Follow the Long Arrow – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Follow the Long Arrow

Imagine every detail of an arrow traveling through space. This activity helps children practice imagining and paying attention to details.

Materials Required

  • No materials are needed


  1. Settle into a comfortable place, either indoors or outdoors. Imagine there is an arrow extending away from you and traveling slowly through space for one mile.
  2. As the arrow travels for one mile straight ahead, imagine all of the things it will pass through. Imagine all of the details, no matter how small. What sounds and smells will the arrow encounter? If you are indoors, what will the arrow pass through first? A wall? A piece of furniture? Think about what is inside the wall or the furniture. What comes next? If you are outside, will the arrow go through a field? What might live in the field? At the end of the mile, imagine where the arrow will end up. Where will the arrow be?

Additional Tips

Try this add-on activity:

  • Imagine the arrow going in a different direction and start the activity again.

Links to Creativity

As children follow the long arrow through materials and worlds that are different than they are used to, they are being mindful of different perspectives. Such unusual perspectives require one to be flexible and open to new experiences, both of which are predictive of creative potential.

Supporting research includes:

Grant, A. M., Langer, E. J., Falk, E., & Capodilupo, C. (2004). Mindful creativity: Drawing to draw distinctions. Creativity Research Journal16(2-3), 261-265.

Langer, E. J. (1989). Mindfulness. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley/Addison Wesley Longman.

McCrae, R. R. (1987). Creativity, divergent thinking, and openness to experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology52(6), 1258-1265.


This activity was contributed by the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. ©2014 Bay Area Discovery Museum. It is adapted with permission from Keith Sawyer’s “Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity.” Sawyer, K. (2013). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. For more information and resources see or

Follow the Long Arrow

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