SF Bay Odyssey of the Mind

Experiencing Creativity

Experiencing Creativity

Experiencing Creativity Experiencing Creativity



Parents Role


Odyssey of the Mind is a hands-on program for kids where only the 7 minds of the team can work on the long term solution. The basic premise is when the team members solve the problem 100% by themselves, they learn to solve challenges within their capabilities, be resourceful and they develop a tremendous amount of self-confidence. 

While well meaning, outside assistance subtly tells kids they are not capable of doing it themselves. When the Team’s solution is the Team’s idea, their design, their work, their performance, and their score, they are much more likely to develop 21st century skills to help them be successful now and in the future. Remember, in the end, the Team is responsible for what they do, not the coach, parents or people outside the team.

Even though you may mean well, providing ideas, making suggestions, even applying make-up and fixing costumes are all considered outside assistance and the team will receive a penalty. 

\As parents, we all want the best for our kids and sometimes that means letting them figure it out on their own so the next time, they will have the confidence to solve it themselves. The kids will figure it out, even if it is not the way adults would do it, more often than not, their ideas are much more creative!


Parents CAN

  1. Transport the team to buy things
  2.  Transport the props 
  3. Teach the team members a skill  IF the team asks, such as  Sewing  Woodworking  Carving  Art  Electronics  Engineering  Principals of simple machines  Welding 
  4. Help find “experts” to teach skills
  5. Help provide snacks Bring spontaneous problem supplies 
  6. Help get props into the building for the  Tournament, even to the staging area 
  7. Open attics, closets, basements for  “garage sale value” materials 
  8. Provide lots of encouragement 
  9. Provide a place to meet/store props 
  10. Get everyone and everything to the  Tournament 
  11. Applaud A LOT and help get props  offstage afterwards 
  12. Practice spontaneous problems 
  13. Ask questions 
  14. Be a judge or volunteer at a tournament 


Parents CAN NOT

  1. Suggest what to buy 
  2. Repair props if broken in shipping 
  3. Suggest to the team which skills to use  to solve a problem 
  4. Suggest to the team which skills would  result in a better-looking or better  functioning solution 
  5. Give the teams any ideas for their  problem solution 
  6. Sew anything, paint anything, do  anything to contribute to the team’s  problem solution 
  7. Analyze why something failed 
  8. Expect perfection from a solution not  done by adults (or from a solution  done by adults, for that matter!) 
  9. Suggest what materials to get from the  attic, closet or basement 
  10. Pack props for the team for easier use  on stage 
  11. Fix anything that breaks 
  12. Criticize any part of a team’s solution Ask leading questions 
  13. Put emphasis on scores instead of fun