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Critical Thinking For Kids: 5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills

critical thinking for kids

Critical thinking for kids is paramount for their education and future. Through critical thinking, children are able to think critically to the point where they can even problem solve on their own. A preschool is a great place for kids to learn how to think critically as well as other subjects. There are some times, however, when a child seems not to be able to think for themselves. Or it might just be that their critical thinking skills need improvement. This is where parents come in. It’s up to us, the parents, to supplement our little one’s education with critical thinking examples and exercises in order to sharpen our kid’s critical thinking skills.

What Is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to think critically and come up with a solution for a problem. It also includes making proper decisions through the use of critical thinking skills. Critical thinking for kids or critical thinking for children is very important in improving their problem-solving skills as well as decision-making skills. These skills are important for them to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. Through critical thinking, kids can come up with a solution that is helpful in solving the problems at hand.

Why Is Critical Thinking Important For Children?

Critical thinking is important for children’s development. It helps your child in the following areas:

  • Critical thinking is important for your child because it helps him form his own opinions about things instead of just agreeing with what others say. This will help him in finding his place or standing on issues or topics regarding anything in the future.
  • Thinking critically will also help your son make logical decisions on issues, questions, problems, or any other situation he may face in his lifetime.
  • Critical thinking is also important because it helps your child to be more creative in his thinking. Instead of just learning a set of facts, it helps him think outside the box and let his imagination run wild.
  • Critical thinking is important because it teaches him to accept things for what they are, like their shortcomings or strengths. A child with critical thinking will understand that someone is only good at certain skills or areas but not everything.
  • Critical thinking is also important because it helps your child to value people’s opinions. It can lead to tolerance and acceptance of others’ creative ideas and views.
  • They may resist peer pressure. It teaches your child to think independently, not only because he wants to please his friends.

When And How Does Critical Thinking For Kids Develop?

critical thinking for kids

A recent study shows that kids begin to think critically at a very young age. This essential life skill develops during young kids’ natural, back and forth conversations with their loved ones. 

As soon as your little ones are able to speak in small sentences, they’re ready for you to nurture the critical thinking that will prepare them for success in school and life. Whether taking a walk in the park or reading an interesting book, any time is a great time to develop critical thinking.

Ways to Improve Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills

While it is true that teaching critical thinking is not an easy task to accomplish, parents can do a lot to improve their child’s critical thinking skills. The following are some ways to help your child improve their critical thinking skills:

1. Ask Open-ended Questions

ask open ended questions

One of the most basic and effective means of helping your child develop his critical thinking skills is to ask questions that require thought. Asking questions in this manner can allow them to think through and process their thoughts, which will help them improve their critical thinking.

For instance, rather than automatically providing answers to the questions your little one raises, help them think critically by asking them different types of questions in return: “Why do you think that happened?” “What do you think caused that?” It might seem like a small thing, but asking questions in this manner will help your child improve his critical thinking skills. You should also respect their responses, whether you consider them right or not. You could respond, “That is interesting. Tell me why you think that.”

2. Help Preschoolers Develop Hypotheses

critical thinking for kids

You can help your preschooler develop hypotheses by encouraging them to make a prediction before or after an event or occurrence. For instance, if you are going somewhere in a car, ask them to think about where you might be going and why. Or, if you are watching a family movie night, ask them what they think will happen next and why.

Also, taking a moment to develop hypotheses during play is a critical thinking routine that helps develop skills. Try asking your preschooler, “If we are going to do this, what do you think will happen?” or “Let us predict what we think will happen next.”

3. Encourage Critical Thinking In New And Different Ways

thinking in different ways

Encourage your child to think differently; by doing this, you are helping your children hone their creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills in general.

Draw your preschooler’s attention to problems as they arise and provide him with opportunities to think of practical solutions. For example, “Your lunch bag is too full, and the lid won’t close. What can you do?” or “Your lunch bag has gone missing. What else can we use to carry your lunch?.” Encouraging your child to come up with solutions to these problems will help him hone his critical thinking skills. Having an open mind and flexible thinking when dealing with problems is vital in critical thinking.

4. Encourage Your Kids To Read

encourage your kids to read

Reading and being informed are essential for our kids; read and be informed with what you believe; this will help your child build a strong foundation of critical thinking. Finding out new information and knowing about different cultures is vital for your children to build critical thinking skills.

For instance, take your little one to the library to visit the latest book or online library portal. Reading exciting books helps you learn critical thinking skills, especially when solving problems requiring creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

5. Encourage Kids To Participate In Lots Of Critical Thinking Activities

critical thinking activities

Encourage your child to participate in a variety of activities that can help them develop critical thinking skills. But if you don’t have any new activities, don’t worry! There are still many ways to help your child develop critical thinking skills. For example, have him take part in family discussions or be part of a group that is solving a problem. If you are still confused about what activities to provide, you may consider the critical thinking games for kids:

Inculcate Creativity

If your child loves to make up stories or create imaginary scenarios, his critical thinking skills will develop in a way that will help him progress throughout life. Try playing with him and making up stories about what happens next based on his suggestions. 

For instance, if your three-year-old mentions that he wants to go back to the kitchen, you could suggest making up a story about why the dog is there.

Play Sorting Games

This game is great for logical reasoning.

Ask your little one to sort the same list of objects/animals using different attributes like color, size, geometry, and shape. Group animals into categories based on their eating habits, habitats, reproduction mechanism, and body structure.

These sorting activities help preschoolers notice the differences and similarities across different groups, thus improving their understanding.

Solving Puzzles and Brainteasers Together

Solving puzzles helps your kids learn from you and create a strategy of their own.

While doing this activity alone may be frustrating for children, a playful, encouraging mom can make a huge difference. You may throw in some jokes to lighten the mood of your brain-building session.

Final Thoughts

Teaching critical thinking to kids is not easy, but it is possible. As a parent, it is important that you encourage the development of their critical thinking skills in several ways. Just remember to be patient and keep up the positive outlook and let them know that they will do just fine in life with those critical thinking skills.

Here in NY Baby Steps, we are dedicated to helping kids boost their critical thinking skills. We believe early childhood is an important phase to foster a child’s critical thinking skills. By considering the “Ways to Improve Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills,” there is a chance for your child to become a critical thinker.