Creativity and imagination are a healthy component to life, unfortunately it isn't flourishing as it should. When a child's day is full, meaning every hour has a booked activity, there leaves very little time for spontaneous play which in turns reduces the opportunity for imaginative play.
Kim over at "A Girl and a Glue Gun" gave her 4 children a chance to stimulate their brain cells when she dumped a bagful of opportunity on the floor with a roll or two of duc tape. To the untrained eye it looked like she hijacked the recycling bin, but her children thought otherwise and created some really great 'robots'. I don't know if she gave suggestions to start from, but that is alright because creative moments come from inspiration, be them verbal or visual. (as evident by the popularity of 'linky' parties among adult crafters). No two robots are identical, the same 'stuff' was used but they organized it the way they saw fit. You can see their creations here (I hope): http://kimboscrafts.blogspot.com/2011/01/take-me-to-your-leader.html
I could write a bunch of stuff about how creativity and imagination is being stifled with colouring pages/books and uninformed cruel teachers telling kids they coloured something wrong, but I'm only going to quote Virginia M. Axline, a pioneer in play therapy. She wrote this in 1947: during "play therapy hour the child is given the opportunity to realize this power within himself to be himself". She also said (among lots of great stuff) "his free play is an expression of what he wants to do...experiencing a period of independent thought and action".
People learn so much about themselves and the world when they are free to explore it on their terms. Giving the kids a bag of discards gives them an opportunity to do that in a safe environment. Who knows, one of Kim's kids could be a brilliant engineer one day and develops a no-burn glue gun!
Einstein had some things to say about intelligence and creativity: "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination". "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge". And we know what Einstein could do don't we? (he also said something about becoming a watchmaker if he had known that the atom wouldn't change people's thinking).
I have a pad of newsprint under my couch and crayons for my grandson to occupy himself while the grownups do whatever grownups do. He's almost 2 1/2 here. (I don't have permission from his parents so you only get to see his cute head)
Let's colour outside of the lines...free our inner selves!