Giving children the means to think creatively not only benefits them now, but in the future as well. For instance, children who have creative thinking skills are more motivated and have higher levels of self-esteem, according to the Teaching Thinking website. Creative thinking, or developing and expanding on ideas and questions using innovation and imagination, is also good for when they grow up; their ability to think creatively and have flexibility in thought will set them apart from other job candidates. You can foster these abilities in children by initiating games that encourage creative thought.
Play With Words
Word games can help with creative thinking because they can encourage children to make creative associations and relationships among different elements. Try listing four or five words that are related to each other through one other word. Have your child view the list, with the intention of naming that connecting word. For example, list “sleeping,” “contest,” and “mark” on a sheet of paper. Your child would then try to guess the connective word, “beauty.” For a game to accommodate multiple children, try “Connect.” Here, have one child name any word. Next, have another child name a relating word. The next child would then name an associative word based on the preceding word, and so on.
See Different Perspectives
Visual thinking games can help promote creative thinking because they help children problem solve with shapes and forms, and encourage the use of imagination and visualization. One way to stimulate visual thinking is with abstract images. Have your youngster look at an abstract image and discuss what she sees. Choose images in which there are generally two main answers, such as a vase or two faces depending on how you look at it. Children with flexible mental skills will see both of these. However, don’t stop with these answers. Encourage your child to look at the image from different perspectives and angles and list any additional concepts she sees. The point of this game is to let the imagination roam, so don’t inhibit or pooh-pooh any outlandish ideas.
Drawing with Imagination
Drawing games include the benefits of both visualization and word games as they combine these two to encourage creative thinking. Drawing also allows children to play with a subject that can easily be altered and build on an existing shape, rather than a subject that is fixed, such as pictures. For an ideal drawing game, Teaching Thinking suggests “Squiggles.” Here, have your child draw a simple squiggle on a piece of paper or board and ask him what it could possibly be. Next, have him use the shape to build something more complex. Your child can do this alone or with a friend.
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