Letter from an Object
Write a short letter to yourself from the perspective of an object that you use, or maybe misuse everyday.
What object? A toothbrush, the car, the kettle, it could be anything.
What would the object say? is it annoyed, underappreciated, is it running away? Maybe it has some advice for you.
Think like the object, BECOME the object! And give it a personality, a bit of character. You could write a few lines or maybe a whole page. I wrote mine like a poem, you can do whatever you like...
5. Wait a Minute...
Dig into your recycling box, or a messy drawer (I know you have one.) Here, you will find your artist's materials. Create a piece of artwork, using the materials at your disposal. But before you start, lay out all your materials in front of you and pause for one minute. If you find it helpful, use the theme ‘wait a minute' to inspire your creation!
Don't fire in right away, simply take some time to clear your thoughts and have a pause before you start your activity. If you've got the time, wait longer than a minute, take ten or twenty minutes to sit in a meditative state before seeing what creativity will come to mind.
6. A Journey with Purpose
Imagine that you are going on a journey with a purpose. It is up to you to decide on what the purpose is, and where, and how you will be journeying.
Draw the bag that you are taking with you, and label its contents.
7. 10 Minute Storytelling
Use the method below to help a story appear - try not to spend longer that the time indicated!
1 minute: Think up a central character to tell your story through, and any other supporting characters to be in your story. You don’t have to get to the ‘nitty gritty’ - just name and gender is enough for now.
2 minutes: Choose a location for your your story to be told in. Initially write down what it looks like, but then I want you to imagine being in the location with your eyes closed: What can you hear, feel and smell?
3-5 minutes: Now, build your scene using the DOTS formula designed to deliver the sort of conflict and drama that makes all plays, tv shows and films unmissable! I explain it through a very basic example story on the next page...
Desire - What does your central character (your ‘protagonist’) want? (eg: to make breakfast)
Obstacle - What is stopping them from getting what they want? (eg: the kitchen door is locked)
Tactic - What do they do to try and overcome the obstacle? (eg: kick the kitchen door down to get their food!)
Success? - Often stories work best if they are not successful straight away, because this helps to keep the drama up. Even better - does your tactic not only fail, but create a bigger obstacle? (I’ve hurt my foot, AND I’m hungry!)
BONUS - 3 mins: If you have time, have a go at creating a scripted scene between 2 or 3 characters that tells your DOTS story. If there is just 1 character - it could be a monologue script.
Remember - it’s not about creating a perfect script - but about getting an idea on the page!
8. Act it Out
Act out something you do everyday but in character.
Brush your teeth as a secret agent, pretend to be a strange monster with your family or make dinner as a witch brewing a potion...
9. Your Warmest Friend
Who is the warmest person you know?
Think about what makes them so warm. Maybe it’s their smile.
Draw a simple picture of the warmest person you know, in any style you like.
What colour do they remind you of? Add a splash of that colour to represent what makes them such a warm person.
10. Your Earliest Memory
What are your first memories? Can you tell someone what these are and ask them to write them down as you tell them? Can you write them down as if you're telling them to someone?
These first ways of talking are often the best ways of writing them down - but not always. You can, if you want to, use them, as a way of writing poems.
What is a poem? A poem is a way of writing that makes what the writing memorable. What does memorable mean? Easy to remember and worth remembering. Can you make your first memories sound memorable? One way to do it, is to not write in sentences!
What? Yes, as we're talking about first memories, these are often like fragments, impressions, blurry sensations. Sentences are not very good for expressing that You might just want to play with these fragments putting them down on the page, one below the other. If you can remember what someone is saying, put that down exactly as you remember it. You may remember what you said or thought. Put that down exactly as you remember it.
What other ways do you know which can make writing memorable? Using repetition to give things a rhythm. Songs do this all the time. You can imitate the way songs repeat phrases and lines. (A phrase is two or more words)
Rhythm and rhyme are ways we make things memorable too. One way to help you with this is to think of a song you like and imitate how the song uses rhythm, rhyme and repetition. Think of Bob Dylan or Adele or Stormzy or anyone you like.
Another way to work on your first memories, is to pick a word or phrase from that first memory and play with it. Play with it? How? Let's say if your first memory is sitting on a beach. And you remember the sand and the wind. You can play with those words and that phrase:
Sand and wind. Wind and sand. Sand in the wind. Wind in the sand
Another way to think about first memories is to look at an old photo.
What can you see in the photo? Imagine yourself talking about the photo but instead, you're writing it. How do we talk about photos? We say things like 'There's Grandpa...' or 'Who's that sitting behind Nanny?' Use those kinds of expressions that we use in speech to talk about the photo.
