A Few Lateral Thinking Puzzles
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One of the classic lateral thinking problems involves nine
dots, as in the example above. The challenge is to connect them
all in four straight lines, without lifting the pen or pencil
from the page. When you figure this one out you will have a new
appreciation for the expression "thinking outside of the
box." Lateral thinking puzzles like this help you increase
your brain power by getting you out of thinking "ruts."
They habituate you to creative thought as a normal function of
thinking and problem solving.
Problem Solving Games for Groups
Some of the best problem-solving games can be played as a
group. These are especially good for long trips in a car. For
example, have someone look out the window and choose an object
at random. Then everyone in the car can try to come up with the
best way to make money with it. A street sign becomes a place
to advertise, and trees are to be sold door-to-door. A truck
can be used in a hundred ways to make money, but look for the
best new way for the sake of the game. (A traveling grocery
Other problem-solving games for a group involve using a specific
creative thinking technique, such as "concept combination."
This involves taking two concepts or objects and combining them
in some novel way. As a group game, the point is just to see
who has the best idea. What can you come up with from the combination
of a chair and a microwave? Perhaps an easy-chair that has a
cooler and microwave and television built in. Or microwaveable
"couch potatoes" ; a potato snack in the shape of a
Try the "change of perspective" technique as a problem-solving
game. Take a topic ranging from morality to having a job. Who
can come up with the most unique (and perhaps coherent) new perspective?
Could there be a world where there were no jobs? What would morality
be to a virus if it had consciousness?
More Lateral Thinking Puzzles
Some lateral-thinking riddles and puzzles involve a scenario,
real or imagined, and a selection of materials to be used to
accomplish something. Imagine a ping-pong ball in the bottom
of an iron pipe that is set in cement. The pipe sticks up two-feet,
perfectly vertical, and is less than a millimeter larger inside
than the ball. If you have only a box of frosted-flakes, and
a piece of plastic (6'x6'), how many ways can you think of to
get the ball out of the pipe? Of course, if you set this up for
real, you'll know for certain if a proposed solution will work,
but either way it is a good mental exercise.