Brainstorming with your toddler or young child helps him to gather thoughts and ideas and focus his attention on a topic. It also generates creativity and new vocabulary as your child shares his ideas and opinions openly with you and other children. Listing concepts, creating an idea board or using toys to brainstorm allows kids to express themselves and learn to communicate. Brainstorming also helps them tell a story with a deeper sense of understanding, observation and imagination.
1. Idea Board
Ask your toddler or young child about his thoughts on a topic, such as things you can do in your backyard. Write down his ideas, draw pictures or paste cut-outs from a magazine or newspaper to make an idea board together. You can also write the suggestions on a whiteboard or chalkboard and link related ideas by drawing a line between them to create a flow chart. Make drawings or diagrams to clearly illustrate ideas. Brainstorming together helps inspire your child to get his creative juices flowing and be unafraid to express his ideas.
2. Note Cards
Use index cards to inspire brainstorming for toddlers and young school-age children. Make an "idea file" by pasting small pictures cut out from magazines with a one-word description on the opposite side. A picture of a red tractor could be labeled "harvest" and a picture of the beach could be described as "ocean" or "seashells." Make at least 10 idea cards. Use a card to talk about a storyline and have your child come up with characters. You can use more than one card to help your child tell a story. Write down the story with your child and read it aloud together.
3. Story Box
The story box is a way to use objects to help your child brainstorm to create a storyline. Place a variety of objects such as small toys, figurines, stones, shells and decorative pieces. Include objects that have a great deal of texture and detail and things your child has not seen before to trigger his imagination. Pick up one object at a time and help him come up with a story about each object. Write down the story or ideas on a whiteboard. At the end of the brainstorming session, write the whole story together.
The range of melodies, tempos, beats and lyrics in children's music helps to inspire feelings, moods and thoughts. Play a cheerful fast song and march around with your toddler or child. Then talk to him about words that describe how the music made him feel. Play a slower song and repeat the exercise. Write down the words your child used to describe his feelings and teach him some new words that have similar meanings. This helps to broaden your child's vocabulary and helps him to better define his feelings to you.