Squiggla Logo

For Teachers

What is Squiggla

toggle icon

Squiggla is a creative learning tool available to teachers who are interested to develop a more creative environment in their classroom and bring a fresh focus – all with just a few pieces of paper, a range of mark making tools and a handy digital device.

As a creative mind development mark making tool for learners of all ages, Squiggla is an easy accessible way for individuals or groups to exercise different creative thinking skills such as Play, Innovation, Risk Taking, Curiosity, Divergent Thinking, Collaboration and Problem Posing.


toggle icon

See Video

Play, where relationships between things are freely explored, is an important part of Squiggla. Through the process of inventive mark making, you can play with limitless imaginative possibilities.

Play also means being open to mistakes or embracing chance and these are great Squiggla skills which encourage participants to be free of the pressures to copy. In this way, Squiggla aims to minimise the impact of powerful fine art conventions which tend to focus on accuracy and rendering skills and so discourage most people from using their natural inventive mark making abilities.

It is important to know that Squiggla focusses on non-judgemental creative mark making. Squiggla seeks to avoid value judgements because they can impact negatively on creative thinking development. Instead of being self critical or listening to others criticise your efforts, Squiggla asks people to slow down on the judgements and fuel up on the experimentation! Ask questions like “What if?” instead of “What is it?”

Once free of concern over mistakes or judgement, especially about representational drawing abilities, more people can participate in the joy of Squiggla, in the joy of mark-making itself. Of course, the longer people are engaged in the flow of Squiggla, the better their skills will get over time. In this way, it helps develop discipline mastery. As young Squigglas grow into adulthood, with increasing sentient awareness, they will have more confidence in their natural creative potential and abilities.


toggle icon

See Video

There is a clear connection between curiosity and creativity and with Squiggla, you use your hands-on curiosity to generate new mark making ideas. Squiggla doesn’t box in your curiosity by asking you to ‘draw something you see in the world’. It encourages open-ended knowing plus imaginative thinking which can lead us to new possibilities.

For creative minds to develop, we need to also be generally curious, open to new possibilities, be determined and resilient. Taking a holistic approach, Squigglas learn to allow reason and intuition to work together simultaneously: the key to whole minded creative thinking. In fact, Squigglas are constantly encouraged to think in new ways, to get in the flow of creative mark making.


toggle icon

See Video

Creativity is not a static process. Squiggla helps develop creative ideas through the possibilities of surprise, change, risk taking, divergent thinking and discovery through infinite variety.

Through both close observation of the physical realities of mark making plus new choices made about the character and sequence, similarity or difference of further marks on a page, Squiggla regulars can test out new interactions and develop ways to think original thoughts. Each mark made carries the emotional expression of its maker.

Why Squiggla

toggle icon

Squiggla is time efficient and readily accessible. It makes flexible use of class time and is suitable for both teacher directed activity and out of school time use. While many schools strive to maintain a balance between structured and free-flow creative thinking, there are not many programmes available that offer an inspirational cross-curricular engagement that introduces creative thinking as a natural part of any learning day.

Squiggla promotes meditative, silent, contemplative, individual, creative activity through mark making. Once in the flow of daily mark making, each Squiggla player can achieve sustained habitual visual creativity. Squigglas find they can forget themselves as they become part of their created Squiggla environment!

It is also easily adapted to group activity through class challenges, music and movement connections. Squiggla is an easily accessed tool you can use in your classroom each day. As with anything we wish to master, regular practice is encouraged and the Squiggla app encourages and motivates daily creative mark making and thinking.

Squiggla uses online encouragement to complement the physical activity of mark making offline. Many are now wearying of online activities and the limiting sentient experience of a digital screen, and are seeking offline, real world, sense based, imaginatively driven experiences beyond it. This is what Squiggla delivers.

Squiggla promotes childlike discovery and joy in playfulness within mark making for both children and adults: “Childlike” is not “childish”.

  • Einstein said “To stimulate creativity one must develop the childlike inclination to play”.

Children learn through play experiences and early childhood development is enormously formative of adult abilities. Maintaining access to childlike creative mindedness remains vital to fulfilment of adult potentials.

