When I think of science, I think of formulating new ideas and making new discoveries. The most significant scientific contributions didn’t come from answers to already formulated problems, they come from asking new questions and deriving new answers. How do we teach our children to think outside the box to make these new discoveries?
Here’s the answer…..by giving your child materials like blocks and blank paper to color on instead of puzzles, flash cards and coloring books. Let me explain…
Giving children open ended toys that allow for multiple solutions (like blocks) allows for children to be more creative in their problem solving than children who are given toys with that have only one possible solution (like puzzles). Studies have shown that children who play with toys like blocks are able to come up with more solutions to problems and do not give up as easily than children who are not given these toys to play with. It all goes back to the statement that a good toy is 10% toy and 90% child.
So, if you want to foster creative thinking in your child, give them open ended toys with lots of space and time to play with them. Allow for your child to play with these without adult interference. This does not mean to not play with your child, it means don’t guide your child in their play. If you allow your child to play as they wish, they will be able to come up with more solutions and become less frustrated than if guided by an adult….interesting huh?
What toys/activities are good for this?
- Legos, or other constructing toys.
- Musical instruments
- Making Art
- Make-Believe Play
This concept is called Divergent Thinking.
Activity #16: Make some Art!
Let’s foster this divergent thinking today by making some art with your kids! Here are some ideas:
- Paint (using fingers or paintbrushes)
- Make a collage out of pictures in magazines or natural stuff found outside
- Roll out a long sheet of paper on the floor (back side of wrapping paper or brown postal paper work well) and let your child draw
- Give your child construction paper, scissors, and glue and see what they come up with.
- Bring out the clay and let your child create!
Tomorrow: Science Part 2 – Experiments!