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Mon, 30 Aug, 2021

Strategies to Enhance Critical and Creative Thinking Skills in Children

In today's rapidly changing world, we must teach our children to think creatively and critically because these are essential skills that today's children will need for the future.

This guide is a concise composition of critical and creative thinking skills and activities that are necessary for children to learn and how parents should try to help develop these skills in their children to get high success in the future.

  • What Is Creative Thinking and How It Helps Children?

    Creative thinking is the ability to come up with new approaches and ideas. This critical life skill enables the child to connect the dots and see the bigger picture, and it's definitely worth developing in kids at an early stage.

    Creative thinking promotes imagination and concentration. It also enables the children to view the world differently.

    Here are some of the types of creative thinking skills that are important for kids:

    • Risk-taking
    • Imagination
    • Elaborating
    • Brainstorming
    • Imagery
    • Artistry
    • Adaptability
    • Open-mindedness

What Is Critical Thinking and Why it is Important for Kids?

Critical thinking is an advanced level of thought process. These high thoughts are learned through procedures of negation and acceptance of the judgments, thorough observation, and analysis of a thing or an event.

Critical thinking enables children to master high-order thinking abilities at an early age. It enhances the abilities of understanding, problem-solving, and decision-making in children.

Here are some of the types of critical thinking skills that are important for kids:

  • Questioning
  • Using Logic
  • Analyzing
  • Examining
  • Interpreting
  • Reasoning
  • Evaluating
  • Connecting
  • Interfering
  • Classifying
  • Comparing
  • Prediction
  • Problem Solving
  • Self-Reflective Capacity
  • Observational Skills
  • Decision Making
  • Organizational & planning skills
  • Literacy Skills
  • Language skills
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  • Critical Thinking Vs Creative Thinking

    Critical and creative thinking are inter-related, but they are not the same.

    Creative thinking begins with a single idea and creates various options from that idea. This is known as divergent thinking; you start with a core problem or concept and diverge into creating different choices from it.

    On the other hand, critical thinking takes information from various sources and synthesizes it into one coherent claim, thought, or solution. This is known as convergent thinking; you use data and information to narrow it down to one final outcome.

    In Simple Terms:
    Creative Thinking = Making Something New Critical Thinking = Making Sound Judgments

Subjects That Teach Critical & Creative Thinking Skills

The subjects that are part of the academic curriculum teach creative and critical thinking skills to kids as explained below:

  • English

    Learning English teaches critical and creative thinking when kids read, listen, interact, write, discuss, imagine possibilities, plan, explore and create ideas.

  • Maths

    Maths engages kids in logical reasoning and thinking when trying to find solutions to math problems by devising strategies.

  • Science

    Science helps kids learn creative and critical skills when they pose questions, make predictions, speculate, investigate to solve problems, make decisions based on evidence, analyze and evaluate evidence.

  • Art

    While creating art, kids use their imagination, curiosity, and thinking skills to consider possibilities, explore ideas, materials, spaces, and technologies, and take risks to express their thoughts, ideas and feelings.

    Critical and creative thinking skills can be developed and strengthened like any other skill. Read on to know-how:

Strategies To Build Creative & Critical Thinking Skills

Encourage them to think deep: Ask them critical questions that make them think deeply. Some questions you can ask are:

    1. What would happen if it never rained?
    2. What would you do for entertainment if there were no video games, smartphones, TVs or tablets?
    3. How would your life be different if you had a sister?

      Ask five whys: When your child gives an assertive answer, ask "Why" five times. Each time you ask a 'why,' your child will dig a little deeper into the reasoning. As a result, they will think through their answers before answering.

      Ask them to reason out there thinking: When your child answers your question, ask them to show you how they thought of the answer. They may draw or write to show the thinking behind their answer. This helps solidify the concept further and emphasize the value of thinking and not whether the thinking is right or wrong.

