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Creative Thinking

By Dr. Joni Samples

     Watching kids think through a question or situation is a fascinating experience. A
couple of weeks ago my daughter, my granddaughter, and I were having breakfast.
Jennifer, my daughter, asked London what they were going to do for the day.
London said, "Go shopping."

     I,innocently enough said, "What are you shopping for today?"

     London replied with one word, "Underwear."

     London is three so no filtering of society's niceties occur to her wonderful mind.
Jennifer excused herself for the moment and left us to talk.

     London continued with her conversation. "I wear big girl panties," she said proudly. "Mommy wears big girl panties. Do you wear big girl panties?"

     "Yes,I do" I answered with a smile.

     Then in the loudest voice possible, loud enough for every table in the vicinity to
hear, she said, "Daddy wears big boy panties."

     As I listened to the choking, chuckles, and chortles at the surrounding tables, I laughed as well. She'd managed to go from A to Z figuring out how all of this new
undergarment wear was okay and possible to handle in her world. She had decided
this was okay for her and all the people she loved found it okay, then it must
be right.

     That's often how we get from A to Z. A new idea is presented to us, we check it out in
our own way of processing, we check it out with others, and when we've decided
to believe this new thought works, we try it out for ourselves.

     Being a parent or a teacher give us such unique opportunities for presenting new
ideas to children and for allowing them to present their ideas to us. Our
charge is to be present with them as they explore those ideas and make them

     What new ideas can you and your child share today?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • London and Grammy reading a bookTake a walk together and see what fascinates your child. Last week for London, it was the sprinkler heads in the grass and sidewalk. How many were broken and how many were fixed? How can you fix the broken ones?

  • Read a story together and before you get to the last pages, talk about ways the story could end.
  • Watch a TV show and pause it several times. Guess what might happen next.

  • Go to a ball game and try to figure out what one of the players might be thinking while he or she plays the game.

  • Play a board game and talk about strategy of how to win the game.

         These activities are all about thinking. We so often look for the correct answer to a question when many questions don't have a "right" answer. Stretch thinking by allowing thoughts to be okay. London's thinking about who was wearing panties needed to be okay for her to process everything that was going on in her head until she came up with something that was comfortable for her. That's new learning because now it is hers. What new learning can you engage in with your child this week?

Posted on April 14, 2012 by Dr. Joni Samples

Dr. Joni is the Chief Academic Officer for Family Friendly Schools. She has written six books on the topic of Family Engagement. For more activities see her Parent Playbook series found on Family Friendly Schools.

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Permalink   Comments (3)   Send to a Friend

Tags: *Parent Engagement at Home , Building trust & respect, Character Development, Critical Thinking, Parents as teachers

Posted April 16, 2012 by Steve Constantino
Joni, Great ideas presented in a wonderful story! Thanks! 

Posted April 15, 2012 by askteacherz
Thanks so much for your hard work and effort. You have certainly captured, in concise manner, the essence and fundamentals of how to develop creative thinking skills early. Much appreciated. 

Posted April 14, 2012 by rick ackerly
I love your story and suggestions.
So important in the current climate of overbearing adult "teaching." 


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