8 Replies Latest reply: Dec 26, 2011 10:33 AM by louc RSS

How do you encourage your child to think outside the box?

mabell New User
Currently Being Moderated

Many children are so focused on getting the “right” answer that they are afraid to take chances. However, if we look at famous inventors, like Thomas Edison, or people who think inventively, like Steve Jobs, we know that they took big risks. They faced many failures or “wrong” answers before getting it “right.” 


How do you encourage your child to be a risk taker and venture into creative thinking? Are there any resources you use or open-ended activities your child especially enjoys?


Check out the Wonderopolis website over the holidays to read the Wonder about this topic and please share your ideas!

  • Re: How do you encourage your child to think outside the box?
    fatinahshaker New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi Donna..great question . It was my main concern during my teaching career.. best way is t o be an"out of the box" thinker yourself as a mom or a teacher . Terms like: wrong answer, or failure.. Need not be used , fear of saying the wrong answer or taking the wrong move inhibits children from thinking freely and creatively. Encourage the child to discover how his own mind works by assuring her that any issue has so many possible directions to take or to solve and that any answer or move could be the best in its own right.... Hope this helps a little, fatinah

  • Re: How do you encourage your child to think outside the box?
    bethwillismiller New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    When I served as the Florida Department of Education state consultant for gifted education, I was asked to provide technical assistance to school districts regarding strategies for identifying and improving creative thinking skills, or "thinking outside the box." Just wanted to share a few of these strategies:

                Fluency is the ability to think of many answers to a question, to list many possible solutions to a problem, or to generate a number of responses. Fluency is being able to think of lots of plans or ideas. You are fluent when you can:

    • Think of a long list of reasons for…
    • Make a very long list of…
    • List many uncommon uses for…

                Flexibility is the ability to change your way of thinking about a problem or situation. It is the ability to think of alternative ideas and to adapt to different situations. You are flexible when you can:

    • Think of an alternative to…
    • Think of another way to…
    • Invent an interesting way to…

                Originality is the ability to think of fresh or unusual designs, ideas, responses, or styles. People who are original are independent and creative in their thoughts and actions. They create things that are new, different, or unique. You are original when you can:

    • Suggest a unique name for…
    • Devise a tool that will help…
    • Design a…

                Elaboration is the process of expanding an idea by adding detail. To elaborate, you must understand the original idea and see a way to clarify or improve it by adding specific details. You are elaborating when you add to, enlarge, enrich, or expand descriptions, designs, drawings, explanations, instructions, reports or stories. You are using elaboration when you can:

    • Add extra details to…
    • Tell more about…
    • Explain the instructions to…
    • Re: How do you encourage your child to think outside the box?
      louc Novice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Wow, that was good...

      • Re: How do you encourage your child to think outside the box?
        mabell New User
        Currently Being Moderated

        I'll say!! To be honest, I think these are all great ideas. I like the doodling response as well--anything to get kids to feel comfortable sharing ideas that might be a little different or unusual.


        My son teaches 8th grade history and is trying to get students to think critically. His basic goal is to teach students to justify their opinions  in sensible/meaningful ways as opposed to repeating opinions of others (especially political opinions or thoughts about world events). He think tries to get debates going, but in ways that are respectful of the varying opinions. But, expressing different ideas should feel acceptable long before 8th grade.


        I will share these strategies, however, as they are great ways to challenge your thinking. Excellent!!


        Thanks for sharing.

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