The Power and Fun of Mind Maps

Before Imogen sat her university exam last week she told me what she’d be expected to do:
“We have to complete some short answer questions, write an essay and do some patterned note-taking on a given reading. The patterned note-taking will be easy because it’s just like drawing a mind map. Do you remember when we did those together a few years ago? All I’ll have to do is pick out the main ideas from the reading and arrange them in a diagram.”
“So those mind maps came in useful,” I remarked. “Isn’t it amazing how everything we learn comes in handy, sooner or later?”
“Yes! I enjoyed doing them too. They’re a bit like doodling.”
Like doodling? Yes, they do involve being creative, using colour and doodling pictures.
I found this definition of mind mapping on the Internet:
A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. 
Drawing a mind map is a much more effective way of making notes than the regular down the page method where only words are used (usually many) in an attempt to record everything we want to remember. The colours, pictures and single representative words all form a diagram that triggers our memories very effectively.
There are many uses for mind maps apart from note-taking. Here’s a few:
They encourage creativity. They can be used to brainstorm ideas when problem solving or planning novels. They can improve memories and be an aid for memorising poetry or foreign language vocabulary. They can be used to revise for exams. Or as Imogen found out, they can be used to pick out the main points from an article or plan an essay.
What do mind maps look like? I asked Imogen and Charlotte to dig out some old ones of theirs:
So how do you draw a mind map?
Here’s a simple video explaining the basics:

Mind mapping was invented by Tony Buzan. He has written many books on the subject. We borrowed a few from our local library including Mind Maps for Kids.

This book is available from Amazon

There are loads of other Tony Buzan mind mapping books. See Amazon’s Tony Buzan page for details.

And if you’d rather use your computer to make your mind map, instead of paper and pens, you can download mind mapping software. offers their iMindMap Basic package free.

I wonder if anyone else has tried mind mapping.

I have been thinking about doodling a diary of my life. Perhaps I could make a mind map diary instead. Would that work? What do you think?

Update 29th August 2013

The free iMindMap Basic package doesn’t seem to be available any more, but there is a free mobile version. 

There are other free mind mapping programs available. Just Google ‘free mind mapping software’ to see what’s on offer!

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  1. Reply

    Megan uses mind maps like this and she doodles uni notes. I love the colours in these – I find that different colours help me to remember better.

    I think a mind map diary sounds like a great idea, Sue. I've been trying to get started on a visual type of diary. There's so many different ways of doing it – I've borrowed a whole heap of books from the library (as well as the photography, art, nature and other hobby books – too much choice!).

    I'll come back, later, and watch the video – it looks interesting:)

    1. Reply


      Do you remember our own uni days, sitting in lecture theatres, scribbling notes on paper as fast as we could? Mind maps would have been so much easier!

      Different colours? You are right. There is a connection between colour and the brain, and its use is more than decorative. It aids the memory.

      It sounds like you are being very creative. Please share some pages from your visual diary when you have done a few!

  2. Reply

    Sue- Though I stopped by a few days ago, this has been my first chance to really spend some time here on your new blog. I LOVE it. I will have to introduce mind maps to my children, and check out the doodling book and online class, and see if I can find the Australian books…. it all sounds so great. I am so glad you started this site to share all your home schooling finds and ideas. Thanks!

    1. Reply


      Thank you for sharing my posts! You have made my day with your kind words.

      I guess it will take time to build up the number of posts and make this blog interesting, but I have made a start. I am enjoying sharing all the interesting resources and ideas we have come across. I am also enjoying hearing about further book recommendations and ideas from readers, in the comments section!

      The doodling class goes live in a few days' time. I can't wait!

      The Australian fiction books should be very easy for you to get hold of as they available through Bethlehem Books. I am reading the first one to the girls for the second time, and we are enjoying it as much as we did the first time round.

      Kari,thank you for following my blog!

      God bless.


  3. Reply

    A mind map diary certainly appeals to me, Sue. Years from now, when you’ve decided to reread and rethink your past, and see creative diagrams instead of plain texts, you’ll realize how well you did, how you’ve been living intelligently. It’s not being self-righteous at all! 😀 Kidding aside, with mind mapping it’s easier not to avoid missing little details.

    1. Reply


      You have reminded me of my good intention to start a mind map diary. Perhaps I will give it a go. I'm not much good at drawing but I could handle a few doodles and I'd enjoy working with some colour. I'll have to get out one of those empty journals I keep buying and begin!

      Thank you for stopping and saying hello!

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