The Key to Nurturing Divergent vs. Linear Thinkers

A.J.’s imagination and creativity are flourishing more and more each day. He turns any item into a drum, lines up his stuffed animals to participate in  Circle Time, simulates watering plants with his rice milk carton and the list goes on.

I want to do everything that I can to foster his curiosity and imagination  so that he can become a divergent thinker, but one who can also think linearly when necessary.

Melissa Taylor of Imaginationsoup sums up the concepts of divergent and linear thinking quite well:

“Linear thinkingor convergent thinking, is about learning facts, following instructions, and solving problems with one right answer. Certainly it has it’s place. Math is an example of convergent thinking. Standardized tests are convergent as is the IQ test.”

She goes on to say, Divergent thinking is generating unique solutions and seeing various possibilities in response to questions and problems.”

So what’s the key to nurturing divergent thinkers? Encourage imaginative play. It turns the ordinary into something extraordinary, at least in my little one’s eyes!

Q-tip painting – I first saw painting with Q-tips at La classes della maestra Valentina.  And then my imagination began to soar by thinking about all the different types of every day tools that we can use to paint, such as: bobby pins, cotton balls, contain lids, string, and pipe cleaners, just to name a few. I’m looking forward to the exploration!

Tearing paper – What great fun! But is not as easy as one may expect for a 16-month old. Although A.J. tore a few pieces by himself, he is still grasping the hand motion. I helped him by holding one end of the paper and letting him tear. By practicing this activity he will strengthen his Circular Wrist Motion. We ended by using our imagination to turn paper into snow.

A.J. huddled his furry friends close by during this activity. He wants them to play, too! I encourage him to talk with his furry pals and to show them what he is learning.

A.J. dumped the paper on the floor and played with it for a little while. We put the pieces back into the bowl. Then I started to pretend that it was snow and dumped the "snow" on A.J.

It's snowing! (What ever that is!)

He helped me put the paper back into the bowl.

Sweeping the floor – A.J. loves to sweep the floor. He has his own broom and enjoys this aspect of Caring for his Environment. What was special is that I turned the broom into a microphone and began to sing to A.J. He got a kick out of this and serenaded me back using his broom as a mic!

A.J. sweeping the floor.

He is simulating putting trash in the garbage can. Gotta love it!

Using the broom as a microphone.

I know that it will be important for me remain conscious of not becoming, too focused on A.J. memorizing and “getting the one right answer.” Reading Melissa’s post was a refreshing reminder of the importance of fostering children’s imagination and I hope this post is a refreshing reminder to you, too!

How do you nurture your child’s imagination?

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2 responses to “The Key to Nurturing Divergent vs. Linear Thinkers

  1. thanks for the link, Asia – love these photos and your thoughts on nurturing your child’s growing mind. 🙂

    Melissa @imaginationsoup

    • Melissa, your post about divergent and linear thinking was right on time for me. Thank you for all the insights that you share.
      -Asia

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