Play that teaches lateral thinking creativity

Games that engage your child’s creativity

These clever activities promote disruptive lateral thinking creativity into the lives of children


Lateral thinking tool in play: ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVES

A single picture can tell many stories

Try to imagine three different things that might be happening in this picture by considering different perspectives.

What is really happening here?

You should suggest to the child that he/she “imagine” the scene from different perspectives. For example:

The photographer’s possible/imagined perspective:

  • People will like this photo and want to come here for a holiday.

The man’s possible/imagined perspective:

  • He’s found the perfect place to ask his girlfriend to marry him.

The woman’s possible/imagined perspective:

  • She’s sad because someone close to her has died but at least her boyfriend is there to support her.

Each perspective has many possible scenarios. Try to come up with as many as possible.

This is a powerful and valuable creative exercise that teaches children the importance of considering the possible perspectives of others … a skill in too short supply these days.

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Check out the free lateral thinking lesson for ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVES here

See the ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVES skill in use in everyday situations here

ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVES is a valuable tool in business. Click here

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Try these puzzles with children to inspire their creativity:

Brainteasing puzzles that kids love

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Lateral thinking tool in play: ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVES


Every character has their own story to tell

Children tend to have their bedtime favorites. Try adding this simple exercise when next reading at bedtime.

Little Red Riding Hood

Let’s imagine some different perspectives again:

The wolf’s perspective:

  • Grandma was a bit “tough and chewy”. Hopefully, Little Red Riding Hood with be “tender and tasty”.

Grandma’s perspective: 

  • I hope the wolf gets my sickness and dies before Red Riding Hood arrives.

Red Riding Hood’s perspective:

  • Grandma sure has gotten ugly recently. I hope I don’t look like that when I’m old.

It’s okay to have some fun when learning LOL

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See my vision for inspiring renewed interest in lateral thinking here

Check out these real-life examples of lateral thinking in action here

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Lateral thinking tool in play: Backwards planning


The game of playing backwards that teaches how to plan and organize.

Toybox game plyed backwards

Filling the toybox “backwards” game

Our mission is to teach your child how to pick up their toys and put them in their toy box in an orderly and considered fashion … and have fun doing it.


LOL, no, it’s actually easier than you think and a lot of fun. How? By engaging their … imagination!


Start by involving the child in the “backwards” planning so that they understand the plan and the steps along the way. Do each of these steps WITH the child.

Backward Step 1.

Imagine waking up in the morning, the child’s room is all neat and tidy.

(Close your eyes and imagine this)

The child goes to his/her toybox and opens it. What toy does the child MOST want to see at the top?

Engage with your child’s imagination. Let the child choose his/her top priority toy for the morning.

Backward Step 2.

What needs to happen just before all the toys are tidy, in the box, and in order of priority?

Close your eyes and imagine the toys all in a row, with the most in-demand toys at the front of the queue, down to the least in-demand toy being last. Can you see the long line?

Engage with your child’s imagination. Describe the long line of toys.

Backward Step 3.

What happens before all the are neatly in a line?

The child will have to choose the order they are in by imagining which toys she/he will want to play with the next day.

Engage with your child’s imagination. Let the child imagine how much fun it will be to have all their toys waiting in line for them.

Backward Step 4.

What happens before the child chooses the order of the toys?

All the toys will need to be collected from around the house.

Engage with your child’s imagination. Let the child imagine having all their toys that belong in the toybox all together to choose from.

Okay, your child has a powerful imagination … all children do. If you’ve put in the right ingredients, the child is now ready to move forward.

Forward Step 1.

“Let’s round up all the toys for the toybox and make sure we have all the pieces together”

You’ll notice a change of attitude because the task has turned from a chore … to a game.

Forward Step 2.

“Which toy do you first want to see when you wake up in the morning and open your toybox?”

Let the child choose.

“Okay, what is the second toy you want to see?”

Let the child have fun putting the toys in order.

Forward Step 3.

“Well done. Let’s put the toys into the toybox in reverse order. The least-needed toy first.”

What benefits have come from this “backwards” play game?

  1. The child has an ordered and structured method that they understand for tidying up their toys;
  2. The child can change their toy priority without supervision in future tidy-ups;
  3. The child will likely lose a lot less of the toys’ various components;
  4. You have imparted a creative process to the child that can easily be repeated over and over again.


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Exactly, what is lateral thinking?

It’s a pathway to creativity. Click on the link for a better understanding

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Lateral thinking tool in play: Challenge existing concepts


The game of “WHY”

Why game for children

Encourage differentiated thinking

This is a simple and fun game that will encourage your child to challenge the way things are (in a good way LOL)

Start by challenging something taken for granted, and challenge the child to come up with alternative answers.

Adult asks child: Why do we wear shoes?  The normal answer is … “to protect our feet”. However, I want you to try to think of something really amazing.

If the child gets stuck, you might prompt them with something like … “we could walk on our hands”.

Now turn it around the other way.

Child asks adult: Why are there …

You get the idea. I have a good friend with a five-year-old. Every time we are in the same car, she loves to play this game with me.

Lateral thinking tool in play: Creative combinations


Combining the things they love

Combining play for children

Combining favorite things in new ways

This is my favorite thing to do with kids … combining the things they love in original and creative ways.

Here’s a real-life game I played with “Chrissy” (not her real name) recently.

Tell me what your favorite toy is, and then think about a game you love?

Chrissy’s favorite toys were her dolls, she couldn’t choose between them. Her favorite game was “hide’n’seek”.

The game we invented was to hide the dolls and seek. Chrissie had to count to 10 very slowly while I hid four dolls. She then had until I counted very slow to 10 to find them.

Then we changed roles and repeated the exercise.

Be creative, don’t just two “combine” things. You can also combine people, places, chores …

You get the idea LOL


Lateral thinking tool in play: Random Starting Points


The games of random things

Random lateral thinking game

Random creativity


This is one of my favorites with young children. Basically, I let them choose a story they want me to read to them, but I then ask them to choose a random character to weave into the story.

Choosing the random character is as simple as a lucky dip in a toy box or a random pick from a second book.

An alternative is to let the child choose their favorite character, and then pick a random book to weave the character into. Lot’s of hilarious fun.


Let the child choose a favorite toy, but then “ADD” a random input like combining the toy with a random other toy, or location, or friend, or place, or …

Create any random input to “disrupt” the child’s pattern and you are inspiring creativity.

Group play

Ask each child to randomly pick something they want to do/play with and let them have fun inventing ways to combine them.

Random = Disruption = Creativite opportunity


(Many thanks to “The Intelligent Parent” for some of the thinking on this page. I’ve checked out their website and it really does have some “intelligent thinking”)


Check out the concise definition: What is lateral thinking?

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For the complete lateral thinking menuClick here

Coming soon:

The first lateral thinking fiction novel from Michael Muxworthy

Michael Muxworthy Sci-fi Novel
Coming soon – Michael Muxworthy