Teaching Critical Thinking Skills to Children
By Andrew Loh
One of the easiest ways to teach and develop critical thinking in
your children is to use a series of action-based activities that
focus on urging your children’s brain to take positive and
productive actions. Teaching critical thinking techniques to your
children will eventually result in stimulating their basic thought
processes. Here are some basic tips and suggestions that can help
you teach critical thinking skills to your children.
Recognizing and Recalling Activities: These are perhaps two
of the most basic learning activities that you can teach your
children. To learn and master critical thinking, your children must
first learn to recognize and recall important bits of information.
When you use these critical thinking techniques, you can help your
children master such methods as classification, inferring and
analyzing. Some of the important exercises that you can use are:
Spreading common objects on the ground and asking your child to
recognize them one by one. Later, cajoling him or her to recall each
object name by name.
Placing a number of colorful animal toys in a big box and asking
your child to identify each one of them. Later ask him or her to
arrange all animals on the floors by loudly recalling each animal by
Buying a number of recognize-recall activity books to engage your
children in identifying pictures and images name by name.
End Result: The above mentioned techniques will help your
child to master memory techniques and to apply those techniques to
recall critical bits of information. With these techniques, it is
also possible to critically analyze a given set of data to
synthesize comprehensible set of information.
Comprehending nature of the knowledge: This activity involves
comprehending, grasping and understanding available informational
materials. These activities help your child to translate, interpret
and extrapolate available information into highly comprehensible and
meaningful chunks of data. Some of the useful exercises that you can
Buying “Tell Me Why” type of books that contain colorful images and
pictures of animals and cartoon characters. Show how things or
events happen through graphical representations of data and
Explaining events that occur naturally in your backyard garden like
how flowers bloom in a plant or fruits are formed on a tree. Or, you
can use the example of an egg and how it becomes a small chick and
the natural process involved during incubation.
End Result: With these simple exercises, your child will
become proficient in analyzing raw data into a meaningful stream of
comprehensible events. These exercises also assist your child to
develop the basic techniques of evaluation and analysis.
Applying available knowledge to understand strange or unfamiliar
situations: This critical thinking skill will help your child to
apply knowledge-learned to understand, evaluate, comprehend and
master strange or unfamiliar scenarios or situations. Some of the
useful exercises that you can use are:
Posing critical questions that help your children derive answers in
response to complex situations. For example, can a ball become a
live chick? Can an egg become a ball? Can apples grow on a flowering
Taking your child for a stroll in a maze and explaining how a maze
is constructed and how one can find an escape route to the exit
End Result: Life is full of unexpected and surprising events.
The above mentioned technique will help your child solve any type of
complex problems by using previously acquired knowledge and skills.
Here are some more ideas and suggestions to help encourage thinking
skills in your child:
Encourage your child to ask a series of questions, even if they
sound very silly and strange. Try and answer them to best of your
abilities without losing your patience.
Be enthusiastic while answering questions. Show your child, that you
are caring towards their concerns and questions.
Your child should feel that he or she is being listened to by
people. As a parent, your duty must start at satisfying your child’s
curiosity and inquisitiveness.
Why, Where, What and How type of questions will make your child
develop a number of critical thinking skills.
Your child must be able to think and analyze whether a given set of
information is really true or not. Once your child learns to
differentiate the right from the wrong, you can rest assured that he
or she will start looking at things, events, and scenarios with a
Never ever answer all questions on your own. Encourage your children
to answer the question on their own.
Empowering your children with very critical thinking skills will not
only make them intelligent and smart, they will also make your
children successful in whatever the career they pursue and follow.
Critical thinking skills provide that extra edge that is much needed
to ensure both professional and personal success.