How to nurture out-of-the-box thinking in children?

Children are increasingly encouraged to learn Mathematics and Science and acquire reading skills. Though the importance of learning these cannot be denied in any way, critical and out-of-the-box thinking are some of the skills that also play an important role in a child’s life and take him or her very far.

What is critical thinking?

Let us explain you with the help of an example. Suppose someone says, “Strawberries are red”.  Critical thinking is when you are capable in analyzing and evaluating the statement objectively to reach a conclusion.  Say, “Are all the strawberries red? Are strawberries always red? What exactly makes them red?”

So now when we have given an example, let us define critical thinking.

Critical thinking:

It is that mode of thinking in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her reasoning about any subject, content, or problem by analyzing, assessing, and restructuring it. It is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-corrective and self-monitored thinking.

What is out-of-the-box thinking?

Out-of-the-box thinking means thinking creatively and imaginatively.  For example, you have 9 dots arranged in three rows in a plain: 3 dots per row; and you have a task to link all these 9 dots using four straight lines or fewer. Also, you are not allowed to lift the pen or trace the same line more than once. This is a classic example of out-of-the-box thinking. Many people can’t see beyond the boundaries while some can.

Doing this helps you earn more clarity and learn beyond the usual. With critical thinking, you will not only know that red strawberries exist, but also ‘Why’ those strawberries are red. These skills help you derive solutions for problems where linear approach fails out.

As teachers, educators or parents, it is important for us to nurture and build such skills in our children and provide them with opportunities that were not offered before.