Critical thinking is an essential skill your child will draw on throughout life. It’s possible to nurture critical thinking from a young age by engaging your child in fun activities. Whether you’re looking for toddler care, preschool, kindergarten, or beyond, Crème de la Crème’s curriculum will help your child develop this crucial skill. Here are some activities you can also try with your child at home.

What Are Some Critical Thinking Activities for Toddlers?

A young child playing with blocks as a critical thinking activity

You can build critical thinking into fun games and activities from a young age. Some activities you can start with your little ones right away include:

Creating Art

Kids love drawing, playing with paints, and more. Encourage your child to express thoughts in artistic ways to nurture critical thinking skills when they’re very young. Kids can draw pictures and make up songs to express thoughts and ideas they don’t really know how to express in words, and doing so requires some critical thinking. All in all, creativity and artistic activities help children hone their critical thinking skills, even if they don’t know that they’re thinking critically at the time.

Solving Puzzles

Puzzles can get kiddos’ brain cells firing. No matter your go-to puzzle game, when you solve activities such as tic-tac-toe, jigsaw puzzles, and more together, your child gets to actively build critical thinking skills. Puzzles and brain teasers let kids form strategies and understand how a game works until doing so becomes second nature. Keep in mind that puzzles are best solved together when your child is very young, as kids can sometimes feel overwhelmed alone. Played together, it becomes a great bonding experience that builds critical thinking.

Playing With Blocks

Building blocks and toys, such as Duplos and Legos, are classics for a reason. Not only are these toys fun for kids, but they also develop critical thinking abilities. Building blocks offer endless possibilities for children to tap into their imaginations. You’ll encourage your child to use their thinking to bring ideas to life, whether they’re creating homes, buildings, spaceships, or animals.

What Are Some Critical Thinking Activities for Preschoolers?

Preschool-age children can continue to develop their critical thinking skills through fun, engaging activities. Some critical thinking activities that work well for preschoolers include:

Guessing Games

You can have your child guess an object using clues that get them thinking critically. For example, hide a toy or another small object, then ask your child to guess what you’re holding. As they attempt to pinpoint what you’re holding, offer guiding clues, such as “It’s not yellow; it’s green” or “It doesn’t have wheels; it has fur.” This way, kids can guess based on facts they learn, thinking critically to narrow down their options and eventually figure out what you’re holding.

Predicting Outcomes

Predicting what will happen based on information is a great way to practice thinking critically. For preschoolers, you can make the activity into a fun game. Take two of your child’s toys, such as two dolls, stuffed animals, or cars, and start putting on a show by acting out scenarios. Ask your child at each plot phase to predict the outcome of your “characters’” actions. You can also ask if your child thinks what the “character” will do next is a good or bad idea — and why they think so.

Tasting Food

Forming an opinion is an important step for preschoolers as they develop critical thinking skills. Because children tend to have strong opinions about foods, you can use food as a tool to practice thinking about opinions. Take out some foods you know your little one loves (or hates), then ask them if they like the food you’re showing them. Then, ask them why or why not. Bring out another similar food your child hasn’t yet tried and ask them to predict if they’ll like or hate the new food and why they think so.

Finding Differences and Similarities

Make a game out of pointing out how things are different and how they’re similar, even challenging your child to find objects that are both different and similar at the same time. For example, you can show them that cups and bowls are similar because you use both when you’re having meals and both hold liquids, but they’re also different because cups are used for milk and bowls are used for soup. Talking about similarities and differences will get your child thinking critically.

What Are Some Critical Thinking Activities for Kindergartners?

There are plenty of ways for your child to continue practicing and honing their critical thinking abilities as they grow and develop. Some ideas for kindergartners include:

Playing Sorting Games

Sorting and classification have significance for logical reasoning. These skills help kids observe similarities and differences among groups and structures. You can take the game of naming similarities and differences to the next level by asking your child to sort objects, animals, or other things in categories, such as shape, size, or color. As children deepen their understanding, you can move to more advanced sorting, such as sorting animals based on their habitats or what they eat. These games are fun and help children develop skills for planning, solving problems, and recognizing patterns.

Pretending To Be Detectives

Take your child on a treasure hunt to search for a hidden object as you pretend that you’re detectives hard at work. Or, you can design some simple “cases” to read with your child and pull out important details, differentiating between opinions and facts. These activities let your child synthesize data they get from various sources, developing observation skills and deductive thinking.

Describing a Hero

Ask your child what they think of when they hear the word hero. They can describe the person (or thing) that comes into their mind and then go a step further by explaining why they think this hero is important in their life. Then, keep your child thinking by asking how someone might become a hero.

Ready To Get Your Child Thinking Critically?

Here at Crème de la Crème, we know the value of critical thinking activities. Our curriculum incorporates fun, engaging activities to develop your child’s critical thinking skills as they learn and grow. Contact us today to schedule a tour of your local Crème de la Crème learning center and learn more.

Image by Matthias Kutil is licensed with Unsplash License