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Parent Guidelines


Welcome parents and guardians to the Odyssey of the Mind journey! You are about to witness your child do some extraordinary things such as use their ‘noodle’ in a creative way, write a humorous skit, build some awesome sets, make some cool costumes, and solve problems of various sorts left and right! As involved parents you have always been there to lend a helping hand, be cheerleaders, and offer support, but now your child is saying things like, “You are not allowed to help!” and “No Outside Assistance!” There is some truth to this, as the very core of OotM is its Outside Assistance rule. But there are ways you can support your child and his/her team. Below is a guideline to the dos and dont's for parents and other team supporters. Also, feel free to ask your child's coach how you can be of assistance. 



Transport the team to buy things


Transport the props 


Teach the team members a skill IF the team asks, such as 

● Sewing 

● Woodworking 

● Carving 

● Art 

● Electronics 

● Engineering 

● Principles of simple machines 

● Welding 


Help find “experts” to teach skills 


Help provide snacks 


Bring spontaneous problem supplies


Help get props into the building for the 

tournament, even to the staging area


Open attics, closets, basements for “garage sale value” materials 


Provide lots of encouragement 


Provide a place to meet/store props 


Get everyone and everything to the 



Applaud A LOT

and help get props offstage afterwards


Practice spontaneous problems 


Ask questions 



Suggest what to buy 


Repair props if broken in shipping 


Suggest to the team which skills to use to solve a problem 


Suggest to the team which skills would result in a better­looking or better functioning solution 


Give the teams any ideas for their problem solution


Sew anything, paint anything, do anything to contribute to the team’s problem solution 


Analyze why something failed 


Expect perfection from a solution not done by adults (or from a solution done by adults, for that matter!) 


Suggest what materials to get from the attic, closet or basement 


Pack props for the team for easier use on stage 


Fix anything that breaks 


Criticize any part of a team’s solution 


Ask leading questions 


Put emphasis on scores instead of fun

Being a hands-off and zipped-lip parent can be very, very hard!

But Remember:


By stepping back and letting your child navigate this “odyssey” on his/her own you are allowing your child the opportunity to grow into a confident, self-reliant, team­playing, creative thinking, problem solver!


How Awesome is That!


For more info on how OotM works, check out our FAQ page and these websites:


Odyssey of the Mind

NorCal Odyssey of the Mind

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