Brainstorming brings to life the process of creativity.

Brainstorming Activities for Toddlers

by Melanie Ann Boczarski

Start your toddler's journey to discovering the creative process with the introduction of brainstorming. The optimum environment for a toddler to brainstorm is free from judgment and safe for the examination of ideas. While undertaking brainstorming activities, you should use neutral phrases (no idea is good or bad) and encourage the flow of ideas. The goal is to get your toddler to think of as many solutions to the question as she can. After she unloads her ideas, she can sort through them for the ones that best fit her desired outcome. Brainstorming is an effective way to teach critical thinking to a small child.

1. Thinking questions

One brainstorming activity is using open-ended statements and probing questions to get your toddler thinking. Start with an issue, unmet need or limit that your child wishes to overcome. Be sure to lead with the questions, but allow him to come up with his own ideas however implausible they may appear to you. Ask questions such as "What other possibilities are there?" or "What else could you try?"

2. Be the clay

Offer your toddler a lump of modeling clay (or play-dough) and ask her to become the clay. She should be allowed to make the clay into anything that she wants. Keep an open-mind about the ideas that she has for her clay self. There are no mistakes here as with any brainstorming activity. Anything that she makes is fine, so do not get annoyed if her clay creation looks like a bird but she insists that it is a bus.

3. Story time

Brainstorming a story idea can let a group of toddlers work together in a creative fashion or give you a chance for one-on-one creative thinking with your toddler. By brainstorming characters, scenes, and conflict he can create his own story from beginning to end. Puppets offer a line of choices for character possibilities and can even lead to some interesting casting. Help your child build a world where he can tell any story anyway that he likes.

4. Revisiting an event

Utilize teachable moments by brainstorming alternate outcomes for recent events. After your toddler is faced with a choice, talk about the situation with her using, "what if" statements. Allow her to think about other options that she had in handling the situation. Go through the events and ask what would have happened if she had done something different throughout the activity. Do not criticize her original choice or any of the ideas she comes up with during this brainstorming activity but ask what would be the most likely outcome of the idea.

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