In the 21st century, it’s no longer enough for kids to memorise and regurgitate facts. How do you teach your child critical thinking skills?
Provide your little one with plenty of opportunities for play. Whether it’s rolling two marbles down a chute to see which travels faster, or observing what happens when you mix cornstarch with water to make “goop”, these are crucial to improving critical thinking, says Julia Teo, curriculum mentor at Pat’s Schoolhouse.
Ask him open-ended questions rather than give answers to questions, for example: “What do you think is happening?” or “Why is this changing?”
Respect his responses, whether or not they are correct.
Try saying: “That’s interesting. Why do you think so?” This way, he learns to form his own hypotheses. Offer enough information so that he doesn’t get frustrated, but not too much that you end up solving the problem for him.
To further encourage him to develop critical thinking skills, you may ask: “Let’s predict what will happen next.” Or, prompt him to come up with more options, such as: “Let’s think of all the possible solutions.”, says Julia.
Encourage him to think of different ways: “What other ideas could we try?” Questions like these can help hone your child’s creativity.
Finally, remember that he learns from you. He observes how you solve problems, so always be mindful of how you articulate your challenges and solutions. When you can, explain situations. When playing, do not rush him for answers, but give him time to think through the problems.