Reflections on Creatividad silvestre | Wild Creativity


In Wild Creativity, families practice engineering skills that can be used to design solutions for community challenges.

I learned at the Creatividad silvestre/Wild Creativity exhibit that we have an engineering mind in each of us. Activities like brainstorming, weighing pros/cons, and exploring resources are parts of engineering and design thinking. This was breakthrough news to my daughter and me. The exhibit on biomimicry—imitating nature—encouraged us to tap into our engineering minds while playing with the hands-on activities and we soon recognized that we’ve been engineering all along. The exhibit allowed my daughter and me to use hands-on approaches to practice our natural thinking skills.

How to design a helmet, how to design a rooftop garden, or how to design a kite….by engineering. These are all hands-on approaches that my daughter and I tackled at the exhibit. Visiting the exhibit together allowed us to discover engineering practices such as brainstorming and taking time to make design decisions, along with watching others and exploring resources. Highlighting the engineer in my daughter thru the hands on approaches is something that I found useful since my thoughts on engineering were bland at best. Before participating in the exhibit we thought engineering was construction and advanced techniques. We took away that everyday simple decisions require engineering thoughts such as, what route to drive in our neighborhood that has become more crowded, what schedule to make while considering our daily activities and volunteer events, or even something so simple such as, how to dress for the day—these all take multiple variables to consider.

Putting our engineering mind to work while imitating nature was fun, fascinating and well worth the visit. I’m looking forward to visiting again and practicing hands-on engineering challenges with my daughter at the Creatividad silvestre/Wild Creativity exhibit.

Raquel | OMSI storyteller

Creatividad silvestre, Wild creativity. Just hearing the name of this exhibit brings a feeling of warmth, and familiarity. Being raised by non-English speaking grandparents in the US meant translating was a part of daily life. And so, trips to museums were always a fully translated experience.

Creatividad silvestre is a fully bilingual exhibit, thoughtfully curated so that both Spanish and English speakers of all ages in our community can have the opportunity to be fully immersed in learning from a beautiful exhibit where nature is everywhere. It gives all an opportunity to explore the engineering that takes place in our day to day lives. Like assigning roles, an engineering practice that I found useful during our community culture night while working side by side with volunteers.

Recently, my children had the opportunity to visit the exhibit with their abuelo who happens to be an engineer. Reading through the exhibit details in both Spanish and English was a wonderful opportunity to learn, and take in just how nature is full of perfect, precise solutions. It’s true that to engineer, you don’t need to know how to read a blueprint, or operate complex machinery. Growing up, I often thought of engineering as a series of endless mathematics. I now see that I can engineer—even during the most basic of tasks!

Oh, how I would have loved to explore this exhibit with my grandparents who taught me that learning is for everyone, at every age, in every stage of life. What joy there is in knowing that there are children who will be able to accompany their abuelitos, parents, friends and family members to Creatividad silvestre, and have a memory of learning in their native language to last them a lifetime!

Sierra | latina, mama, museum enthusiast, OMSI staff

When you think of engineering, what comes to your mind? Someone in a hard hat on a construction site looking at plans? What about a prairie dog ? You probably don’t think of a prairie dog as an engineer – but you should!

Come see how different species interact with their environments in resourceful ways. Prairie dogs, for one, build mounds to ventilate their homes. They are, in a way, like engineers, that face challenges with ingenious solutions.

We, humans, do exactly the same on a daily basis. Many of us don’t even think about these engineering practices, but we carry them out all the time. When there is a traffic jam ahead, we change our route. If we are in an earthquake zone, we stock up on food and make plans with our neighbors. If we want our kids to eat their broccoli, we hide veggies in the pasta sauce.

Wild Creativity reminds us that engineering practices play a big role in our lives, even when we don’t realize it.

When I think of engineering, I picture something sterile and cold, math and measurements. It’s not really me. My daughter doesn’t feel connected to engineering either. She will shy away from anything related to engineering.

Katie | mother, avid audiobook listener, crafter, OMSI educator

The Creatividad silvestre/Wild Creativity exhibit at OMSI focuses on biomimicry—nature and people. It’s warm and inviting. At the exhibit, we had fun working on engineering challenges together—we brainstormed ideas; we talked about pros and cons; and we explored the materials and activities.

It was fun to realize that the engineering practices we used in the exhibit, we also use in our personal lives. We brainstorm meal plans, plan weekly schedules, and take time to make decisions versus just reacting.

After visiting the exhibit, I can say that I use engineering practices everyday and I know how useful and valuable those practices are in solving personal, family, and community challenges together. I also know how important it will be for me to continue building my daughter’s positive relationship with engineering.

When I think of engineering now, the picture in my mind isn’t so sterile and cold, it is all about community and problem solving. I think of neighborhood sidewalks, garden patches, and school fundraisers. In our community, we consider constraints everyone might face when it comes to improving health and wellness, such as creating green outdoor spaces for our kids to play.

Regina | environmental journalist and OMSI storyteller