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Creative Thinking Exercises for Children

The purpose of the exercises below is to stimulate original, creative thinking. The first exercise teaches creative thinking on a concrete level, the second one on a schematic level, and the third on an abstract level. Move to the schematic level once the learner has mastered creative thinking on a concrete level, and to the abstract level once the learner has mastered creative thinking on a schematic level.

Creative Thinking Exercise 1:

In Creative Thinking exercise 1 some concrete object, e.g. a colored block, must be described. Take the colored block, show it to the learner and ask, “Can you describe this block to me?” The learner must try to enumerate as many details of the block as possible. Should the learner get stuck, or find it difficult to describe the block, leading questions could be set, for example:

“What do the edges look like?”
“How many edges are there?”
“What do the side look like?”
“How many sides are there?”
“How many corners are there?”
“Is the block large or small?”
“Is it light or heavy?”

After the description, the learner must try to apply what he has observed. This can be done by setting questions like:

“What can one use the block for?”
(For example, the edges can be used to draw straight lines; it can be used as a receptacle for things like sand, water, bird seeds, etc.)

“If you could change the block in some way, or add something to it, what can it then be used for?”
(For example, by putting a piece of sponge into it, it can serve as a pincushion; by gluing such blocks together, one can build a doll house, etc.)

“Of what material, other than plastic, could one make such blocks?”
(For example, wood, glass, clay, etc.)

Any other suitable object can be used for the exercise, e.g. a pencil, a pen, a paper clip, a matchbox, etc.

Creative Thinking Exercise 2:

In this exercise, some schematic drawing or diagram is shown to the learner. He must again give a description of the drawing, and afterwards he must enumerate as many things as possible which the drawing may represent.

A circle may, for example, be drawn on a piece of paper. To describe it, the learner may say that it is a circle, that it is round, that it consists of an endless curved line, that a radius drawn from any position on the curve will always be of the same length, etc.

After the description, the learner may say what the diagram can present. In the case of a circle, the learner may say that it could represent a ball, the earth, the sun, a plate, a saucer, the brim of a cup, the letter O, etc.

Creative Thinking Exercise 3:

In this exercise, the purpose is to stimulate abstract thinking. Therefore, only verbal stimuli are used, and no concrete objects or schematic drawings, as in the previous exercises.

Examples are as follows:

“Name as many things as you can that are red (or any other color).”

“Name as many things as you can that can make a person glad (or cross, etc.)”

“In what way can a person react when he loses his temper? Think of as many as possible.”

“What emotions do you associate with the color red (or any other color).”

“Try to think of as many things as possible that can be done with a stone, or stones (or any other object or objects).”

Copyright 2008: Remedium

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