This is a good game to try with children above 5 years old.
Write the word “Cake” in big bold letters in the centre of large blank sheet. Ask the child what it reminds them of. There are no right or wrong answers. He might say “Birthday”. Don’t stop with that. Keep pushing for more. Ask what else. “Candle”, “Friends”, “Party”, “Chocolate”, “Plane”, “Christmas”, “Cup Cake”, “Brownie”, “Nuts”, “Icing”, “Cream”, “Ice Cream Cake”
12 words in a less than a few minutes.
Try something else.
Draw a bicycle and ask them to do the same thing. Try this with 5 kids. See the word associations that come up.
Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Maps has created a nice visual way to capture words and associations.
Here is one simple mind map on favourite past times, which I found on the internet.
There are more visually interesting mind maps too.
Take a look at another map I found on the Internet.
How can this help children?
It can help children in several ways.
- It can help them remember things
- It can help them plan something
- It can help them write an article
- It can help them think creatively
I once tried an experiment with Pavitra and her friends.
See the visual below. This is all I gave them. They had to write whatever it reminded them of.
I captured on a sheet of paper everything they said. In a matter of few minutes they had plenty of material to write an essay on Shivaji.
Then Pavitra said that this was very obvious that it was Shivaji. So I drew this picture for them.
Within seconds they figured out who it was and we had enough material for writing another essay, this time on Gandhiji.
If I were to try this with my grandsons today I might try contemporary characters like Captain America or Hulk or any of the Disney characters. What works here is using a simple trigger to get word and picture associations.
I often recapitulate what happened in a meeting by using a mind map. Children can use mind maps to remember what was taught in the class.
There are many books on Mind Mapping. Tony Buzan’s ‘Radiant Thinking’ is excellent. He has a website and software too. There are mobile apps available for iOS & Android.
I have used mind maps for managing conflicts. We write down the issue title and the following three words in big bold letters on a white board.