Critical thinking is one of the skills that will help your child succeed in school and in life. It's the ability to think logically and solve problems.
While it sounds quite complicated, it's very commonly used in everyday life. As a parent, you can help your child develop critical thinking skills from an early age.
What Is Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.
This means that a person can understand the connection between ideas, draw conclusions, and solve problems. It's essential for problem-solving and decision-making.
Why Are Critical Thinking Skills Important For Kids?
Critical thinking skills are important for kids because they need to be able to understand the world around them and make decisions.
They also need to be able to solve problems, both in school and in life. With critical thinking skills, kids will be better equipped to handle challenges and setbacks.
How To Teach Critical Thinking Skills To Kids?
Most schools nowadays ask children to learn from textbooks. It's more passive learning than actively engaging.
As a result, a lot of the naturally developed critical thinking skills in children can get lost over the years.
It is important for parents to keep it in mind and always give the kids opportunities to teach, practice and improve their critical thinking skills.
Don't worry, it's not rocket science. Here are some tips on how you can teach critical thinking to your kids:
1. Encourage Them To Ask Questions
As a parent, you should encourage your children to ask questions. Why is the sky blue? How do we know that the Earth is round?
They might ask "silly" questions, but just remember that there's no silly question, every question asked helps the development of their critical thinking skill.
It might get a bit overwhelming with so many questions which require lots of patience from the parents. Well, no one said parenting is easy and you're doing the best you can to help your kids.
2. Help Them Find The Answers
Asking questions is just the first step, helping them find answers to their questions is the second and more important step.
When they ask a question, try not to give them the answer right away. Instead, help them find the answer themselves.
Ask leading questions that guide them to think about the problem. For example, "What do you think is the reason behind it?" or "How can we find out the answer?". It gives them an opportunity to analyze and explore the possibilities themselves.
3. Pause And Wait
When kids are facing challenges or decisions, don't rush in and give them some time and space for them to figure it out first.
It might be tempting to "take over" and do it for them or give them the answer right away, but it doesn't help develop their critical thinking skills.
It's totally natural for parents to want to help their kids straight away. It's actually hard not to do it, especially with younger kids.
While we do recommend giving kids the time and space, we're not suggesting parents look away and do nothing.
When kids are facing with challenges, be present and observe. If they're really struggling and getting upset, offer comfort and guidance instead of the solution.
When they have questions or are making decisions, ask open questions and "what if" questions. It will give the kids the thinking framework which will be super helpful next time when they come across similar problems.
4. Promote Open-ended Plays
Open-ended plays are great for developing critical thinking skills in kids. It allows them to explore and use their imagination. It also helps them to understand the connection between different things. For example, "what happens if I put this block on top of that one?".
There are many ways to promote open-ended plays. One way is to provide "loose parts" which are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned or taken apart.
Another good idea is pretend play. It creates scenarios where kids might face challenges, problems or decisions, and the play will allow them to practice their critical thinking skills in a safe environment.
How Meland Can Help
We have a wide range of toys that can help with children's critical thinking skills. Here are our top 3 picks.
This classic toy is so versatile that kids of all ages love it. Once kids are old enough to know not to put small items in their mouths, they will have a blast building the tracks and watching the marbles run around.
There are endless ways to build a marble run. As a result, it enables kids to practice their critical thinking skills and create a track that will work and give the best fun. The best part? Once they build it themselves, they will see the marble run around and have a great sense of achievement which will encourage them to keep practicing critical thinking skills.
This set comes with 8 different mini trucks, a play may that is a road map, and 14 mini road signs.
Kids will have fun running the trucks along the road and practice their critical thinking skills as they put up road signs and design routes for different trucks.
Pretend play creates opportunities for kids to face challenges and problems. With this toy set, kids will have fun "taking care" of their patients while they "diagnose" them and "prescribe" the "right medicine".
Join your kids and play together, you can come up with challenges such as "lots of patients are waiting, what should we do?" or "this patient is afraid, how can we help?" It encourages children to come up with logical and reasonable solutions.
Critical thinking skills are important for kids as they grow up. It helps them to problem-solve, make decisions and be creative. Luckily, there are many ways that parents can help their kids to develop these skills.