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5 Activities To Help Develop Critical Thinking In Kids

In this rapidly changing VUCA world, the one thing that parents want for their kids is to develop common sense and critical thinking. Think of all the fake news spreading around. What kind of chaos will happen if we all believed what we were told? We all hope for our kids to have excellent problem-solving skills and the confidence to tackle life challenges.

Here's a framework I found useful for critical thinking: 

1 - Observe

2 – Filter / classify / organize information

3 - Identify any patterns

4 – thinking / planning forward (visualizing)

5 – testing assumptions / evidence, true / false?

6 – conclude (deductive reasoning)


And... here are 5 activities that your child (and yourself) can do which will help strengthen critical thinking in kids! 

1. Give Them Puzzles To Solve

Puzzles are excellent for kids to solve because they are forced to fit the right pieces into the appropriate areas. And that by itself helps develop their logical brain. If a piece doesn't fit in the area of the puzzle they are working on, then they will automatically try another piece that will. 

Be sure to look for age-appropriate puzzles for children based on their age as well as the level of development. Jigsaw puzzles are a great way as it trains kids to observe the pieces for colors, identifying patterns, classifying (for example, taking the straight edged jigsaws first). 

2. Board Games!!

Once children are of preschool age, they can start playing simple board games. When they are playing, they will be forced to come up with a strategy to help themselves win the game and this will help them develop their critical thinking. 

Test different strategies to find out which is the best way! Again, make sure the board game is age and development-appropriate. A useful guide to board games, sorted by age range can be found here at A Fine Parent's blog.

3. Stacking blocks

Kids love to stack toys because that type of activity keeps them stimulated which is what they want and need. In fact, stacking and building helps develop problem-solving skills. In fact, stacking rings and blocks are ideal for toddlers to work with. Stacking will teach them concepts such as anything that is short, tall, more, or less. It also helps to stimulate creativity in kids!

4. Playing games that requires questions to be asked 

Play games like "What is it?" In this game, write an object or something you are thinking about, and have kids ask you yes or no questions to guess what it is you are thinking! 

For example, they can ask questions like "Is this found outdoors or indoors?" or "Is it edible?" 

This strengthens deductive reasoning in kids, and helps them to ask better questions! To increase the difficulty, you can also limit the number of questions a child can ask, or even think of things other than nouns - for example, adjectives!

5. Computer Coding

Is learning coding only suitable for older kids and teenagers? no! Young children would benefit greatly from learning about coding. They are growing up with quickly-evolving technology which is our future - their future. 

Coding not only helps them develop the necessary problem-solving skills that they will need to use for the future, however, kids will need to become well-versed in technology which was something that you and I didn't need to do because there was no such thing back then! Something I found as a fun way to learn coding is bitsbox, or potato pirates, a card game that helps kids grasp coding concepts! 

For kids aged 7 and above, you can also check out Scratch- a free drag and drop programme developed by MIT, specially designed to teach kids coding. 

Do you have any other great ideas to develop critical thinking for kids? Share and comment below! :) 

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