Mix Things Up
Try a surprise ending to a favorite story (maybe the three bears invite Goldilocks to a sleepover), and then challenge your child to come up with a twist of her own. Ask her what might make a routine meal more exciting, within reason (a peanut butter-and-applesauce sandwich, perhaps?). Take a new route to a familiar destination, and point out the things you see along the way. Introduce unexpected arts-and-crafts materials and have her suggest some of her own. If your kids are old enough, try spelling a word backward and have them figure out what it is. "Activities like these stretch their minds and jump-start their creativity," says Ben Michaelis, Ph.D., a New York City psychologist.