Increasingly education pedagogies require the need to limit rules, protocols, instructions, and canons etc. where they restrict stimuli to learning by discovery through self-initiated, sentient based experience: creative learning. Squiggla is time and cost efficient, immediately accessible in its use of natural skills, low in demand of class time and is suitable for both teacher directed activity and out of school time use. Once introduced to Squiggla at school the player is motivated to play in out of school time, at home and everywhere anytime.

Squiggla promotes meditative, silent, contemplative, individual, creative activity within mark making. It encourages sustained habitual lifelong drawing in the belief that everyone can learn to draw –it just needs extended practice over time (preferably daily over a lifetime).

What is mark making?

toggle icon

Mark making is an innate human creative process. It interacts between sensing and reflective mind eye and hand, tool medium and surface, light, time, space, movement and chance. Readily accessible for everyone, its regular use exercises and develops the creative mind enhancing potential for a productive life: a primary source of learning in early childhood and in adulthood. It precedes and enriches innovation in all domains of human activity and learning. Basically a private activity, its kind of thinking can be expanded by collaboration with others: class, family and friends.

How to use Squiggla

toggle icon

Squiggla is both an offline and online tool using paper and mark making tools as well as the Squiggla app on any digital device. It allows a class to achieve both individual and collective creative goals.

In Squiggla there is a particular focus on the use of lines and dots, avoiding restrictive practices which seek mimetic, representational copying. It’s easy to involve both yourself and your students by following some simple steps and checking our Hints section.

1. Start with a blank piece of paper. Have a mix of mark making tools at the ready.

2. Make a frame around your page. This is your Squigglespace.

3. Make a first mark, called your Startermark, then invent lots of variations on it and make more repetitions. It is like composing music from a single melody.

4. Make all sorts of shapes, signs, lines, dots – whatever you can invent. Use free and playful marks and start new Startermarks if you want to, of course!

5. Change materials, change colours…see where chance and your intuition and imagination take you. Let your hands speak through marks. Imagine music playing alongside your mark making, or movements which might accompany them.

6. This is a judgment-free activity –there’s no right or wrong way of doing Squiggla. You might have a flood of ideas as the possibilities are endless… so let your creative thinking flow.

7. Finished your Squigglework? Download the app to register and upload your work to your own personal online gallery. Progress through Squiggla Challenge Levels and be encouraged by points and rewards.

8. Use the Ideas page on the Squiggla app to inspire you.

Hints for Squiggla

toggle icon

Accessible for everyone regardless of skill level.

  • Vary the physical marks by changing the tool, the hand, the colour or the paper you are using.

  • Vary your speed and pressure.

  • Keep your eye on the Squigglework as it happens on the page.

  • Build a tool box of remembered forms and signs.

  • Remember - and then make marks.

  • Notice relationships of marks and spaces.

  • Marks can carry emotional expression.

  • Think freely, feelingly, and creatively as in free jazz.

  • Squiggla is aesthetic invention.

  • Try lines crossing to make “see through” works.

  • Mark making tools have different characters (voices).

  • Shapes are lines that join up with themselves.

  • Marks are both thoughts and actions.

  • Balance relations of marks as you go: composing, unifying, harmonising.

  • Make marks in pairs, sets of three, of four and of five, and so on (like sentences).

  • Think movements, rhythms and rhymes in sets of marks.

  • Contrast simple and busy arrangements

  • Use ambiguities: opposites too.

  • “Float” separate scattered marks all over the page .

  • Keep your original physical work safe.

Benefits for the Classroom

toggle icon

The benefits of Squiggla for the teacher:

  • Squiggla is a quick, easy, accessible creative thinking teaching tool.

  • It can be used as a calm-down exercise in class first thing in the morning or after lunch break.

  • This online/offline tool develops the key competencies aligned with the New Zealand Curriculum.

  • Squiggla was developed by the Chartwell Trust, which is the founding patron of the Creative Thinking Project at the University of Auckland. There are useful resources on creative thinking on the website: www.creativethinking.org.nz

  • It is designed to be used by all learners, at all levels and abilities.

  • Squiggla enables teachers to work across traditional ‘subject silos’, and can be applied within any discipline. It encourages students to ask What if? And Why not?

  • Researchers recognise the need for creative thinking classroom environments.

The benefits Squiggla has for a child’s development:

  • Mark making is how human creative thinking developed from cave to computer.

  • Developing creative thinking at a young age can influence how a child thinks creatively in the future. You can challenge your brain with new activities by encountering something it hasn’t experienced before so Squiggla encourages constant change and invention.

