Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Thinking Out of the Box
We all want our children to be creative, don’t we? It’s also to say that it’s the need of the hour. We don’t want children to follow the crowd anymore, we want them to lead and come up with novel ideas. Unfortunately, many schools don’t leave scope for children’s creativity and the ability to think differently for several reasons - be it a faulty and outdated curriculum or the sheer ignorance of the child’s brainpower.
Not leaving anything to chance or hoping that your school will take care of it at some point or the other, I am going to relate simple strategies that will help you make your children thinkers and creators and make it their habit from early on. This will go a long way in contributing to successes in adult life.
When you play a board game with your child, think what you do. You simply follow the rules of the game, don’t you? Yes it’s also an important skill to follow the specified rules and enjoy a game like Battleship, Jenga, Snakes and Ladders, Ludo etc. and you should do it. But if you want to take it up another level and open up your child’s mind and make her think out of the box, encourage her to make up her own version of the game. You will be pleasantly surprised how you would trigger her to think in completely different lines. Here you are not only making her think differently but also showing her that she has the power to change things around which furthers her self-confidence and self-esteem.
I would like to relate an example from my classroom experiences. Once a child and I were playing the game of Jenga. We enjoyed the game the way it was supposed to be played. Then later, I asked him if we could make up our own game using the same material. He instantly started thinking. Then he said, let’s distribute the blocks equally between us and try to build a tower. The person who builds the tallest standing tower gets a point. It was such a brilliant idea and challenging too because you had to build a taller tower than your opponent and figure out how to balance it at the same time. I have also had children going backwards in the game of Snakes and Ladders (by starting at 100 and ending at 1) and making the snakes take you ahead and ladders bring you down! Sky is the limit!
Don’t be discouraged if the ideas they have are not practical or simply too silly to adapt. Don’t discard their ideas by saying that it’s silly, it doesn’t make sense and it won’t work but help them to think through it and help them device their plan. Give them a chance. Focus on the ‘process’ (creative thinking) and not the ‘product’ (a fancy idea or game that you aspire them to come up with).
Do share some wonderful and awe-inspiring experiences when you give this strategy a shot! Stay tuned for more ideas to help you spark your little wonder’s creativity.