• Awards Season
  • Big Stories
  • Pop Culture
  • Video Games
  • Celebrities

Boosting Creativity and Critical Thinking with ABCya Games for Kids

In today’s digital age, finding educational and engaging activities for kids can be a challenge. With the increasing popularity of online gaming, it is essential to provide children with options that not only entertain but also stimulate their minds. ABCya Games for Kids offers a wide range of interactive games designed to boost creativity and critical thinking skills in young learners. In this article, we will explore how these games can be a valuable tool in your child’s educational journey.

Enhancing Creativity through Interactive Gameplay

One of the key benefits of ABCya Games for Kids is their ability to enhance creativity in children. The platform offers a variety of games that encourage imaginative thinking and problem-solving. Whether it’s designing virtual worlds, creating artwork, or composing music, these games provide an outlet for kids to express their creativity in a fun and interactive way.

By engaging in activities that require creative thinking, children develop important skills such as brainstorming, innovation, and resourcefulness. They learn to think outside the box and explore different solutions to challenges presented within the games. This type of open-ended gameplay fosters creativity by allowing children to experiment with ideas without fear of failure or judgment.

Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Educational Challenges

In addition to nurturing creativity, ABCya Games for Kids also focus on developing critical thinking skills. Many of the games on the platform are designed with educational challenges that require strategic planning, logical reasoning, and problem-solving abilities.

These games often present players with puzzles or scenarios where they must analyze information, make informed decisions, and strategize accordingly. By engaging in these activities regularly, children develop essential cognitive skills such as analytical thinking, decision-making, spatial reasoning, and pattern recognition.

The platform offers games across various subjects like math, science, language arts, and more. This ensures that children are exposed to a wide range of educational content while honing their critical thinking abilities. The interactive nature of these games also makes learning more engaging and enjoyable for kids, encouraging them to actively participate and explore new concepts.

Encouraging Collaboration and Communication Skills

ABCya Games for Kids not only focus on individual learning but also promote collaboration and communication skills. Many of the games allow children to play with their peers or interact with online communities, fostering teamwork and social interaction.

Through multiplayer features, children can work together towards common goals, solve problems collectively, and exchange ideas. This collaborative environment encourages effective communication, empathy, and cooperation – skills that are vital in both academic and real-life settings.

Moreover, the platform provides a safe space for kids to interact with others online while under parental supervision. This ensures a controlled environment where children can practice positive communication skills while enjoying the benefits of a virtual community.

Personalized Learning Experience for Every Child

One of the significant advantages of ABCya Games for Kids is its ability to offer a personalized learning experience for every child. The platform provides various difficulty levels within each game, allowing kids to progress at their own pace.

By tailoring the gameplay to individual needs, children are challenged enough to stay engaged without feeling overwhelmed or bored. The adaptive nature of these games ensures that each child receives appropriate content based on their skill level and learning abilities.

Furthermore, ABCya Games for Kids offer detailed progress reports that allow parents and educators to track a child’s performance. These reports provide valuable insights into a child’s strengths and weaknesses in different subjects or areas of critical thinking. By analyzing this data, parents can identify areas requiring improvement and provide targeted support accordingly.

In conclusion, ABCya Games for Kids serve as an excellent resource for boosting creativity and critical thinking in young learners. Through interactive gameplay, educational challenges, collaboration opportunities, and personalized experiences, these games provide an engaging platform for children’s holistic development. By incorporating ABCya Games for Kids into your child’s educational routine, you are providing them with a valuable tool to enhance their cognitive skills and foster a love for learning.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


critical thinking activities ks2

Critical Thinking Activities for Children

Critical Thinking Activities for Children

Our partners at  Role Models  share five ways you can help teach your child to think critically.

Critical thinking is a skill that is fundamental in all areas of life. It is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. Simple acts such as good decision making are based on our ability to think critically. It is a skill that is important at all stages of life.

  • As a toddler it is the ability to evaluate risks in play and developing. Children instinctively evaluate situations, calling on their innate ‘fight or flight’ response to determine whether something is safe or not.
  • In education it is the ability to reason – to be an active learner rather than passive. It enables us to be able to interpret and integrate new information and apply it appropriately. Thinking critically enables learners to access and absorb the National Curriculum on a deeper level.
  • For adults, critical thinking enables us to form healthy relationships, solve complex problems and communicate our needs whilst understanding the needs of others, impacting all areas of both personal and professional life.

So, if being able to think critically is such a vital life skill, we need to be not only modelling it to our children but teaching them how to think critically; giving children the opportunity to practise it and develop and embed it from an early age. Critical thinking activities and tasks are a great place to start.

5 Ways to Encourage Critical Thinking

  • 1. Thinking about thinking

Metacognition is an awareness of one’s own thought processes and an understanding of the patterns behind them. It can take many forms, such as reflecting on one’s own ways of thinking, and knowing when and how to use particular strategies for problem-solving. Psychologist and philosopher, Edward De Bono identifies metacognition as one of his six modes of thinking.

