How to Teach Kids Critical Thinking skills

How To Teach Kids Critical Thinking Skills : A Must Have Skill.

‘Education is not the Learning of the Facts but the Training of the Mind ‘ Albert Einstein

We are living in such a dynamic world , everything changes within seconds, the unfortunate part is what we are teaching our kids today would not apply or be relevant tomorrow, What then should we do to ensure that our kids are ready and equipped for the future? Teaching our kids Critical Thinking Skills is a must.

Artificial Intelligence and automation are the order of the day, the two continue to replace many job opportunities that were previously done by humans but they can only replace knowledge based jobs, presenting a lucrative opportunity with jobs that need critical thinking and processing.

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgment. It is the ability to connects dots ,to think logically and critically.It is the ability and the intention to think beyond the obvious. It is not the accumulation of facts or information The following are Common Characteristics of Critical Thinkers, elements we should intentionally cultivate and nurture in our kids

  1. Open Mindedness
  2. Curiosity
  3. Challenging common facts
  4. Critically assessing data to draw conclusions.
  5. They think Independently
  6. Are Passionate about precision and logic
  7. Loves Learning

7 ways to Train your Kids to be critical Thinkers

  1. Give them liberty to ask questions

Parents should be concerned when their kids do not ask questions, rather than being comfortable around a kid who does not challenge you and actually accept your truth as his, lets encourage our kids to ask questions and teach them to ask quality questions. It is unfortunate that in the fast paced world we find ourselves in most parents find themselves annoyed by the Why question and many other questions that our kids ask.

How to nurture the art of asking questions

  • Encourage your child to ask questions freely .
  • Express interest in the questions he is asking.
  • Give quality answers .
  • Frequently ask him questions /Model the art of asking questions .
  • Encourage him to ask open ended questions.
  • Take his questions seriously, if you cant answer the question immediately make a follow up later.
  • If you don’t have the answer to the question, It is okay to say I don’t know and team up with the child to embark on a research.

2. Develop their reading skills

One might ask how does reading relate to critical thinking skills. The answer is very simple. Reading expand our knowledge on different subjects and concepts, enabling us to ask relevant and quality questions when necessary.

As we develop their reading skills we must pay close attention to ensure that it is not just reading for comprehension but we develop critical reading skills that will breed critical thinking skills.

Critical reading skills involves making the child aware of their current predisposition, beliefs and biases about what he is reading ,it is about, making him aware that the three mentioned can get in the way of understanding what he is reading about , encouraging him to be open minded as he reads.

Critical readers engage the text, they ask not so obvious contextual questions, they make predictions of what they think will happen next. So again allow and create an atmosphere that says ask all the questions you can think of, and as a plus ask him as many questions as possible based on the text.

3. Solve Riddles

The good thing about riddles is that they don’t feel like learning, rather they are fun and entertaining. So anything with fun in it, the kids will sign up for.

What I like about them is the bond and the laughter they bring , they have the power to bring the entire family together. I have enjoyed riddles with my kids and the good thing about them it is that , they can be done casually while cleaning or washing dishes. The exciting part is you can be rest assured they are not only fun but they are sure developing the kids critical and problem solving skills

4 Give them room to come up with hypotheses/predictions

Hypotheses is basically your opinion of what you think will happen in the future . One of the best times to teach the art of making a hypothesis is while reading During these times, challenge your child to use the knowledge of what he just read to make predictions of what will happen next.

One of the benefits of teaching our kids to form hypothesis is that it will empower them to always think about the consequences of their actions before acting.

5.Unstructured Play

Unstructured play is an open ended kind of play. There are no rules ,no learning objective or expectations. Unstructured play not only affords the children an opportunity to develop critical thinking skills but unstructured play gives kids a sense of control and fuels their creativity. Unstructured play is a great platform to make mistakes and learn from them without much detrimental consequences .

Benefits of unstructured play

  • It has been proven to enhance their cognitive physical, social and emotional development.
  • It expands the child imagination .
  • It develops problem solving abilities – It would help if parents can distance themselves from this kind of play giving them room enough to resolve their conflicts and solve any emerging hurdles.

For more benefits and Ideas about unstructured read Learning Through Play.

6. Types of games tools and activities

There are many that one still needs to filter through , so far I fell in love with these two.

Mind Meister – I s a mind mapping tool. Mind mapping is a critical representation of written text.Kids can be taught and encouraged to use this mind mapping tool to mapout information from a book they read or a subject/concept they want to analyze. Mind mapping helps individuals to put their thoughts into pictures. It enhances a free flow of ideas which is ideal for problem solving. Mind Meister is simply mind mapping digitalized and made easy.

Mentem – An adaptive training of memory, attention, spatial orientation, imagination, memory, speed, thought and judgments.

