The technological era has opened gates to a massive amount of data. Children are continuously exposed to newer and newer information to assimilate. From an era of facts to memorize, we are moving to an era of facts to deduce and make sense of from the available data. We need to train young minds to be critical thinkers, who can analyze, differentiate, weigh against, and arrive at conclusions.
The information children are exposed to through various means from classrooms, social media, and video games form habits of the mind naturally. To nurture these thinking habits we have to create opportunities for children to reason, reward children for their questions rather than restraining them. Providing ample play time to children is an excellent opportunity to inculcate reasoning in children.
Various activities such as reading illustrated fairy tale books or encouraging children for storytelling with different plots and characters can be a fun activity; which works on the imagination and visual acuity and fosters critical thinking. Games that encourage analysis of circumstances ethically can be a smart way of forming ethical codes in children.
Hiking or nature walks open doors to curiosity and exploration and aid in understanding the cause-effect relationships in nature. Exploring the environment gives children ample opportunity to find answers to their questions. Open-ended questions pave the way for stimulating the thinking process.
Organizing and sequencing games such as building blocks, Mechano –construction games or daily chores such as cooking facilitate critical thinking by making children find the best solution to finish desired tasks like building a tower or cooking a delicacy.
Questions should be channelized to obtain answers and provoke a sense of inquiry. ‘Why’ questions the root of the crisis, ‘what if’ opens up doors to a wide array of creative and sustainable solutions while ‘how’ can add practicality. Allowing children their time and putting their thinking strategy to use works wonders.
Group activities are a fantastic way to develop critical thinking skills. Games with a fabricated scenario such as being stranded on an island and ways to arrive safely at the shore, or providing a set of materials and asking kids to build geometrical structures are exciting as well as challenging to develop problem-solving skills. Students can also be challenged to solve real-life problems. Mystery games such as treasure hunt with clues to reach the final destination are thrill & fun alongside sharpening critical thinking.
Critical thinking exercises persuade an independent thought process away from conventional thinking leading to remarkable discoveries.