Our kids are used to competition and individual ownership. But when they brainstorm, what counts is teamwork. Brainstorming stretches minds and can be used to good effect in your family circle. To brainstorm effectively, there are four points to keep in mind: 1. Never criticize. And no eye-rolling or tsk-ing. Ideas are not evaluated until they are all on the table. 2. Be freewheeling. A far-fetched idea can open up a new point of view that leads to a creative solution. For example, kids were asked how to brighten up a gloomy basement classroom. One girl suggested stained glass windows in lieu of the opaque glass blocks. Too expensive—but the idea led to the workable use of cellophane designs. 3. More the merrier. You need to come up with many ideas in order to end up with a good one. 4. Elaborate. This is sometimes called hitchhiking. One family member makes a suggestion, another builds upon it or combines a number of previous ideas. This isn't stealing—it's teamwork. The next time your family is stumped—for example, this year no one wants to tackle the weeds in the garden—try brainstorming. The results will surprise you. We are all more inventive than we realize.