It makes you think
Things to do with children that will make them smarter
At home or in the car … thinking in nines
Take nine sticky notes and think of nine things that you can rank in order - nine words you couldn’t do with out for example , or nine animals or people you would like to be for the day or nine colours in order of happiness. At home you could use a paper template (click here) instead of sticky notes.
Collect ideas for family discussion on a board and once a week sit down together – parents and children – and discuss your views. You could even do a bit of research in advance.
‘I wonder?’ questions work well eg “I wonder why people have wars?”
Statistics in the news provide a great source for discussions – or cut out headlines
Or you could have ‘Just suppose’ discussions – “Just suppose you found a magic door, where might it take you to?”
Or you could look at ‘Impossible dilemmas’ eg “What is more important, time or money.
How many uses could you find for a cheese grater (This topic was very popular with the parents in the audience at GEMS Wellington International School in Dubai who listened to Jane’s talk – they came up with a wide selection of unusual potential uses proposed …)
Choose a guest you might invite to dinner (famous or not, dead or alive) and then each come up with three questions to ask your guest – this helps children think about the quality of their questions because it makes them think about what they want to find out. Albert Einstein’s mother is reputed to have asked him what questions he had asked each day when he got back from school
Jane (C.J.) Simister is Director of the Advanced Cognitive Development Programme at Northwood College in the UK. She is a world expert on thinking skills and an advocate of making children ‘Future Smart’.
This sample of ideas come from her book The Bright Stuff published by Pearson in 2009 .
“If my parents had had this gold mine of a book, I’d be a brighter and happier person. Buy it, read it and sprinkle your child’s life with its wisdom.” – Professor Guy Claxton, Co-Director, Centre for Real-World Learning, University of Winchester.
“The Bright Stuff” is available on Amazon and at Magrudy’s Stores in Dubai.