Final Thoughts

The days we are living in, challenge us to rethink education. What we knew and understood to be education is proving to fail over and over again. This era demands new ways of teaching and learning and at the core of what we need to adopt as a new way of learning is to raise thinkers who can process, compare, contrast, analyze, categorize and evaluate information. This is a call to parents to rise and Intentionally invest time and necessary resources to raise critical thinkers.

19 thoughts on “How To Teach Kids Critical Thinking Skills : A Must Have Skill.”

  1. Cool advice. Many people lack critical thinking and hence cannot make great decisions in life. School seldom teaches critical thinking, so I think parents play an important role to plug this loophole. The tips shared in this article are very helpful and I think everyone who wants to develop critical thinking needs to take this advice.

    • Hey 

      Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy 

      I glad you found value and we agree that parents play a very important role in developing these critical thinking skills.

  2. Critical thinking is one of the life skills that is so important to make decisions. Encouraging kids to ask questions, and then also asking them their opinion, are great ways to encourage to think about things. You have listed some great tips to help your kids to develop critical thinking. 

    I had not thought about asking them about predictions or hypothesis when they are reading. I had a teacher at school who used to ask us “what do you think will happen next”, and I realise now it was part of developing critical thinking. 

    • Hi Line

      Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy and for engaging me on How to teach Critical Thinking Skills. 

      I always ask my kids to predict what will happen Next during our read aloud sessions and really enjoy their different perspectives.

  3. All your articles make me think. And that is a good sign. 

    Kids definitely need exposure to critical thinking. This world will cut your child a block exactly the way it has for all other children. The aim must be to bring up your children to be able to think independently. 

    It is not easy, but it is worth it. I know, since I am a mother of two brats who question everything around them.



    • Hey 

      Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy and engaging me on How to teach kids critical .

      i am glad you are finding value here , hope to see you here again .

  4. This is an excellent post and one that I totally concur with.

    It is imperative that we teach our kids to think outside the box.  It is how we progress as a society, by challenging what we know and thinking how it could be better.

    Encouraging kids to think through and answer their own questions as part of a discussion with us, is an essential part of this.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Geoff

      Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy  and adding value to How to teach kids Critical Thinking skills .

      Hope to see you here again .

  5. I have always known that encouraging kids to read is good. And I have been doing that with mine. But there are other aspects of encouraging critical thinking that I haven’t been considering. One of the main points is coming up with unstructured games. I’ll search for a few and start playing right away. Thank you!

  6. Critical thinking is a must these days. Cause a person must be able to think out of problems or situations in life that may occur in the near future.

    For me as a child, I did a lot of problem solving and like to solve mysteries or any problem. Always happy to solve them and move to the next mystery.

    Thank you for the informative article.

  7. Hi Bagadi
    Thanks for sharing your views on how to teach kids on critical thinking skills. It was an out of the box information and very useful concept was described in detail. I am in total support of training kids to ask questions as it opens the valve of their critical thinking and help them a lot in long run. Other points are also quite impressive and I agree with them without doubt.
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    • Hey Gaurav. Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy. 

      I am glad that you understand the importance of teaching our kids critical thinking skills.

  8. Critical thinking skills, I believe, are some of the most important things we, as humans, and especially important to be instilling into our children at a young age! Critical thinking skills should be worked on with children as soon as possible. These skills are something that can improve many different facets of their lives!

    Another great article! Keep it up!

  9. Hi Bogadi, this is a great article. Our kids are the leaders of tomorrow and their future depends on the skill we help them learn today. Reading through your article, I picked a few points like issues related to games and allowing them to ask questions. I was fun of asking my boy to shut up at times because he is just so curious. Now I know for him to learn to think critically, he should be allowed to ask as many questions as he can. Thanks so much for this rich piece of work.

  10. Thank you for sharing these helpful tips on how to teach our kids to think for themselves. It is so important for them to be able to sort out all the information they get from people, the media and the books they read! Even question what they are taught in school. This is definitely crucial for their personal development! It is important that they don’t simply repeat without thinking whether what they hear or read is true!! Lots of great advice for a parent like me! 

  11. Love the Albert Einstein quote. It’s so true! My kids are adults now, but this is an excellent check list for parents and I highly encourage all parents to go through it. It’s important now more than ever that we teach our kids how to think for themselves vrs. just believe what they hear on social media, news, etc. 

  12. Hey I really like this article it’s really useful and informative so thanks for that!

    It’s really important to teach kids this skill set just like you have stated. These activities and ways to help develop and improve the critical thinking are a really great way to look at things differently. Whatever kids learn at a young age they can then use this in the future plus with more experience as they practiced these skills when they were younger.

  13. These sound like good tips to learn critical thinking, and the world would be a better place if more people knew how to think critically. I especially like the idea of forming hypotheses, as far too many people make decisions without thinking about the consequences. In some cases, these are major life decisions which later turn out to be mistakes.

  14. It is good what you have said, we should train our kids to think critically, these types of skills even though they are young can help them to be wise in the decisions they make. We live in a world where kids are faced with so much and because of this, it is so important that we teach them how to make sound judgments that can save their lives.


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