One thing about memories that's really interesting is that you can write about them as if you are IN the scene from the past, or you can write about them from now, remembering what it was like. Or you can write about both. I call this 'writing about yourself as if you're looking at yourself in the swimming pool'.
So, you can think of you IN the memory. You can write about it along the lines I've suggested. But mingled with it, or after it, you can write about, how you think about it now. Maybe your view of the other people in your memory has changed? Or your view of yourself has changed? Or you view of time has changed?
11. Using your Voice
Think of a song that you love or that is meaningful to you. Try singing or humming it, alone or with a loved one.
If you like - have a go at singing along with the song in the video, on your own or in a group.
Today - we are creating a ‘FanZine’, out of a single sheet of A4 paper. To fold a pocket zine you’re going to need a sheet of A4 paper and a pair of scissors. To create your zine, follow this video tutorial here.
Now you have your ‘pocket zine’, fill it with a list of things that you love - your favourite books, films, people, places, foods. You could do one thing per page, and include an illustration, cut-out picture, or a description of why you love this thing.
13. That Peaceful Place
Think of a place that brings you a sense of peace and calm. Find a way to capture that place. Sketch it, describe it in words - or, if you're able to visit that place today - take a photograph of your favourite thing there.
“I like to go hiking with my family whenever we can. This is the ultimate escapism for me, but also allows for me to clear my mind and become unstuck from the challenges in the week. I'm always taking pictures on my phone if the places that we have been hiking and this brings me some inspiration. Let today's creative prompt take you to that peaceful place…!”
14. Hello, Me
Find a piece of paper, card or anything you can draw on. Close your eyes and slowly take 3 deep breaths in and out. Now ask yourself “How am I feeling in THIS moment?” See if you can feel the sensation in your body and also name it.
Now choose one or two colours that you feel drawn to. Pick up a pen, pencil, crayon, or paint in those colours and draw or paint a shape that represents how you are feeling. (It could be a solid square, a swirl, or a series of connected shapes, for example). Let your intuition guide you.
Your drawing or painting can be as sparse or as detailed and decorated as you want. And you can spend as little or as much time as you want on it. Check to see if what you have drawn feels complete.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do this exercise. The purpose here is to express yourself in whatever way feels intuitive.
15. Rainy Day Dance
Get dressed for the weather, go outside, and dance!
If you’re staying inside to take part in this creative prompt then open the curtains and enjoy the grey, rainy, sky as you move!
16. If I knew then...
Think about a challenge or negative experience that you have overcome or come to terms with.
Write a survival guide for your younger self or for others who are where you once were. What are your 'top tips' for survival?
Perhaps it’s a survival guide to losing some - or all - of your hearing or sight; being bullied; facing a scary diagnosis; losing a loved one; having long covid; or experiencing a relationship breakup. You could illustrate your words and create a road map to getting where you are today - highlighting key positive experiences, information gathered, and people who helped or influenced you.
17. An Important Date
Create a 2 by 4 grid of 8.
In each box, write a number that represents a special date to you. For example, if you were born on the 27th, you might write '27', if you like the month of March, you might write '3' because it's the 3rd month of the year.
Fill the grid with 8 numbers, 1 in each box. Now - connect each number by drawing a line from the end of one to the beginning of the other.
Each number should be connected to another one, and when you're finished you should have an abstract looking design! Add colour over the lines or in between the spaces to create an abstract print, shaped by your special numbers.
18. Your Space
Imagine a space you can call your own, it has four walls, a floor and a ceiling - what would this look like for you? Today's creative prompt is to craft that space to life!
To create your 3D 'space', you could:
.. dig through your recycling for a small box to work on
.. have a look for a cube net online to copy onto paper
.. find any other container at home to temporarily (or permanently!) use
.. create the container from materials like clay or plasticine
.. or if you'd like to work 2D, simply divide a piece of paper into six to represent the walls, floor and ceiling of the 'space'
You can cut and stick, draw, embroider, paint, write on or sculpt your 'space' - whatever is handy to you.
19. Word Art
Choose a word that your drawn to today, for whatever reason. Your creative prompt today is to create that word in calligraphy-style writing, drawing or using any objects or tools you like.
The word calligraphy comes from two Greek words stuck together, kallos, meaning "beauty," and graphein, meaning "to write" — literally "beautiful writing."
How can you create your chosen word in a way that feels 'beautiful' to you?
20. Poem in a Bottle
Think about your favourite TV show or story. How did it move you, how did it make you feel? Whether you cried or laughed or went on a grand adventure, in some way you were transported and so many of us sometimes wish we could bottle up that feeling. Well, let's try to do just that!
Grab a piece of paper, or hit record on your phone. Write a love letter to your favourite show. To get started, think about a favourite character or an important element in the storyline.
