Both critical and creative thinking skills are essential to an adolescent’s cognitive development. Teens gain critical thinking skills in high school through methods of inquiry, whereas creative thinking abilities are gleaned from an array of learning opportunities. Incorporate creative thinking activities into learning experiences to promote individuality, problem solving and leadership skills, innovation and creation in your high school student.
In addition to developing original works, art activities promote creative thinking skills by encouraging kids to think about and see things in new and unique ways. Challenge your teens to replicate a favorite painting or picture from a book or magazine by looking at it upside down as they draw. This helps young artists to see the work from a fresh perspective as well as think about its compositional form -- that is, its lines, shapes and shading -- as opposed to its content or message. Challenge students to bring their own interests to art activities and investigate those interests through artistic media. If your teens are interested in a certain genre of music, for example, challenge them to visually depict what that music sounds like in a painting or drawing. Such an activity encourages kids to communicate meaning through new approaches and look at things from fresh perspectives.
Reading and Writing Activities
Creative thinking means thinking outside the box. Reading and writing activities are effective tools for helping young adults challenge, question and re-envision concepts. Allow teens to choose from a selection of reading materials and ask them open-ended questions about the text that require them to “fill in” the details that the author leaves out. Make an activity out of it by supplementing reading with writing activities based on the selection. If a teen is reading a short story, for example, assign a writing activity that requires him to “interview” a character or write a news report about an occurrence. Encourage teens to form original ideas and opinions by reviewing books and films.
Brainteasers, optical illusions and other challenges are like a workout for the mind -- they compel players to take new approaches to identifying patterns, perceiving images, solving problems and understanding information. Word searches, riddles and puzzles are easily adaptable to any genre or content area, such as literature, math or popular interests. Encourage teens to exercise their brains and develop creative thinking skills through simple challenges like tying shoelaces backwards or writing with the opposite hand.
Social activities and collaborative learning promote creative thinking through brainstorming and sharing ideas. Encourage small groups of teens to plan a volunteer effort or host a charity event in the community. Or, simply give kids discussion questions based on a common interest or news headline for teens to talk about and debate. One idea shared among a group is often enough to spark other ideas and different ways of thinking about things.