Critical Thinking Skills in Children
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
One of the buzz words in today’s education and job market is critical thinking. In our ever-changing, complex world, critical thinking skills have become more valued and focused upon. It is important that your child start developing critical thinking skills from a young age by engaging in stimulating activities.
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking revolves around effective problem-solving. It is the ability to synthesize and analyze information that allows for a logical conclusion to be reached.
An article from the Michigan State University Extension notes that critical thinking is “the process of using focus and self-control to solve problems and set and follow through on goals.”
Critical thinking teaches kids to react to a situation not just with emotions, but with logic. Thinking clearly and rationally are important aspects of critical thinking, which is often easier said than done.
Why is Critical Thinking Important?
In today’s world, information is available at our fingertips. With so many sources of information available, we have to learn how to sift through that information in order to make an educated and informed decision.
As our world develops, the problems we face also develop in complexity. As our future leaders, our children need to be equipped with skills that will allow them to face such problems. Critical thinking is an important tool that can be used to avoid and resolve conflict, as well as develop innovative ideas for the future.
How Can I Help My Child Develop Critical Thinking Skills?
From a young age, encourage your children to ask questions and engage in the pursuit of knowledge.
Bright Horizons gives some pointers to parents on how to encourage critical thinking in their children. Some of the important tips are to pause and wait and to not give your child immediate answers for their questions and problems. Instead, ask open-ended questions to guide them in finding the answer on their own.
Such an approach encourages your child to think independently and refine their judgment and decision-making skills. Allowing them to practice these skills with simpler problems will aid them in tackling complex problems in the future.
What Activities Can I Do With My Child to Encourage Critical Thinking?
Games and creative hands-on activities are great ways to exercise your child’s problem-solving skills.
Jigsaw puzzles teach how to recognize patterns and brain teasers are fun ways to get your child to think outside-of-the-box.
Arts and crafts bring out creativity and room for innovation. One example is building structures out of cardboard boxes.
Such activities require planning, resourcefulness, and flexibility when problems arise.
Guessing games such as Guess Who?, Pictionary or Charades can teach your child how to provide information in different manners as well as put together different pieces of information to come to a conclusion.
Critical Thinking In STEM Education
Of course, one of the areas that greatly requires and encourages critical thinking skills is the STEM field.
You can enhance your child’s ability to apply their critical thinking skills in STEM through interactive learning tools.
DIY kits where your child can learn how to generate electricity or create their own irrigation system are great ways to apply STEM concepts and learn these important skills.
If you want to help your children learn and grow in the best possible way, activities that encourage critical thinking and use STEM concepts are most certainly the best way to do it!
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