Creative thinking is a crucial skill for kids of all ages. Teachers and parents need to include critical, creative, and logical thinking games, activities, and puzzles into their teaching and conversations with children.
No matter how old a child is, he or she will benefit from this. It’s such a tragedy that there is little time left in the average public school day for teachers to encourage their students to think “outside the box.” And, it’s one of the greatest gifts of being able to homeschool my children — I can capitalize on the time I have with them, and help them develop into good thinkers.
The best things – inventions, cures, advances in medicine, art, theater, music, scientific discoveries, etc. – come about because someone had the courage to ask why, or how, or what if. By encouraging our children to approach situations as problem solvers, and giving them the tools to think for themselves, we will grow adults who aren’t afraid to ask tough questions of politicians, doctors, college professors, and anyone else. And, they will take an active role in understanding situations before forming opinions or voting.
Developing critical, creative, and logical thinking in kids is a crucial part of raising lifelong learners and strong citizens.
So how do you do it?
- Play lots of games with your kids, preferably games that require strategy. Games like Blokus, Chess, Checkers, Rummy, Pinochle, and Rush Hour are all great choices.
- Put together puzzles with your kids. There are so many great puzzles available that will fit in with any age or ability level. Try to let your child figure out as much of it as you can without them getting frustrated.
- Read books together that are open-ended or require readers to take part like Choose Your Own Adventure books, Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure stories, or the 39 Clues series.
- Incorporate logic books and problems into your homeschool. We use all sorts of tools to make sure the kids are playing with creative thinking all the time. Some of our favorite books are available from Prufrock Press and Critical Thinking Company.
Lollipop Logic will give your K-2 kids a great start in using analogies, decoding patterns, developing inferential thinking, and solving problems. Detective Club: Mysteries for Young Thinkers is a great introduction to different types of deductive reasoning puzzles. Kids solve series of puzzles, revealing clues that help them solve a mystery. Word Bogglers is fun for adults and kids. These visual puzzles require kids to put what they see together with their knowledge of language to solve phrases and idioms. Banana split, anyone?
Another great way to encourage creativity is to strew activities out for your kiddos and ignite their curiosity with creativity prompts like the ones in Raising Creative Kids: A Collection of Simple Creativity Prompts for Children.
I encourage all of you to accept the challenge and help your children develop these critical skills. Not only will it benefit your kids, but it’s a great excuse to have fun with your kids and start some great conversations.