Flexible Thinking Game: The Umbrella

Activity Duration: 5 to 10 minutes
Activity to develop divergent thinking

Divergent thinking makes it possible to create links that seem hidden at first, while organizing the elements in an original way. Try this activity with your child and he or she will have to use divergent thinking to meet the challenge.

What you need:

  • An umbrella

How do you play?

  • Invite your child to find other functions that the umbrella could have (example: cane, sword, stick, raft, spinning top, shield, broom, etc.)

Bring your child to think about the strategy used to find these ideas. Ask him the following questions:
“Have you built pictures in your head?”
“What questions did you ask yourself?”
“How did you decide if the use you thought of was original?”

You could do the same exercise with other inspiring objects (for example a bowl, stocking, etc.)

Big Deal / Little Deal Poster

Following up on my post on “Big Deal / Little Deal“, you will find below a poster to help your children classify their problems from Tiny Deal to Huge Deal.

If you would like to download the poster and print it, click here: Big Deal / Little Deal Poster to print.


Big Deal little deal



Big Deal / Little Deal

Introduce Big Deal / Little Deal to your kid with this game: 

This game has for goal to introduce the concept of Big Deal / Little Deal to your child and some suggestions of when your child can apply the rules.

Think about activities where your child has the opportunity to be flexible and say: “I’m going to make some statements and after each one, I want you to think and categorize it as Big Deal / Little Deal”


Eva was screaming in the hallway. Is this a big problem or a small problem ?

Lea was playing with a sharp object in the playground. Is this a big problem or a small problem ?

Leo was talking when he wasn’t supposed to. Is that a big deal or a little deal?

John fell while playing and is too hurt to stand up. Is this a big problem or a small problem ?

Grandma will arrive 15 minutes late to dinner tonight. Is this a big problem or a small problem ?

Charles cut in line. Is this a big problem or a small problem ?

Scott got served his dish before you. Is this a big problem or a small problem ?

Ben took an extra piece of candy from the jar. Is this a big problem or a small problem ?

To each given problem, you child will assess how big of a deal it is for him. You role is to teach him that each problem has a solution ranking from: “take a deep breath and move on” to finding a solution to fix it to telling the teacher or an adult ( it can go all the way up to calling 911).

Some problems have simple solutions where children can be active such as using their own resources to fix the problem ( ie: if he spilled a cup of water, the solution could be to clean up). Or ask for help: encourage him to raise his hand in the classroom and ask the teacher or an adult when he needs help.

Another important reaction to learn for a situation where he doesn’t feel comfortable is to always “use his words”. It is okay to say STOP or NO: ” I don’t like that game, please stop, I need some space.”

The top of the pyramid is when a situation is a BIG DEAL. In this case, he needs to know that it’s okay to ask an adult for help or walk away from the danger. (ie: if there is a fight, someone is hurt,…)

“Problems are not created equal. For children they can be as commonplace as a paper cut or as complicated as having to cope with a family tragedy. When working with our socially-challenged kids we talk about problems in three sizes: small problems, medium problems, and big problems. Regardless of scale, the hidden rule in problem solving with preschool and elementary school age children is that we are expected to react to problems in a manner that matches (or is smaller than) the size of the problem. This is where social problem solving can get tricky. A problem that is perceived by one person as being small could cause a person with social learning challenges to have big feelings about it and then have a big reaction, which would be unexpected. Not only does this mismatch create more anxiety in the individual, it can also limit the effectiveness of solving the current problem while at the same time creating a new problem.

Figuring out the size of the problem is the first step in being able to match our emotional reaction accordingly.”
( source)