Sparking creative thinking with questions
Asking children fun, open-ended questions can be a great way to stimulate creative thinking. Creativity can equip children with problem-solving skills that can help them navigate the world around them. It’s a key component of personal growth and helps them to explore and express their unique perspectives. As parents, caregivers and educators, we can play an important role in supporting and nurturing creativity in children.
Asking questions is a simple, yet effective way of stimulating imagination and creativity. By asking fun, open-ended questions, we can challenge their thinking and force them to use their imaginations.
Questions that stimulate creativity often share these key components:
There’s no right or wrong. They provide the opportunity to explore different perspectives and solutions to issues without being limited by constraints.
The question can act as a catalyst for more questions. It encourages reasoning and challenges existing assumptions. The question has an element of fun which inspires further exploration.
Questions can involve elements of the surreal or be abstract in nature, but still relevant to the respondent. In linking the question to real-life experiences, it becomes more meaningful. The question might prompt the individual to reflect on their own beliefs and experiences.
We’ve tried this activity many times. The results are often thought-provoking… and nearly always hilarious!
Our list of 23 questions is simply meant as a starting point for ideas. I’m sure you can think of many more.
Ask these sample questions to see if they ignite your child’s imagination:
If trees could talk, what would they say about humans?
What kind of rides would be in a theme park for snails?
What cool inventions will exist a hundred years from now?
What would your perfect day be like?
If you were a billionaire, what would do with your money?
If we made contact with aliens, what should we ask them?
If colours were feelings, which would be the happiest and why?
If you had to stay on a deserted island for a week, what 5 items would you take?
What makes someone smart?
If you could be a character from any book, who would you be?
How would you describe the sky to someone who can’t see?
What would you do if you were a king or queen for a week?
How will we travel in the future?
If you could create a new planet for humans to live on, what would it look like?
What would be the best job in the world?
If you had a magic door in your bedroom, where would it lead to?
Imagine you found an ancient-looking box in the garden. What’s inside it?
If you had three wishes, what would you ask for and why?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
If kids ruled the world, what might happen?
How would a house on Mars be different from a house on Earth?
If you could be as small as an ant for a day, what would you do and where would you go?
What would the world be like if everyone looked exactly the same?
How to encourage creative responses
Questions like these can open up a world of imagination and potential. It can be an engaging activity that stimulates thought-provoking responses, even sparking new ideas and questions. It’s also worth considering how we as parents and educators might respond to children’s responses to nurture creativity.
Creating an environment conducive to creativity is important. Pay close attention to what children are saying and focus your attention on their responses. Demonstrate an interest in what they are saying to show them their opinions are valid.
Perhaps try to hold back from contributing your own opinions and ideas to allow creative thought to flow freely. Any follow-up questions should encourage open dialogue and nurture further thinking. An interesting response might be followed up with an open question like “What would happen after that?” or “How would that work?” for example.
Give them constructive feedback and create an environment in which they feel safe to express themselves fully and explore ideas. Avoid telling them that answers are ‘silly’ or ‘impractical’.
Finally, have fun. This activity is intended to be a simple, yet fun way to stimulate creative thinking and spark joy in children.
Why not give some of these questions a try with your children?
We’d love it if you shared some of the responses in the comment section!