For example, in many asian dramas shoes are important, they foreshadow so much about characters and that's to do with the cultural significance of shoes in asian cultures, particularly giving them as a gift. So, zoom out and apply your culture, heritage and inspirations to your writing! Your writing could be paragraphs long or simply three lines. If it can make you feel the way you did while watching a show, then you have bottled-up that feeling with your words.
21. Card Tower Challenge
Build the tallest tower you can - made from playing cards - in 60 seconds!
(If you don’t have playing cards, get creative and use something similar - like cards from a game, small pieces of card, or greetings cards.)
If you have more time, build a tower from another material. What can you make?
22. Dress Up Day
Dress today as if you were going to a party. It might be a beautiful tie, or scarf, or you might put flowers in your hair. Or pull on your favourite coloured jumper or glittery shoes. Whatever combo makes you smile, go for it.
In other words, don’t save the best until last. This world needs people who are feeling passionate, in what they wear and what they do. This is a chance to wear your 'heart on your sleeve'. Look no further. Wear your favourite outfit to go the your local shop, your party clothes to work, your wedding outfit to the pub, your brightest handkerchief tucked into a pocket, your favourite tie and your bestest shoes.
Dress today as if you were going to a party and see how the party comes to you. And don't forget stay at home Pyjama Parties. PJs are allowed too! If for any reason, you can't do it today, plan another day, to wear your favourite clothes or item of clothing.
23. Shape Shifting
Create a character using kitchen foil, a toy or magazine cutouts.
Place them on a surface that you like and take a photo with a phone or camera. Move the character a tiny bit and take another photo, try to keep your camera in the same position. Repeat this as many times as you want.
Flick through your photos really fast and see your character come to life!
24. Shadow Moments
Today, we're playing with shadows!
Use a light (or hopefully, the sunshine!) to create a shadow of something on a piece of paper. You could create a shadow using your hands or your body, a flower, or an object beside you.
Trace the shadow to create an outline, and use this outline to create an abstract print of your object.
25. Bring it to Life
Choose an object that is important to you. It can be anything at all - something that has sentimental value, or something you use everyday. Begin free writing whilst thinking about the object and see where your words take you.
Free writing is writing without thinking too much about the contents - just letting the words come as they pop into your thoughts. Some people find that this can help ‘creative block’.
The creative prompts below might help get you started;
• Think about what you can See, Feel, Smell, Hear or Taste whilst holding the object.
• Think about how the object prompts additional feelings internally - your heartbeat, muscle tension, a spark in your brain... Spend up to 10 minutes writing.
You can read your words back, or leave them there.
26. What Music Inspires
People experience music and sound in different ways. How do you experience music?
Your challenge is to create a mark on a page in response to the music, that interprets what you’re hearing or experiencing. Think about what textures or shapes it might inspire. Try to allow yourself to create in unison with the music.
Alternatively, tune in to the hum of any noise vibrations, near or far, you can feel around you, what marks would you make in response to them?
27. You Learn Something New Everyday
Find a way to learn something new, today.
This creative prompt has come from a workshop at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, and is designed by Betty. Betty first picked up a paintbrush in her 80’s and is now learning to garden and grow veggies.
What intrigues you today? Follow your intrigue! Could you learn a new word in a different language, learn a new fact about a country you've been to (or not been to)?
Could you learn something new about a friend, by asking 'what is there that I don't know about you?'
28. Find a Tree
Visit a tree - or trees! - in a park, woods, forest, or find videos or images of trees.
How do you feel? What catches your attention, visually, sound, smell, taste.
Stay with the trees or return home to draw, write, express in sound what the experience was for you.
Take a second look. What is different this time?
Make a portrait of yourself using a medium that you're drawn to - this could be a drawing, a sculpture, or even a piece of writing or a short film.
It can also be realistic (for example, a drawing that looks like you) or totally abstract (something that represents you without looking in any way similar to you).
Create something as unique as you are!
30. Reimagine Your Favourites
We’re coming up to the end of The January Challenge, and endings are on our mind!
Today, Shilpi invites you to choose your favourite movie or book. If that is tricky - what is the first movie or book that comes to mind? Go with that!
Now - can you recall the ending? Your creative prompt today is to re-imagine the ending of your chosen story.
You could draw or write your new ending...
31. Creativity Is...
What does ‘creativity’ mean, to you? That’s a big question - we know! Take a few minutes to reflect on the last month. What have you experienced? Where has your creativity taken you?
Whether you’ve done 1 creative prompt, or explored every day, today we are inviting you to celebrate YOUR creativity.
Finish the sentence ‘Creativity Is…’ and share your response. Use the downloadable poster to inspire you or let your creativity do the talking!