THINK OUT OF THE BOX

Read­ers at a re­cent Sim­ply Her work­shop learnt how to help their kids de­velop creative think­ing skills. CH­ERYL LEONG shares tips from the ex­pert.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Bookends Event -

1Help them to be in­de­pen­dent learn­ers

If you keep demon­strat­ing how some­thing should be done, chances are, your kids will stick to that “for­mula” and won’t try to find so­lu­tions on their own. “In­stead of show­ing them, get them to work with their friends or sib­lings. By shar­ing ideas and com­ing up with so­lu­tions, they learn how to think cre­atively and in­de­pen­dently,” says Shanna-Mae.

2Opt for open-ended ac­tiv­i­ties

Save on the colour­ing books by giv­ing your tykes blank sheets of pa­per, sug­gests Shanna-Mae. “Colour­ing in­side the lines is re­stric­tive and doesn’t en­cour­age ac­tive imag­i­na­tion. Em­power them to think by get­ting them to cre­ate a story with their draw­ing. Even if they pro­duce a squig­gly mess, if they can de­scribe their story to you clearly, it’s a sign that they’ve got imag­i­na­tion and log­i­cal thought pro­cesses in place.”

3Think of prob­lems as puzzles

Let them de­velop the mind­set that ob­sta­cles are merely puzzles that can be solved – and half the bat­tle is won, says Shanna-Mae. “When they get stuck while build­ing things, get them to turn their ef­forts to dec­o­rat­ing in­stead of forc­ing them­selves to come up with a so­lu­tion. This is a good way to re­lax and gen­er­ate a new flow of ideas with­out stress­ing out about achiev­ing re­sults.”

4Let them learn from their mis­takes

Most of the time, kids may not lis­ten even if you say that some­thing can’t or shouldn’t be done. So the best way for them to learn is to have hands-on in­ter­ac­tion with their en­vi­ron­ment. Shanna-Mae says: “For ex­am­ple, if you tell them that tal­cum pow­der can­not be dis­solved in wa­ter, un­like Milo or milk, let them try it for them­selves. That way, they’ll un­der­stand the con­cept bet­ter too.”

5Give them free rein to play

Don’t be in a hurry to stop kids from play­ing with un­con­ven­tional “toys”, ad­vises Shanna-Mae. “Mums don’t usu­ally want their kids in the kitchen when they’re cook­ing. But chil­dren love pick­ing up scraps like car­rot tops and potato peel­ings, to make faces or things. You should let them – work­ing with their hands is a form of creative play.”

6In­volve the whole fam­ily in creative games

Get Ju­nior’s creative juices (and yours!) flow­ing in ac­tiv­i­ties like writ­ing a sto­ry­book and il­lus­trat­ing it to­gether. “A good fam­ily ac­tiv­ity is the ‘cre­ate a shape’ game. Draw a ran­dom shape and get every­one to take turns adding one stroke to it to cre­ate a new shape. This ex­er­cises their cre­ativ­ity and chal­lenges them to come up with some­thing new at ev­ery turn,” says Shanna-Mae.

Par­tic­i­pants at the work­shop try­ing to solve the creative puzzles in­tro­duced by Shan­naMae (left).

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