Get your child to start thinking about their thinking. Ask them about their game/painting/creation. For example: “I would love to know how you chose that? How did you decide on this colour?” Becoming skilled at understanding our own thinking is an important step in becoming a critical thinker.

  • 2. Ask open questions

Not ‘what’ but ‘how’. Asking open questions provides an opportunity for children to understand their thought process. It encourages them to think laterally and consider the process, rather than focussing on a correct or incorrect answer.

  • 3. If you were in their shoes…

Encourage children to think about other perspectives. This can be done during conflict resolution between friends and siblings, or when reading books and thinking about how characters feel and act. For example: “You might feel this way, how do you think the other person feels?”

  • 4. Encourage problem solving

As parents, we can be tempted to try and solve our children’s problems. It may be because we don’t want to see them suffer, or it may simply be quicker to help them work something out, than letting them struggle through it. Practicing problem solving, from an early age, is hugely beneficial to not only building children’s emotional resilience to challenge, but their ability to critically evaluate and resolve problems.

  • 5. What happens next…

Reading is not only fantastic for the imagination, but it can also foster creativity and the ability to think critically. When reading with your child, ask them to create an alternative ending to the story. For example, Goldilocks decides to make the bears more porridge and they come home to find her cooking. Then what happens? Encourage children to think through their scenario. How do all the characters feel and respond? Support them in thinking of solutions to problems that arise and discuss ways in which the characters might respond in certain situations.


This blog was written by Laura Kay Character Education Team Manager at Role Models .

Role Models are dedicated to providing the next generation with all the skills they need to enable them to truly thrive. Our courses, such as Creative Problem Solving , Collaboration and Leadership provide children with the opportunity to learn and develop skills fundamental to understanding themselves and others. There are also fun and interactive face-to-face courses, enabling children to practice and embed these skills in a fun and supportive environment.

Visit the Role Models website for more information.

  • Find A Nursery
  • Family Zone

Corporate Solutions

  • Our Solutions
  • Why Bright Horizons
  • Our Clients
  • Get Involved
  • Privacy Notice
  • Cookie Notice
  • GDPR Notice
  • Gender Pay Gap Reports
  • Modern Slavery Act Statement
  • UK Tax Strategy

Follow us on

Bright Horizons - Great Place To Work - Best Workplaces Super Large Organisations

  • Skip to primary navigation
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar

Teaching Expertise

  • Classroom Ideas
  • Teacher’s Life
  • Deals & Shopping
  • Privacy Policy

20 Critical Thinking Activities for Elementary Classrooms

April 1, 2022 //  by  Seda Unlucay

With the barrage of mainstream news, advertising, and social media content out there, it's vital for students to think independently and learn to differentiate between fact and fiction.

This series of critical thinking activities, STEM-based design challenges, engaging Math puzzles, and problem-solving tasks will support students in thinking rationally and understanding the logical connection between concepts.

1. Teach Students How to Obtain Verifiable News 

There's probably no 21st-century skill more important than differentiating between real and fake sources of news. This editable PowerPoint bundle covers traditional media, social networks, and various target audiences and teaches students how to find verifiable facts.

Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers

2. Watch and Discuss a Critical Reasoning Video


This kid-friendly video teaches students to break arguments down into claims, evidence, and reasoning. Armed with this lifelong learning tool, they will be able to make more informed decisions when consuming all types of information.

Learn more: Brain Pop

3. Complete a Critical Design Challenge

This science and designed-based classroom activity challenges students to find ways to prevent a falling egg from breaking. Pairing it with the classic Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme is sure to inspire many creative ideas.

4. Critical Community Engagement Activity 


This community engagement activity requires analytical skills to determine what items can be recycled in the classroom and in their neighborhood. By creating recycling bins from reusable cardboard boxes, students have an opportunity to contribute to the environmental well-being of their community while practicing social responsibility.

Learn more: Kaboom

5. Develop Logical Skills with a Then and Now Activity

We may no longer use candles for reading or quill pens for writing, but can your students identify the objects that have replaced them? This activity engages their writing, drawing, and logical skills while giving them a chance to reflect on all the changes in our modern world.

Learn more: Education.com

6. Play a Critical Thinking Game

This active learning activity requires students to use their critical thinking skills to make comparisons and create meaningful analogies. The fun animal safari theme is sure to inspire many funny and creative ideas!

7. Develop Social-Emotional Problem-Solving Skills 


Through this lesson, students will understand that while conflicts are a normal part of life, it's vital to have problem-solving skills to resolve them. This is also an excellent opportunity for developing their social awareness and relationship skills.

Learn more: ED Foundations

8. Desert Island Survival Game 


This classic game is sure to inspire student engagement, as they use their critical thinking skills to survive being stranded on a desert island. Students have to watch out for ideological assumptions and question ideas in order to determine the appropriate items to bring.

