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  • Writer's pictureDr. V.S. Gayathri

Creative Thinking Tools For Children!

We have been discussing Creative Thinking and how parents and educators can raise young minds to be creative thinkers at home and in the classroom. Today, we would like to talk about some of the popular tools that aid in creative thinking and can be implemented easily.

Let us look at 5 such tools that can be used by children of different age groups:

Mind Mapping

The key to mind mapping is to note down every idea that comes up. Urge the child not to neglect anything, no matter how trivial it may seem. Generate as many ideas as possible; the more they jot down, the bigger the chance of finding that perfect idea. The end result will be much easier to visualize, compared to a static list.


1.     Make small groups of 3 to 4 kids in a classroom

2.     Give them a topic and ask them to note down 5 important pointers

3.     So many ideas will come up in both intra and inter-groups

The Six Thinking Hats

Developed by Edward de Bono in the early 80s, this popular technique can be used. They involve putting on a selection of metaphorical hats when it comes to making a decision. Each hat represents a different direction of thinking. This can be used not only in the business world but very much applicable to students as well.


1.     Choose a few students and give each of them a thinking hat of the above colours. 

2.     Give them a situation: “The school library needs new books. Find possible solutions to the problem.”

3.     Ask them to work in a group to find the best solution and justify why. Each person must only give points based on the hat they wear. 

The Checklist

Alex Osborn, who is often coined as the father of brainstorming, established around 75 creative questions to help encourage ideas in his fantastic book, Applied Imagination

For kids, let’s start with a few basic ones.

Make use of the curiosity, imagination, and thirst for knowledge of young minds in this method. Let them create a checklist of 5 W’s and 1 H - who, why, what, when, where, and how for every situation, problem, solution, event, etc.

Word Association

This works best for kids of all ages. Make them think of associated or relatable words to a given word.

For example, you might have made the connection between technology to hardware to Apple (brand) to the fruit. These associated words can be the inspiration for potential ideas, so take the time to mind-map ideas based on such associated words.

Picture Prompts or Picture Association

Picture prompts use pre-selected images to promote free associations amongst a group or an individual. This is another simple yet effective method that allows them to think more visually and creatively, compared to writing lists.


1.      Show them a random picture like a picture of a dog looking up at the night sky.

2.      Ask them what it could be thinking. 

3.      Each of them might give the dog a different persona and perspective.

Some of the other popular tools include brainstorming, group discussion, lateral thinking, role plays, and others.

Have you tried any of these?


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