4 Ways to Promote Critical Thinking in Kids

Critical thinking is a popular buzzword among educators, but a lot of parents wonder what it really means to instill critical thinking skills in kids. Psychologists describe critical thinking complex, non-linear and open-ended thinking that allows a variety of interpretations and perspectives, multiple responses and the ability to recognize order in chaos.

Children (and adults) with critical thinking skills collect information through experience, observation and communication; analyzing and evaluating this information and using it to solve problems. Critical thinking involves questioning and being responsive to information, rather than accepting it passively. Critical thinking is an important part of subjects like mathematics, science, history, economics and philosophy.

Here are some of the ways in which you can instill critical thinking skills in your child.

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Critical thinking: Why our students need it and resources for teaching it” by opensource.com, licensed under CC BY Sa 2.0

Asking Open-ended Questions
If you want your child to think creatively and respond without the fear of giving the wrong answer, you must ask questions that do not have one right answer. For instance, instead of asking, did you enjoy the first day of Mrs. Wellman’s class?” you could ask, “What did you think about the first day of Mrs. Wellman’s class?”

Allowing kids to make decisions
Let your child make decisions about things like how he wants to spend his pocket money; what he wants to do in his spare time; the kind of activities he wants to do in the Christmas holidays, and so on. Help him analyze the pros and cons but let the final decision/choice be his alone. If he chooses wrongly, discuss and evaluate it later. Ask him, “What do you think/feel about your decision? Is there anything you would do differently next time?”

Practicing Classification and Categorization
Classification involves identifying and arranging things according to one or more rules that your child must understand and apply. You can use critical thinking worksheets and other online resources to explore similarities and differences between groups and promote critical thinking. You can also play sorting games and follow-up activities at home using anything from books, groceries and dirty laundry.

Working in groups
Working in a group settings offers cooperative learning opportunities that will help your child develop critical thinking skills as he shares ideas and learns from others. Play activities involving sand, water, bubbles and building blocks are creative ways to expose your child to their peers’ thought processes. Encourage kids to read stories aloud and express their understanding and evaluations – this can lead to healthy debates where they must defend their views and opinions.

Board Games Bucket List

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One of my bucket list items is to play as many board games I can in my life. I started taking this challenge seriously since June last year and have so far finished playing 35 board games which I’m quite proud of. Those who know me know that I love, love, LOVE board games and I will play anything that is given to me. My ultimate aim is to reach 100 board games. What’ll I do when I reach that milestone? Add another 100 on. I can’t get enough.

Anyway, this is my list of 35. How many of these board games have you played? Also, do you have a list of recommended board games I MUST try? Leave me a comment!

1. Chess
2. Monopoly
3. Scrabble
4. Risk
5. Settlers of Catan
6. Clue
7. Ticket to Ride
8. Uno
9. Battleshop
10. Apples to Apples
11. Dominion
12. Puerto Rico
13. Tahtzee
14. Trivial Pursuit
15. Stratego
16. Checkers
17. Pictionary
18. Pandemic
19. Connect Four
20. Backgammon
21. Arkham Horror
22. The Game of Life
23. Candy Land
24. Snakes and Ladders
25. Small World
26. Mastermind
27. Chinese Chequers
28. Trouble
29. Scotland Yard
30. Taboo
31. Mahjong
32. Guess Who
33. Diplomacy
34. Othello
35. Dominoes

3 Fun Activities to Help Kids Understand Money

Instilling good money habits in kids is something every parent must do at some point. Teach your child important financial lessons with these fun educational games and activities.

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Money” by Brendan Riley, licensed under CC BY SA 2.0

Shopping
Your regular grocery shopping trip is a great opportunity to teach your child the value of money. The average family spends about one-third of its income on household and grocery items. For most kids, going to the grocery store is their first experience in spending and shopping. This is the time to teach them how to save money on groceries by using coupons, comparing and taking advantage of sales can help save thousands of dollars each year. Parents can also demonstrate how to plan economical meals, use leftovers and avoid wasting food. When you visit other kinds of stores, show them how to plan purchases in advance, compare unit prices and check for quality, warranty, value, repairability and other savvy consumer tips. Show your child that well-planned spending, apart from giving you value for money, can help you save up to 20-30% of your hard-earned money. It can also be a lot more fun than buying on impulse.

Educational games
Most parents think online educational games can only be used for “tough” subjects like math and science but there are plenty of websites that also offer free and fun games that help kids master counting, earning, spending and saving, taking charge of their personal finances, understanding how the stock market works and mastering the intricacies of investment. So the next time your child asks for some screen time you know what to do! If you want to get the entire family involved, board games are a slightly old-fashioned option but loads of fun nevertheless. A good game of Cashflow 101, Monopoly, Life or Payday can mold kids’ ideas about earning, saving, investing, profit and loss.

Become an entrepreneur
Encourage your child to earn a little money – this is not only a fun educational game, it is also immensely empowering for kids. Babysitting, mowing lawns, washing cars, baking and selling cookies are great choices for young entrepreneurs who want to start working on their first million. In fact, if your child is the go-getter type, he’s likely to enjoy running a lemonade stand and raking in the moolah. This is a great activity for siblings to do together. Older kids can handle the money, while younger ones can hand out the cups to customers. Other money-making activities for kids include hosting family yard sales, helping around the house, selling outgrown clothes and toys, etc.
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brionnasimpson

Author:brionnasimpson
I am an assistant teacher and my aim is to curate unique learning tips and techniques customized towards kids.

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