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What is Lateral Thinking?

Lateral Thinking: Preschoolers thinking out of the box

To think out of the box you need to be able to think laterally. That means,solving problems differently. For example: Your child plays with a car around the coffee table and you stretch your foot out to touch the tabletop to create a link with the table. Your child will either climb over, under or change direction, because of the obstruction.  We as parents need to create problems/situations for our children that they can work out for themselves without us guiding them. They need to overcome the problem without throwing a tantrum.

Researched shown that children that are more right-brain orientated are normally the lateral thinkers, while the left-brain kiddies needs to be shown how to do it correctly before they feel safe to solve the problem.

Edward de Bono, author of "Teach Your Child How to Think" says thatwe use vertical ways of thinking daily to do everyday things but it is the lateral thinking process that we use to generate ideas.

Mind Boggling Lateral Thinking Puzzles for Kids (Lagoon) Be sure to take a look at this Interesting book of Lateral Thinking Puzzles just for kids.

The question is:

Can you teach lateral thinking - especially to the left brain kiddies!

Well, lateral thinking is basically an ability to link or associate ideas. It is a technique that we use to link information. Example: Grass that is just been cut - the smell triggers a memory out of your childhood. You basically associate the smell with something that happened in your childhood.

For interest sake, try this on yourself. Take or think of paperclips. Think of ideas on what you can do with paperclips. Even something silly. Now link the words paperclip to the word fishing. When you make the association you will think of many more ways to use a paperclip. For instance, fish hook, fishing game you might even come up with something great and unusual. It is important to also have fun while doing this exercise as fun stimulates creativity.

Kids Who Think Outside the Box: Helping Your Unique Child Thrive in a Cookie-Cutter World - a great book to help you on the teaching journey!

Activities to do with your preschooler that enhance this skill

When your child turns 2, it becomes the trial-and-error learning time. They need to move, touch and experience everything in a safe environment. Limited restriction and lots of opportunities to explore.

  • Naming Games using picture cards.

  • Action games such as sit down, stand up.

  • Sorting and ordering objects.

  • Learning colors and shapes.

  • Water play - pouring water into different containers.

  • Sand trays - wet and dry sand.

Give them cupcakes to decorate but do not give them the exact amount of ingredients such as smarties, jelly tots etc. The aim is that they should make their own plans to decorate with the limited resources they have. Do not, Do not, Do not interfere. Let them create on their own accord. Help unless you are asked and then also use open ended questions. Let them answer their own questions.

Herewith are a few more books that encourage lateral thinking. I'm sure you willenjoy them!

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