Lateral Thinking and Thinking Aids

Motivation to Think

Exploring a problem or situation is different from convincing someone that you are right. A curious mind and a motivation to explore a situation are necessary in lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is a creative approach the thinking process, where the aim is that a child explores possibilities.

Childhood is often described as an enhanced world that is filled with possibilities. As we grown up, we learn how things like are or should be. With knowledge and understanding, you can help your child to improve his lateral thinking by opening up and exploring possibilities.


To help a child improve his thinking and you can ask him to visualise it. Visualisation and  imagination is an invitation to see experiences as though it is happening. Different visualisation techniques can be used. Let your child test and explore different ones.

Depending upon the subject different techniques are more suitable. Visualisation can be made by creating a mental picture of something. Seeing yourself carrying out an idea, helps you to deepen your understanding.

Seeing your ideas and being able to draw the ideas is a great help. Visualising is at the heart of problem solving itself. Often in maths education, children are asked to use images and diagrams to help them get familiarise with the problem situation. To solve problems in geometry it helps if a child can rotate shapes and visualise a solution.

Mind Maps

Mind maps are often used to help children remember information. Yet, mind maps are an exciting way to think divergently. It can help a child to focus on the meaning of his thinking and that helps him to share and interpret his thinking.

Visualising and mind mapping helps a child to step into a problem, to make a model of the idea, and to plan.

Spending time creating an internal representation that he can draw on as he explores an idea, is a great way to help him access his thinking and to make new connections.  Being able to identifying your own ideas and representations is great way to structure a dig deeper into an idea.


Pretending that you are answering a question by being someone else can  help him come up with new ideas and suggestions. Solving a problem or searching for ideas from the perspective of an astronaut, diver, or a police officer. Prompt and help him to visualise a situation from different perspective. Encourage and embrace the exploration of ideas from many angles.

Photo: Dandelion Clock by Tina Phillips

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