  • Creative thinking has been labelled as one of the major attributes that belongs solely to humans and sets us apart from the technology that is designed to increasingly replace us at work.

  • Squiggla helps develop the mind muscles of the creative brain. Be Squiggla-fit by making Squiggla a creative daily habit!

  • This tool develops the sought-after thinking skills of the future and equips learners to compete and excel in life and in any career.

  • Squiggla enables confidence building in their creative thinking ability.

  • The use of this tool can translate into cognitive uplift in every school subject.

  • It is designed to strengthen resilience and embrace the freedom to explore, experiment and experience.

  • Squiggla offers ways to explore key capabilities needed for the future including communication, divergent thinking, play, risk taking, discipline mastery, collaboration and creativity, memory and attentiveness.

  • It develops their creative thinking by ‘just having a go’, to discover things through experience.

  • Collaborate by sharing with Squiggla friends.

Incentives and rewards

toggle icon

Squiggla offers student, school and classroom rewards designed to encourage sustained participation. Keep an eye on the website for more information. Each upload has a chance to win $100 offer to buy for the International Collection of Creative Squiggleworks. Winnesr are selected monthly.

Points: You earn points when you upload Squiggleworks to the My Squiggleworks Gallery and levels of achievement as follows.

  • Challenge 1: The Play Squiggla Level: 0-10 uploads earning 1 point per upload.

  • Challenge 2: The Make Squiggla Level: 11 – 30 uploads earning 1 point per upload

  • Challenge 3: The Invent Squiggla Level: 31 – 50 uploads earning 1 point per upload

  • Challenge 4: The Imagine Squiggla Level: 51-100 uploads earning 1 point per upload

  • Challenge 5: The Connect Squiggla Level: 101 – 150 uploads earning 1 Point per upload

  • Challenge 6: The Flow Squiggla Level: 151-200 uploads earning 1 Point per upload

  • Continue the Challenge: Squiggla Brain levels: 200 + uploads earning 1 Point per upload

Messages of encouragement are displayed as the challenges are completed.


toggle icon

Squiggla Time: Time to make marks or the time set aside for Squiggla

Mark: A dot or line and variations of those

Mark making: The action of making a mark (dot, line, squiggle) on the page

Floating mark: One that is surrounded by space

Fixed mark: One that is touching another mark or the frame

Shape: Where lines join up to create a closed area

Crossing lines and marks: Where lines and marks cross other lines and marks

Squigglework: The mark making composition produced by the Squiggla

Squiggla: Someone who makes marks and uploads to the Squiggla app

Squigglespace: The framed area of space required for the Squigglework

Startermark: A mark which originates from seeing or remembering an object, use of a known sign or an abstraction. (A Squigglework may use several Startermarks)

Squiggla Time: Time to make marks or the time set aside for Squiggla

Variations: Deliberately invented marks which are similar to but different from their Startermark. These will include INVENTED changes in colours, size (width, length), texture, expressive character (speed, pressure), lightness and darkness, orientation (to previous marks and to edges of frame space), degrees of similarity (divergent “echoes”), fragmentation, complexity, number, repetitions, distortion, reversals, meaning content

Become a Squiggla School

Keen to explore new ways to have a creative school environment? Signing up as a school with Squiggla is simple through the website and the Squiggla App.

Get started in 6 Easy Steps:

1) Register each learner in the Squiggla App- this can be done on personal or shared classroom devices. They can register as individuals or as a class. They will need to create a password and a Squiggla profile.

2) Register as a Teacher by contacting us and have access to your classes statistics and submissions.

3) Look at the videos on the app and find more ways to begin by using the Ideas Page.

4) As a teacher, you know your class well – who responds to music, movement, loves playing with language or loves solving equations and making patterns? Encourage them to align these interests with their Squiggla activities.

5) Encourage new Squigglas to get in the flow by inventing their own systems for making Squiggleworks. Be open to new possibilities!

6) Simply use paper and mark making tools to create Squiggleworks ON the page, then using the App, upload into personalised image galleries to start earning points and chances to show family and friends or share class activities.

Squiggla is free to schools in Australia and New Zealand for the remainder of 2018. Further features and extended storage are planned so a small charge may be made to cover this in the future.

Need more information? Contact us with the link below and one of our representatives will get in touch with you shortly!