Teaching kids the art of critical thinking is crucial to their overall success as innovators and problem-solvers. Fortunately, there are many ways parents and teachers can help foster critical thinking in kids to help them develop ways to solve problems.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
* Get an Early Start – Even with young kids, prompt a discussion about how they reach conclusions. Encourage them to explain to you how they came to those conclusions. Discuss if other possible conclusions can be made, and what they may be.
* Foster and Encourage LOTS of Questions – Promote curiosity, and a willingness to be open to alternative perspectives. If things must be done a certain way, explain the reasons why.
* Introduce a Variety of Issues – Recognize that critical thinking does not have to be limited to scientific problems.
* Classification – Encourage kids to practice classifying items (by shape, size, color, etc.) and to explain how and why they classified things a certain way.
* Hands-On Experiences – Provide plenty of hands-on activities for little ones. Do some “experiments:” See if certain objects will sink or float, Melt ice and observe what happens, make bricks out of mud.
* Use Science Tools – Once your child understands the proper way to use simple science tools as such a scale, ruler, or magnifying glass, try to make these available for everyday activities.
* VINCI Apps – Designed to be played alongside your child, these apps are a perfect opportunity for discussion as kids begin to make judgments about their natural world. Try the Towers L1 or Towers L2 apps to help your child gain critical thinking skills through the use of puzzles. The Farm app helps kids learn to sort using farm objects, and Watch, Think, & Choose helps kids to recognize similarities and differences. From the VINCI Kid’s Library any app by EZTales can be used to help develop critical thinking skills, and from the Library, look for any of the “Artt finds” videos. If you are looking to help kids develop general knowledge and skills, be sure to download the Path to Success Guide for Parents.
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