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Fostering Creative Thinking Skills In Children
Imagination and Creative Thinking
Possibility. I love the way this word sounds. When I say it, I think of bubbles rising and popping as it is pronounced. Pop, pop, pop: possibility! Can you imagine this in your mind? Possibility is what could be, what if, it is creative thinking and imagination. Without this, our thinking tends to become robotic, or cloned to what others believe.
Without practicing creative thinking and imagination, we are easily led on how to think about important life issues. I would go so far as to say that this is how a government easily captures the minds of many, leading to a life of dependency and acceptance of dictatorship and totalitarianism.
Creativity, which has its roots in creative thinking, is the innovation that drives leadership and management. It leads to new products, company growth and revenue. Sharna Olfman, Professor of Psychology at Pitt Point Park, states, "Many of our great thinkers locate their capacity for original and profound thought in their imaginative abilities, first developed through creative play in early childhood."
Creative Thinking Practice
Creative Thinking Resources
Other Hubs of Interest On Creativity
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- Ages and Stages of Child Development
Ages and Stages of child development is a child's growth process from birth into late teens. Parents can help children to develop positive life skills by knowing how to work within these stages.
- The Gift of a Child's Drawing
Children's drawings are special gifts that often reveal a child's character. A child's art can express his thoughts about life and his emotions.
Fostering Creative Thinking In Children
When my son was in high school, I was asked to lead the Odyssey Of The Mind Club, which he had joined. And of course, his involvement was a big factor in my accepting the position. The program helps students in creative problem solving through a series of mental exercises, riddles, and projects. For instance, the object above is a candle ornament and when placed around the base of a candle it enhances the reflection of the light. However, beyond the true purpose of this item, what could you use it for? I am sure you can come up with some very interesting options. This is a practice in creative thinking: using your imagination to think of the possibilities. Mental exercise such as this stimulates creative problem solving in children.
There are two parts to creative problem solving: Analysis and Synthesis.
- Analysis: ability to break a problem into sub-parts to examine how they fit together.
- Synthesis: how to put the parts back together to make sense of the original problem.
In helping a child to develop creative thinking, a parent should present a problem or project for discussion. Guiding the child through the possibilities of what could happen or how it could possibly be solved should only highlight the potentials. Parents must be careful not to solve the problem for the child.
Breaking the problem down into small parts so that the child can analyze the situation helps the mental thinking process. I would compare this to writing the steps to a recipe: a step by step instruction guide. Children who experience difficulty in creative thinking most likely are unable to break a problem into parts, instead they look at the wide view and become frustrated.
In the candle ornament exercise above, you were 1) presented the problem (Analysis): What could this be?; 2) Asked to break it into parts (named different uses); and then 3) put it back together into the original form/object (Synthesis, Steps 2 and 3). As Einstein once said, "You can't solve a problem with the same thinking that created the problem." One must consider all the possibilities first.
Creative Problem Solving Process
Creative Thinking: The Horse Farm Project
My granddaughter and I visited a horse farm earlier this month. We enjoyed watching them in the field, feeding them carrots and apples, and petting each of them. When we returned home, my granddaughter was so motivated to make a stable for the toy horses in our toybox. She was very familiar with the store bought types which came with many accessories, but we had limited amounts of these at home. We talked about how we could create similar barns and fencing for them with the material we had in the house. Armed with cardboard boxes, paper plates, scraps of material, plastic and paper sheets, tape, glue and markers, she set out to design a farm on her own.
The process took some thinking, trial and error on best fit for parts and material, but she finally completed her design after a full day's worth of creative play. Using creative thinking and problem solving she had produced a farm and small zoo for her toy animals. The video posted is the result of her efforts.
Fostering creative thinking in children helps them to analyze problems and present workable solutions. These same children, when mature adults, are those that create solutions for community problems such as designing new park systems, animal protection leagues, and workable tax laws. So, parents make sure you allow your child to enjoy creative thinking through play activities. It will help them to become successful leaders who make a positive difference in society.