Small children should be given materials to play with that promote both divergent and convergent thinking.
Divergent thinking means there is more than one answer to a problem or there is more than one method to do something. For example, there are many different ways to answer the question “What are you going to do at recess?” Similarly, there are many different ways of playing with blocks or painting on a blank piece of paper. It is important to encourage divergent thinking in your child because it promotes creativity and problem solving.
Convergent thinking means that there is one answer to a problem or one method of doing something. For example, there is only one answer to “What is the first month of the year”? If you give a child four locks and four keys, only one key is going to fit into a certain lock. It is important for children to learn convergent thought because sometimes there is only one answer or way of doing something.