Friday, May 31, 2013

Critical Thinking

One skill that I think is really important for our children is "critical thinking."  It's one of those areas that I always struggle with myself and I would like my son to be good at doing.  We have been working on developing these skills in multiple ways.  Here are some of the ways that we have been doing this:

1.  We play loads of games! :)  The game above is from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (so it also goes with our insect/bug unit and our growing of caterpillars)   In this game you draw a card to match the food items on another card.  It's a good matching and thinking game.  The players have to determine the rows and images needed in order to win a "butterfly".  

2.  This is another form of a matching concept.  In this activity I had some cut-out dinosaurs and a paper with the same dinosaurs and their names charted on it.  LO had to match the appropriate dinosaur to the appropriate column and glue down the images.  I got this activity pack from  (

3.  Another great thinking activity in the Royal Baloo dinosaur pack were some easy Sudoku boards using dinosaurs.  I cut out the dinosaurs for Little One and he glued them in the appropriate boxes. He had never done a Sudoku before and I was SHOCKED at how quickly he figured it out! :)  I told him the rules and that it was like doing a puzzle (which he loves and are also great critical thinking activities).  I helped him with the first "easy" board and he did the next two "medium" level boards all by himself!  I also loved that he talked himself through them was truly "thinking" about each move. :)
 4.  Another activity in the Royal Baloo dinosaur pack was to write a story.  This definitely shows some critical thinking skills.  LO told dictated to me his story and I wrote it down for him.  Getting your child to come up with a story truly shows their creativity! :)

 5. A few days after finishing the Royal Baloo dinosaur pack, I thought I would go back to the Sudoku game concept with LO.  Since he did so well at it, I thought we should practice it.  I had bought at a homeschool conference the first Mindbenders Book.  It is made by the Critical Thinking Company.   The directions have the child write the answers in the boxes.  I knew that my son would not be interested at all in writing in the boxes but I did know that he already liked gluing things into boxes!  So I cut out construction paper and told him the rules.  He decided that the blue squares would be for his "yes" answers and that the green squares would be for his "no" answers.  He quickly did 3 of the pages!  I was really surprised because I had shelved this book thinking that we would not get to it for at least a few more months.  

6.  The last critical thinking picture I have for you today is of "BrainQuest".  I honestly did not even know they made BrainQuest for 3 to 4 year olds.  It was on a Freecycle list (I LOVE Freecycle!) and I said "sure!  Why not try it?"  Honestly, a lot of it is too easy for LO, but it is a good review and does have some basic critical thinking going on.  Each page has a series of questions and then the next page has the answers.  This has been a good activity for my husband to do with my son.  It takes no prep and is small and easy to follow.  LO went through about 25 cards in the first sitting! I figure we will finish these rather quickly and then put them back into the Freecycle world for another child to use.

What critical thinking things do you do with your children?  I would love to hear from you :)  Post a comment and subscribe to my blog :)

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