4 games to boost your kid’s creativity

September 18, 2018
  • 1 / 5

    If all that rote learning is killing your child’s creativity, use these simple exercises and games from Dr Mark Nowacki to jumpstart it again. He is a former professor at Singapore Management University and the founder of Logicmills.

    The first two activities require no materials; the third requires a pencil, paper, and a mirror; and the last requires the purchase of an inexpensive game.

    Taken as a whole, these activities encourage flexibility of mind, help forge connections among different domains of knowledge, and allow players to appreciate different perspectives apart from their usual way of looking at the world.

    These activities are not magic, and no one activity can teach everything there is to know about creativity, but they address key skill areas in creative problem solving.

    Related: Creativity: why kids need it and 3 ways to start

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

    Related: 6 ways to encourage creativity in your child

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  • The Advantages Game
    2 / 5 The Advantages Game

    This game challenges players to look at familiar things from a wildly different perspective.

    For instance, the challenge might be: “Name five cool things about being a gecko.”

    Answers I’ve encountered include:

    • You don’t need to wash the floor anymore because your feet are sticky anyway!
    • Your third cousin is a dragon!
    • If it gets cold and you freeze your butt off, it grows back!
    • You will fit right in when the aliens land!
    • Hanging around on walls is cool!
    • You’re naked…and nobody cares!

    Animals or broken objects are good starting subjects.

    Can you come up with 10 uses for a broken pen? How about three safe ways to kiss a porcupine?

    Related: Improve your kid’s English the fun way

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

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  • The Association Game
    3 / 5 The Association Game

    This classic, non-competitive game is perfect for family car rides and long trips on the MRT.

    The first player begins by saying any word that comes to mind, for example, “elephant”.

    The next player repeats the word, and then mentions any word or concept that is triggered upon hearing the previous player’s word, such as “elephant, pink.”

    The game then continues: “pink, rose,” “rose, syrup”, “syrup, bandung,” and so on.

    Satisfaction comes from making odd, unexpected, and surprisingly fitting associations.

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

    Related: 8 best toys to inspire creativity in children

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  • Mirror Play
    4 / 5 Mirror Play

    We all know that mirrors change things, but how?

    Ordinary tasks become shockingly difficult when we try to do them with a mirror.

    Have a child try to draw a circle or draw a picture while looking only at a mirror.

    Or, try writing sentences like these (use all uppercase):

    HI BOB

    Hold these sentences up to a mirror. As expected, they will appear backwards.

    Then, ask the child to turn the paper upside down. Suddenly, all of the sentences snap back to normal.

    Why? And why didn’t we recognise that the sentences were upside down in the first place?

    Kids may get a little tired of this game after one too many turns at it, but it’s still a great rainy day activity.

    And it definitely makes the point that we are more locked into a fixed perspective in our everyday lives than we usually realise.

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

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  • PDQ
    5 / 5 PDQ

    This wonderful card game by Gamewright is available at several specialty shops.

    The game consists of a large set of cards printed with different letters of the alphabet.

    In a simple and fun version, the dealer quickly draws two cards and shows them to all the players. Suppose the cards are U and D.

    All players now shout out words that begin with either letter and that contain the remaining letter in the same word. Thus, we can form the words “UDder,” “UnDerwear,” “DifficUlt,” and “DoUble.”

    The two cards go to whomever says a word first and, in case of a tie, the person with the longer word wins. Whoever has the most cards at the end of the game wins.

    Players of different abilities can play together by setting a minimum word length for more advanced players.

    The sheer variety of entertaining games that can be played with PDQ cards is staggering.

    (Photo: Facebook/GameWright Games Singapore)


    Related: 10 ways to develop creativity in your preschooler


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