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Thinking questions for children...and adults, to get their thinking skills going!

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  1. 1. THUNKS Unusual questions to make you think.
  2. 2. There are NO right or wrong answers to these questions – simply YOUR answers. You do, however, need to think about your answers and be able to justify them – in other words, don ’ t say the first thing that comes into your head, AND, be prepared to fully explain your answers when you give them. Listen to the answers given by others and treat them seriously – even if they sound odd, they may all be valid if they can be justified.
  3. 3. Teacher notes: These questions are all based on THUNKS by Ian Gilbert – a thunk being “ a beguiling question about everyday things that stops you in your tracks and helps you to look at the world in a whole new light. ” As stated on the previous slide, there are no right or wrong answers, simply well-thought out answers. Give the class plenty of thinking time, and try to step back from being a teacher – listen to, and accept what you hear, but by all means challenge it with an opposing view – a “ but what if….. ” type of question to encourage further discussion. That obviously means a bit of prior thought is required by you to anticipate possible answers! As most of these questions are available at www.thunks.co.uk you may even lodge any ‘ interesting ’ answers that you receive there for others to enjoy, or even lodge some questions that your class may create themselves.
  4. 4. What colour is Tuesday?
  5. 5. Is there more happiness or more sadness in the world?
  6. 6. If the answer is “ Once with a fish ” , what is the question?
  7. 7. If elephants ruled the world, what changes would you see?
  8. 8. What would you get if you crossed a rabbit with a cabbage?
  9. 9. Can you have a friend that you don ’ t really like?
  10. 10. Which is more important, being right or being nice?
  11. 11. Is there more future or more past?
  12. 12. If you paint over a window, is it still a window?
  13. 13. If I borrow a million pounds, am I a millionaire?
  14. 14. If I had a million pounds and bought a million pound house, would I still be a millionaire?
  15. 15. Is a millionaire who is marooned on a desert island still a millionaire?
  16. 16. Is it ever right to bully a bully?
  17. 17. If you see someone being bullied, should you do anything about it? If you don ’ t, should you feel guilty?
  18. 18. Can a baby commit a crime?
  19. 19. If you say sorry but don ’ t mean it, but the person you say it to thinks that you do, does it count?
  20. 20. If a rabbit ran in front of my car, should I feel guilty for hitting it?
  21. 21. If you could take a pill that would make you always happy, would you?
  22. 22. If you could take a pill that meant you would never fail, would you?
  23. 23. Is black a colour?
  24. 24. If I switch the lights off, does the wall change colour?
  25. 25. In a dark room, what does a mirror reflect? If nothing, does that mean it is not working?
  26. 26. Can you cast a shadow into a dark room?
  27. 27. Is a white sheet of paper more blank than a black one?
  28. 28. If you read a paper in a shop without paying for it, is that stealing?
  29. 29. If you eat a grape from the shelf whilst shopping in a supermarket, is that stealing?
  30. 30. If I ask if I can steal your pen and you say yes, is that stealing?
  31. 31. If we borrow every single book from a library, is it still a library?
  32. 32. If we moved the entire school, with everything and everyone in it, to Africa, would it still be the same school?
  33. 33. If we moved the school building to the other side of town, but left everything and everyone here, where would the school be?
  34. 34. Can I be accused of cheating if I don ’ t know the rules??
  35. 35. If I composed a piece of music but it was never played, would it still be music?
  36. 36. If we end up without enough water for all the people in the world, is that because there is not enough water or too many people?
  37. 37. If every member of Coldplay changed except one, would it still be Coldplay? If they changed the name to Hotplay but kept the same members, who would they be then?
  38. 38. Which is heavier, a deflated or inflated balloon?
  39. 39. If I took the body off a car, would it still be a car? What if I took the engine out instead?
  40. 40. What colour would a zebra be if it lost all it ’ s stripes?
  41. 41. If I gave a beggar some money, would that only encourage him to keep begging?
  42. 42. If I lose my memory, am I the same person?
  43. 43. If the hands fall off my clock, is it still a clock?
  44. 44. Where does the sky start?
  45. 45. Are clouds in, under or above the sky?
  46. 46. What is the most important part of a fork?
  47. 47. How many bricks is a wall?
  48. 48. Can you stand on the same beach twice?
  49. 49. If I tell a joke that needs to be translated, who makes the other person laugh – me or the translator?
  50. 50. If you were out driving one evening and were travelling at the speed of light, would there be any point in turning the headlights on?
  51. 51. If you fill a room with bricks, is it still a room?
  52. 52. Say there is a food that you don ’ t like, but someone else does. Is that because it tastes different for you, or because you don ’ t like the taste and the other person does?
  53. 53. Does air weigh anything? If yes, do I weigh less when I breathe out?
  54. 54. If I put a bunch of flowers in the back of a computer, woes that make it a vase?
  55. 55. What does the back of a rainbow look like?
  56. 56. My granny has had her broom for 40 years. In that time it has had 19 new heads and 12 new handles. Is it still the same broom?
  57. 57. Do ideas come from inside or outside your head?
  58. 58. If a car is broken down on the side of a road, is it parked?
  59. 59. Which is the more pointless thing to do – make a wish or stand on a ladder to try to touch a star?
  60. 60. I can make traffic lights change from red to green just by staring at them. True or false?
  61. 61. When does loud start?
  62. 62. Is something boring because of it or because of you ?
  63. 63. Should stupid people be allowed to vote?
  64. 64. Is war a good thing?
  65. 65. Why don ’ t dogs laugh? Is it because they don ’ t have a sense of humour?
  66. 66. Would you have your sense of humour removed for a million pounds?
  67. 67. Does everything have a taste?
  68. 68. How many horns does a unicorn have?
  69. 69. Is soup a food or a drink?
  70. 70. Can you have a conversation with an invisible friend?
  71. 71. Is it natural to be greedy? If yes, does that make being greedy ok?


  • Could follow up with other days of the week, happiness, sadness, maths, shopping – endless possibilities
  • Could follow up with space or air, grass or pebbles…………
  • Could follow up with an elephant, a pig…………………………..
  • Could follow up with fish, pigs, mice ……………………….
  • Teacher with a pencil sharpener, car with a fish, toothpaste with a politician…………
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