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/ Institute of Philosophy, Citizenship and Youth

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PhiloQuests: the day of worry

4. Creative Conception

The vacuum o' worries (Part 1)


Objective: To plan the creation of a vacuum o' worries!

Duration: 60 to 90 minutes


  • A sheet of paper or cardboard

  • Pencils and eraser

  • Coloured pencils and markers


  1. Prepare the sheet. Your mission will be to create a vacuum o’ worries! To help you get lots of ideas and organize them, prepare your sheet by drawing a horizontal line to separate it into two equal rectangles. In the top rectangle write "ideas" and in the bottom rectangle write "draft."

  2. Think about your first ideas. Based on the definition of worry you gave for the Idea stretching activity, what should a vacuum o' worries look like? Brainstorm in the "ideas" section of your paper and let your imagination run wild!

    • What would a vacuum o' worries look like? Does it have an adjustable handle to adapt to all kinds of situations and a large mouthpiece for worry-free vacuuming? For getting rid of every last crumb of worry, is a single hose enough? You might consider whether several hoses are needed to vacuum different types of worries... or whether a super powerful reactor is useful to suck up even the deepest worries.
    • What would be the target of a vacuum o' worries? You can also ask yourself what to vacuum: the outside world, the body or the mind. To help you choose, ask yourself where worries come from and where they live. Do they come from the outside world? Are they generated within us? Do they live in our hearts or thoughts, or in some corner of society?
    • How does a vacuum o' worries work? Does the vacuum o' worries come with a wide range of accessories that will allow it to swallow even the toughest of stress balls as well as the smallest of annoyances? Does it have different solution-generating buttons? Consider different ways of coping with worries to imagine the various functions of the vacuum o' worries.

  3. Sketch your ideas. Now that you've got a bunch of great ideas, it's time to see what they look like! In the “draft” area of your sheet, sketch a picture of your vacuum o' worries. It's not your final creation yet, so these drawings don't need to be too neat. It's mainly to see if your ideas work and to change them if necessary. You'll find that you'll have lots of new ideas as you start to create!

That's all for now! Don't forget that this activity is only the first part of your creative project! You can start the second partCreative Constructionright after this one or after you've done the Philosophical Picnic, but we recommend that you at least take a break. You've earned it!


Bonus: What do we do with the worries once they have been sucked up by the vacuum? To take your creative thinking further, ask yourself what you can do with all that anxiety you've been vacuuming. Should we put it in a museum to preserve it, study it, and exhibit it to educate the public? Should all the energy be extracted out of it to illuminate dark cities? Or should it be thrown into the molten lava of a volcano to make sure it never resurfaces again?

What would a vacuum o' worries look like?

Tricks for tots: How about a game before you start planning your creation? Imagine that your arms are the hoses of a vacuum cleaner and that your hands are its mouthpieces. Where should you place your hands to suck out your worries? On your head? On your heart? On on something that worries you? Depending on where you choose to place your hands, imagine what a heart cleaner, a thought duster, or a detergent for worrying things might look like.
Tips for teens: Should you vacuum your worries everywhere, in front of everyone, or alone in the comfort of your own home? Ask yourself whether it's better to share your worries or to keep them to yourself. Can you be ashamed of worrying? Is this shame justified? Why or why not? Sometimes it can be hard to ask for help... especially if you're not sure how to identify what's worrying you. Perhaps you should think about a portable device for on-the-go vacuuming, or a machine built into a space you find safe and cozy?

Share your creative reflections by sending them via email.
Include photos of your projects and notes of your thoughts, as well as your first name and your age!

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