As parents, we often strive to help ensure our little ones growing and developing during their most formative years. To be sure, we provide them with educational books and activities, arts and crafts sets, and other tools necessary to help make sure they acquire a well-rounded education.
But in addition to giving our children material items to help them develop as individuals, we can also assist them by presenting new ways to approach problems they face, as well as different methods of thinking altogether. And that is exactly the purpose of SCAMPER, a set of thinking techniques meant to help children utilize creativity and critical analysis in order to find solutions to problems. Read through the following information to discover the specifics of SCAMPER, and how it may be highly beneficial to discuss with your children.
SCAMPER: A New Way of Looking at Things
What is SCAMPER? Created by Bob Eberle, an author of books about creativity for children aimed at teachers, SCAMPER is a set of seven thinking techniques mean to assist those who utilize them in discovering atypical solutions to problems. SCAMPER is an acronym, with each letter representing a different technique that children can use. Specifically, SCAMPER stands for:
-Substitute – remove part of the situation in front of them and substitute it with something else entirely;
-Combine – put two or more elements of the problem together, and consider how this combination may be utilized to find a solution;
-Adapt – modify a portion of the problem so that it works where it did not before;
-Modify – alter specific attributes related to the problem, even arbitrarily, which could include the size, shape, color, attitude, or any other trait;
-Purpose – alter the purpose of the subject at hand. Consider how the subject is utilized, and suggest new purposes for how it could be used.
-Eliminate – remove all unnecessary elements of the issue or subject at hand in order to simplify it and reduce it to its core functionality; and
-Reverse – modify the direction or orientation of the subject; turn it around, upside-down, or in any other way in order to look at it differently.
Of course, the collective techniques included in SCAMPER actually reflect many innately creative behaviors; however, very often, especially as adults, we fail to utilize our creative capabilities when solving problems. As such, the idea of SCAMPER is to provide individuals (children, namely) with new ways of arbitrarily changing their thinking about a given subject, which often leads to creative and useful solutions to problems.
How to Incorporate SCAMPER in Your Children’s Lives
The ideas behind SCAMPER are relatively easy to understand, even for children. To be sure, the seven techniques are fairly basic, with each describing a specific action. But while the SCAMPER ideas may seem simple in theory, applying them in practice can be more difficult for little ones who are not used to thinking outside of the box in everyday life. As such, consider starting with small issues you face throughout the day, and applying the SCAMPER techniques; once your children have understood their use, you can begin focusing them on greater problems.
For example, consider something as simple as making a sandwich in the kitchen with your little ones. This may not exactly be a problem, but it is an excellent medium in which you can apply the SCAMPER technique.
To begin with the first technique (substitute), have your children examine the regular ingredients of their sandwich, and then consider if they could substitute any of them to make the meal better overall. Then, go through the rest of the techniques; can you combine the ingredients with others to make a more delicious sandwich? Can you modify or alter the sandwich itself, or the utensils you use to create it? By diving deeper into your children’s capacity for creativity you will help them view the issue in a different light altogether.
Use SCAMPER in Everyday Life
After applying the SCAMPER techniques to a variety of small issues, and once your children become more comfortable with the concepts, continue making attempts to apply it to various other problems that may arise in everyday life. You can ask your children to use these techniques to come up with solutions to a number of problems that you face together, or present them with hypothetical issues and ask them what they could possibly do to solve them. This activity will help your children fully comprehend the utility of the SCAMPER techniques, and help them think more creatively overall in the rest of their lives.
SCAMPER – Getting Children to Think Critically and Creatively
As parents, it falls on us to provide our children with the tools they need to develop throughout life. So if you want your children to think more creatively and critically, consider utilizing the SCAMPER technique and get ready for some awesome results!