“My shelves are filled with things that [my son] has created,” Margulies said. “We have a fire truck that he made on his own out of an egg carton, a paper towel roll, and a plastic food container. I can’t say that he plays with it as much as he does a Transformer, but there was excitement about it.”
In family workshops at MoMA, Margulies has observed the pride that children take in being able to problem-solve through artmaking. Like Bonnie in Toy Story 4, children are adept at turning simple found materials into their own beloved creations. “We see all the time that kids look at an ordinary object and they can imagine it as something else,” Margulies said. “I think with these activities, we’re trying to empower them to feel like they are a creative being and that they can solve problems.”
Tamar MacKay, the Brooklyn Museum
’s family program coordinator, has experienced this, too. In a previous role as an educator at Blue School in Manhattan, she led a class where students created puppets from found materials on hand at the school. “I told [the kids] to choose objects they were interested in, and not to think about how it fits together yet,” MacKay explained. The purpose was to have the children follow their instincts and then see if they could solve the puzzle of fitting the materials together.
One of the more memorable creations was a puppet named “Nutty.” MacKay recalled that the puppet’s materials didn’t involve an actual nut, but for the student, it was reminiscent of one. The young creator gave Nutty a flower for hair and went so far as to make a list of its likes and dislikes. “She made a whole story around it,” MacKay said.
Unsurprisingly, Pixar and Disney thought of ways to merchandise Bonnie’s inventiveness with a “Forky Creativity Set
.” Turning a cherished piece of intellectual property into a slew of merchandising opportunities is nothing new. However, as writers at Fast Company
have pointed out, something felt off about kids using a kit to recreate Forky, instead of just making their own from scratch. As the writers at Polygon
explained, “In the movie, Forky is an organic creation, made of regular arts and crafts objects and a spork. Forky is a creature born of creativity and innovation, not mass-produced in a factory!”