Brainstorming generates ideas and inspires creativity in kids. The strategy works for coming up with writing topics, project ideas and solutions to problems, both inside and outside of the classroom. And, interesting activities teach kids how to brainstorm, giving them practice so the skill becomes natural and easier for them. Successful brainstorming activities encourage all kids to participate without focusing on correct or incorrect responses. The goal is to spark creativity to create lots of potential ideas rather than finding the one correct solution.
Set ground rules about respecting every person's contribution without making fun of anyone when several children are participating. Explain that the point of all the brainstorming activities is to come up with a lot of ideas, whether or not they are used.
Announce the main topic or theme the kids will brainstorm about. Choose a topic that is relevant and meaningful to the children so they are able to come up with plenty of ideas. For example, your topic might be snacks the kids can make or games they could play outside.
Write the main topic at the top of a large piece of paper. Ask the kids to think of as many ideas as possible that would fit under the selected category. Write all of the ideas on the list, even ideas that don't fit as well into the topic. Challenge the kids to think of a set number of ideas for the topic.
Create a brainstorming web. Draw a circle or cloud shape on a large piece of paper with the topic written inside to start the web. Draw several lines out from the center. Ask the kids for suggestions that fall under the selected topic and write each one at the end of a separate line to show how they are related but different.
Fill a jar with topics or questions written on slips of paper that could spark brainstorming. Pick out a random idea when you have spare time to practice. Have the kids say their ideas out loud, write them on a list or create their own brainstorming webs for individual practice.
Write a generic sentence on a piece of paper with two words or phrases missing. Ask the kids to think of funny or creative words and phrases to fit into the blanks. Encourage them to create as many pairs as possible.
Assign kids to write top 10 lists about specific topics. Encourage them to be creative and interesting in their lists.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.