What is Odyssey of the Mind?

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Kids apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program.

Why is Odyssey of the Mind Good for Kids?

The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. For more than twenty five years, this unique program has helped teachers generate excitement in their students. By tapping into creativity, and through encouraging imaginative paths to problem solving, students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems — great and small — for a lifetime. The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to think divergently by providing open-ended problems that appeal to a wide range of interests. Students learn how to identify challenges and to think creatively to solve those problems. They are free to express their ideas and suggestions without fear of criticism. The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside of the box.” While conventional thinking has an important place in a well-rounded education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively.

In the Odyssey of the Mind . . .

  • Students learn to work together and develop team-building skills.
  • Students learn to examine problems and to identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions and their potential success.
  • The creative-thinking process is nurtured and developed as a problem-solving tool.
  • Students of all types will find something that will appeal to them.
  • The fun of participation leads to an elevated interest in regular classroom curricula.
  • Teachers have a program to further provide students with a well-rounded education.

What makes Odyssey different?

Odyssey of the Mind is a competitive program, but it’s nothing like your typical sporting event. The competitive element encourages kids to be the best that they can be, but it’s a friendly competition. Kids learn from and even cheer on their competitors. Odyssey of the Mind is not a college bowl or a competition about knowledge. It’s all about creativity, an often overlooked element in the growth and development of many students. Kids are rewarded more for how they apply their knowledge, skills and talents, and not for coming up with the right answer. In fact, in Odyssey of the Mind problems, there isn’t one right answer. Ever.

How do students benefit from participation?

In Odyssey of the Mind, students learn at a young age skills that will last a lifetime. They work in teams so they learn cooperation and respect for the ideas of others. They evaluate ideas and make decisions on their own, gaining greater self-confidence and increased self-esteem along the way. They work within a budget, so they learn to manage their money. They see that there’s often more than one way to solve a problem, and that sometimes the process is more important than the end result.