5 Simple Games to Develop Creativity and Problem Solving Ability

The following word games are a fun and simple way to develop creativity and problem solving ability.

Strong problem solving ability is important for many professions.  It is a skill however that is somewhat lacking in today’s education systems.  It is easy to incorporate into your classes and the plan below is an effective way to do just that.

Plan of Attack

A solid foundation in problem solving is created through a set of strategies that should become second nature to students.  We can develop this through simple games to promote creativity.  Begin each of your classes with a simple word game and use it to illustrate an important strategy.
You can easily generate sets of random words to use with these games here Random Word Generator.

Odd word out

Game: Select four random words.  Students have to identify as many ways as possible for finding the odd word out.
Strategy: Identifying alternate perspectives.  Better solutions are often found by looking at things from different angles.

Grouping

Game: Select six random words.  Students have to identify as many ways as possible for dividing the group into two sets of three.
Strategy: Pattern finding.  You can find a lot of clues in the unobvious details that will lead you to new ideas.

Problem solving

Game: Identify two unrelated problems.  Select two random words.  Alternate back and forth between creating a solution to one of the problems using the words as stimulus.  For greater focus make the problems related to the topic you are teaching.
Strategy: Finding inspiration elsewhere.  Often you can find great inspiration by looking in other,  seemingly unrelated areas.

Anagrams

Game: Select four random words.  Students have to select one word as the target and find words relating to that word using the letters of the remaining words.
Strategy: Picking an ideal target.  Rearanging resources.  Often we can find gold by rearranging the existing resources we have instead of just taking them for granted.

Values

Game: Select four words at random.  Identify values (eg most expensive,  hottest,  most colourful etc) and which one of those words has the highest of that value.
Strategy: Identifying opportunities.  Problem solving is about creating greatness out of the mundane.  This game shows that everything has value,  you just have to look for it sometimes.

These games are just a taste of what you can do to develop creativity in your students.  Follow the link to find more ideas and resources you can use in your classes.

Spending a few minutes at the beginning of each class playing these games as well as identifying the strategies involved and why they are important is an easy and fun way to develop these important skills in students.  Using the random word generator you can easily create sets of words to play with.  The interface is also such that it is easy to operate on a Smart Board.  For added benefit,  get the students to play these games for homework.  If you have an on-line learning environment such as Moodle you can incorporate these games easily by way of a forum.

If you want to take it a step further the generator allows you to create your own set of words to randomly select from.  Why not create a set of words related to the topic you are teaching?

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