Use open-ended questions: Open-ended question encourages the child to think creatively. Examples of open-ended questions:

    1. Describe your dog.
    2. If you had a pet tiger, what would you name it and why
    3. What do you think is the most useful subject in school?
    4. Ask them to compare random things: You can ask simple questions like, "how is a fruit similar to a vegetable'? You'll be surprised at how your child can make the connections at such a young age. 
    5. Encourage them to think 'out of the box': Make your child understand that there are more than one possible ways to look at a given topic, situation, or idea. You can try this game: ask your child to name things that are green in colour. They will probably say 'trees' or 'leaves' until they struggle to come up with answers. At this point, encourage them to think deep. Give them a hint, if needed.
  • What's the alternative?: When your child talks or shows something they have learned new, ask them to show what they have learned in a different way. For example, if they show a number 7 and when you ask them to show it in a different way, they may show you in a different color, by bringing 7 coins or by drawing the number 7. The possibilities are limitless. But they are using their critical skills to think deeper, and their creative skills to present it in a different way.
  • Point out the connection: When we make the connection between two things, we understand better. So, encourage your child to connect what they learn with what they already know. For example, you can ask your child how the current story they are reading relates to another story they have already read. Their answers can be insightful, but sometimes they can be outlandish. Either way, you can ask your child to explain their answers. While doing so, your child will converge their thoughts (critical thinking) and look for not-so-obvious connections (creative thinking).
  • Manifest Personification: Use personification to compare different objects. For example, you can ask your child, "what would a book say to a pen?" Your child will include qualities of each object (critical thinking) and use them to manifest human actions or emotions (creative thinking).

Tips To Enhance Creative And Critical Thinking Abilities In Children

  • Inculcate reading habits

    The more your child reads, the more will they be aware of words, situations, emotions, stories, and characters, and the more will their brains capture information that needs to be carried forward as learning.

  • Encourage questions

    Every question your child asks is an opportunity for them to learn and use the information. Don't just answer the questions thrown at you; cross-question your child and get to know their views and opinions about the topic.

  • Solving problems

    Motivate the child to solve problems. This helps establish critical thinking in kids. Solving a problem can help you get an insight into your child's mind in terms of how they think, process information, and react to solve a problem.

  • Give responsibility

    Push your child to come out of their comfort zones at an early age. Give them responsibilities like taking care of a pet, folding their clothes, packing their school bag, looking after their younger sibling, etc. These responsibilities will give your child something to think about and act.

  • Help them develop hypotheses

    Give them scenarios and ask them questions. For example, ask them questions like "what would happen next"- trigger their curiosity and let them make the predictions. This will help them think deeper.

  • Help them learn through play

    Whether the child is playing a game with friends, or with puzzles, riddles, and board games, it helps them develop and discover certain critical thinking skill sets that might be impossible to learn in theory. Some important life lessons learned through play are teamwork, leadership, sportsmanship, and creativity.

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Games and Activities That Improve Critical and Creative Thinking Skills in Kids

You can include the following games and activities in your child's routine to improve their critical and creative thinking skills:

  • Drawing and painting

    Art is an excellent way for kids to express their creative thinking. Let your kids create anything they wish.

  • Guessing games

    Guessing games are excellent at building reasoning skills. Some examples are Dumb Charades, Animal Guess Who, etc.

  • Spy games

    'I spy with my little eye,'' Simon Says' and scavenger hunts are fun and excellent brain sharpening games.

  • Sorting games

    Sorting objects using different attributes like colour, size, shape, geometry, etc., and grouping animals into categories based on their eating habits, habitats, body structure, etc., are great games for early learning development for toddlers.

  • Puzzles and brainteasers

    These brain development games a great way to develop your child's pattern recognition, spatial perception, language skills, coordination, motor skills, problem-solving, and cognitive skills. Some examples of such games are Sudoku, Scrabble, crosswords, Rubik's cubes, and logic puzzles.

  • Memory games

    Memory games make use of three learning methods (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) to improve short and long-term memory. Puzzles, verbal and picture memory games, and pantomimes help in improving a child's memory skills.

  • Pretend Play

    Pretend play, make-believe, or role-play helps in the child's cognitive and social development. It develops a child's social, language skills, and emotional skills, fuels their imagination, and improves their understanding of the world.

  • Obstacle courses

    Obstacle courses involve jumping, skipping, crawling, walking, running, and hopping around obstacles like pillows, hula hoops, tables, chairs, cushions, storage boxes, sofa, string, paper, balls, etc. These mind games help enhance your child's critical thinking, visual perception, gross motor, coordination, motor planning,problem-solving, and language skills.

How PlanetSpark helps in developing critical and creative thinking in kids?

Critical and creative thinking skills are fast becoming essential life skills for success in this technology and information-overloaded world.PlanetSpark helps develop your child's through our online courses.

Our courses are designed for the holistic development of kids, and they include:

  • PlanetSpark helps sharpen your child's critical and creative thinking skills and make them more independent and effective learners.

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