Want to Improve Your Child's Critical Thinking Skills?
Download your free copy of the Atlas Mission – the ultimate learning game for kids.
Download your free copy of the Atlas Mission – the ultimate learning game for kids.
Explaining critical thinking to my preschooler by using fancy words and a vocabulary way out of his reach would only cause us both to tear our hair out.
And I might even have a tantrum.
After all, the definition of critical thinking can be complicated for even an adult to understand: It has to do with the process of observing, applying and evaluating information.
In other words, critical thinking is how you learn from interpreting and experiencing the world around you.
Although the terminology seems daunting at first, there are some simple techniques you can use as an explanation of critical thinking skills to your kiddo who needs these abilities to interpret this fast-paced world.
As a teacher, mother, and researcher, I have learned a few ways to trick your tyke into understanding and practicing critical thinking for kids.
So if you’ve been wondering how to explain critical thinking to a child, here are a few techniques that might keep you both sane.
We live in an age with so many distractions that sometimes we forget how important it is for our kids just to play.
When a child plays on her own, she will face some challenges that she will have to overcome.
For example, my son remains obsessed with his toy cars and trains. Sometimes a wheel falls off, or the train doesn’t connect right away, and that little boy gets angrier than a hungry rhino.
He’ll expect me to fix it immediately, but most of the time (we all have our moments of giving in, and I am no saint), I tell him that this is his independent playtime, and he must try to figure it out on his own.
I’m not trying to be harsh, but my son would have me putting those trains together every two seconds if I didn’t set some boundaries.
Sorry kiddo, but Mommy has some other things to do.
If he still struggles after a couple of attempts, then I will show him how to complete the task, then tell him to try again next time.
Free play provides one example of how to explain critical thinking to a child by problem-solving a real-life conflict.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also set up real-life scenarios. These scenarios can be as basic as playing the old-school version of house.
Your child can even retrieve some pots and pans, and in addition to banging on them, pretend to be a cook.
Your kid could also bust out that fake toolset that grandma got him for Christmas.
For more about this topic, check out one of my other posts: 8 Critical Thinking Activities for Preschoolers that Encourage Imagination.
During play, your child will discover real-life skills that are needed to identify a problem, resolve a conflict, and take action.
Download your free copy of the Atlas Mission and let your child play this award-winning educational game. Your child will become better at critical thinking without even realizing it!
Hypothesize is a big word, but if we break it down, this term just involves asking questions and brainstorming possibilities.
I find myself doing this with my daredevil son daily, mostly by accident: What would happen if you climbed up then stood on that tall stool?
How will you feel after eating a whole bag of chips?
After I ask these questions, my son does take a second to think about the answers.
Does he always come up with the right conclusion? No. But that’s okay. He’s at least evaluating the situation and learning from his own unique experiences.
You can hypothesize with your child in a way that works for you.
Maybe your kid loves sports: You could ask her what would happen if you kicked the ball hard against the tree? What would happen if you change your batting stance? And so on.
Asking questions and forming hypotheses are simple ways to explain critical thinking to a child.
When I taught, the word metacognition was thrown around a lot during professional development classes.
Don’t worry – all this term means is thinking about thinking.
Parents and children alike are usually running around like crazy chickens with their heads cut off.
We cram in all these activities, and we’re on a mission to do so much. So often, we rarely stop and think about thinking.
Pick a subject – any subject – and you can use metacognition.
For this example, let’s say your child is learning his ABCs. Talk to him about strategies that may work to fulfill that goal.
Perhaps you ask Little Johnny what helps you to remember your ABCs? And he responds, “I love the song.”
He might also say that he likes learning chunks of the song at a time because he can only remember a few letters at a time.
Or, as my son told me, read the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom over and over and over again.
Bless his heart, and if only there were more hours in a day.
Asking your child about learning strategies that work for your child offers insights that are valuable for both of you.
Plus, there have been studies on metacognition that proves that when you think about thinking, you retain more information. Visit this site for more details on this concept.
Explaining critical thinking to a preschooler and a 12-year-old is very different because they both have different interests and unique mental capacities.
But no matter what their age, they can always learn something from play, hypothesizing, and thinking about thinking.
P.S. Did you know that the Atlas Mission is the only educational game that teaches your child ALL the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century?
It covers both core skills like reading, writing & STEM, as well as 21st century skills like creativity, critical thinking, problem solving & coding.
Use the button below to download your free copy:
Atlas Mission – the new educational game for 3-7 year old children that increases their awareness of other countries and cultures.
Amanda Clark creates educational content for the Atlas Mission. She is a work-at-home mom with two awesome sons that keep her on her toes. She has written four books of poetry, loves technology, juggling pins, and freelance writing.
Important: Watch the quick video below for some important information on how the Atlas Mission helps with your child's education. Make sure your sound is turned on :-)
The Atlas Mission improves preschool and kindergarten coding skills with the help of a fantastic game involving kangaroos in the great Australian outback. The game teaches kids how to:
And obviously, all this is done in a fun, kid-friendly, and age-appropriate way meant for preschoolers and kindergarteners!
Coding is not just about learning how to create software or apps - at its very core, it involves learning to think like an engineer.
That's why we also have a large number of other fun games designed to help your child learn some of the key skills that engineers have - logical thinking, problem solving, learning through trial and error, etc.
So with the Atlas Mission, instead of boring curriculum focused lesson plans and worksheets, your little explorer gets to both learn the core principles of coding and develop the mindset of an engineer with the help of games and activities that are amazingly fun and engaging!
Press the button below to download the Atlas Mission for free.
Retired teacher Luci Bultman from the U.S. loves how the Atlas Mission helps kids learn complex educational concepts while having fun and enjoying the adventure.
Dr. Melissa Fry from Australia loves how each game in the Atlas Mission helps her daughter learn by building upon the knowledge obtained from the previous games.
Helen Secrette from the U.K. loves Atlas Mission's parent-controlled timeout feature and how kids don't realize that the timeout is actually controlled by their parents!
Dr. Liz Aumand Wilson from the U.S. loves how engaging the Atlas Mission is and how her daughter has been able to connect with the game.
Simon Avril from France loves how the Atlas Mission improves kids' reading skills and how it gradually becomes more challenging as the child gets better at reading.
The Atlas Mission includes a unique Eye Robot feature that periodically asks your child to stop playing the game and instead perform a number of fun eye exercises that he or she will love!
This helps to significantly reduce the possibility that children are going to cause excessive strain on their eyes while using a digital device.
The Atlas Mission is the ONLY educational game meant for children that is designed to minimize strain on their eyes in this manner.
Many of the stories present inside the Atlas Mission ask children to apply what they have just read in the offline world.
For instance, if they encounter a story on English afternoon tea, they will be given a recipe for making homemade English scones with jam and cream and encouraged to bake their own English scones (with your help of course)!
Studies show that giving real-life context to what children are reading helps to significantly improve their reading skills.
Atlas Mission is an extremely engrossing game that your child will absolutely fall in love with.
However, kids should spend an equal amount of time in the offline world – playing with their friends, getting their hands dirty with paint, and generally just being kids!
Atlas Mission has an anti-addiction timeout built into it. Once your child has crossed the time limit that you’ve set, the game gets locked and can only be accessed again the next day.
You'll also receive a free subscription to our weekly email newsletter containing tips on how to help your child become better at Reading, Math, Science, etc.