9. Play a Problem-Solving Treasure Hunt Game 


This exciting game for kids requires them to use key math skills to break a series of codes. With ample time, designated progress monitors, and sharp critical thinking skills, students are sure to find the hidden treasure.

Learn more: Twinkl

10.  Use Writing to Increase Critical Empathy


This activity builds writing fluency while giving students a chance to show appreciation for each other. As they reflect emphatically on their classmates' contributions and character, their base level of kindness and sense of ethical responsibility is bound to increase.

Learn more: Edutopia

11. Learn How to Make Logical Inferences


This activity for kids teaches the critical academic skill of making inferences from a series of texts. Students will surely enjoy playing the role of detective in order to draw their own logical conclusions.

Learn more: Study.com

12. Think Critically About Cultural Assumptions 


This engaging activity for students challenges them to think critically about why people from a variety of cultures decorate their bodies. It helps them to break through cultural assumptions while comparing and contrasting the different forms of hand and body painting around the world.

Learn more: Harmony

13. Big Paper Silent Reflection Activity 

After posing some open-ended questions, students silently write their responses with colored markers on large chart paper. After each group has circulated around the room, students can share their critical reflections and learn from the various perspectives of their classmates.

Learn more: Slideshare

14. Watch a TED Video About the Socratic Method


Socrates is one of the forefathers of critical thinking, who focused on making his students thinking visible by questioning their logic and reasoning. The accompanying quiz and discussion questions are an excellent way to reinforce student learning.

Learn more: Ted Ed

15. Brainstorm Ways to Help a Homeless Person


This lesson in civic responsibility teaches students about the causes of homelessness and guides them to find ways to help the homeless in their communities. It develops key problem-solving skills while building critical empathy.

Learn more: National Homeless.org

16. Guess the Object Game

This video features a series of twenty zoomed-in mystery objects. Students will love using their critical thinking skills to guess each one!

Learn more: Andy - The ESL Guy

17.  Solve Some Challenging Math Brain Teasers


This series of fifty brain teasers is an engaging way to sharpen problem-solving skills while testing students' memory and logical reasoning ability.

Learn more: Squigly's Playhouse

18. Complete a STEM Elevator Challenge

In this design and engineering-based lesson, students have to build a functional elevator that can carry an object to the top of a structure. It's a terrific way to encourage cooperative learning while sharpening their problem-solving skills.

Learn more: Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers

19. Create the Perfect Farm 


There's no better way to develop critical thinking skills than by solving real-world problems. This video encourages students to think about ways to feed a growing global population in an environmentally sustainable way.

20. Solve Logic Grid Puzzles


These logic grid puzzles will motivate students to use logical reasoning skills and the process of elimination to solve a series of clues. But be warned, they are highly addictive and difficult to put down once you get started!

Learn more: Puzzle Baron's Logic Puzzles

Critical Thinking Activities For Kids

Critical Thinking Activities For Kids

How can you help encourage your child’s critical thinking skills? Our fun and engaging critical thinking activities for kids can nurture these foundational skills from as early as six months old.

What is critical thinking for kids.

Critical thinking involves analysing information, evaluating ideas, and making informed decisions based on evidence and logical reasoning.

Children can benefit greatly from developing their critical thinking abilities.

  • Encourages creativity and innovation
  • Develops problem-solving skills
  • Enhances decision-making abilities
  • Improves analytical and logical reasoning
  • Boosts self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Enables better understanding and communication with others

Critical thinking activities notably help children assess the information presented, evaluate its credibility, and make informed decisions based on their findings. 

Honing these abilities also empowers children to overcome negative self-perceptions that might otherwise hinder their growth and focus on their inherent strengths instead.

At Shichida , we believe this foundational skill to be taught from an early age, just like reading and maths. Encouraging analytical thinking in early childhood will equip your child with a valuable tool that they can use to navigate life’s challenges effectively and avoid hasty conclusions or detrimental choices that may negatively impact them.

Critical Thinking Activities for Kids

Critical thinking activities for kids include things like puzzles, logical reasoning games, mazes, asking open-ended questions, and debating. 

We’ve put together a selection of simple critical thinking examples for kids that are fun to play at home and suit a range of ages.

Logical Reasoning Games

“The Mystery Bag” game

A fun critical thinking game for kids, The Mystery Bag encourages children to use their critical thinking skills, such as observation, deduction, and logical reasoning. 

  • Prepare a bag with several small objects inside.
  • Have the child reach into the bag without looking and pull out one object at a time.
  • Encourage the child to use their critical thinking skills to determine what each object is based on its texture, shape, and other sensory details.
  • Ask the child to describe their thought process and reasoning behind their guesses.
  • Finally, after all the objects have been identified, discuss any patterns or similarities between the things.
  • For a more challenging variation, add a few objects that are not immediately recognisable and ask the child to use deduction and logic to figure out what they are.

Puzzles and Brain Teasers

Puzzles and brain teasers are excellent tools for improving cognitive skills, including critical thinking. These activities challenge children to analyse information, make connections, and think creatively. You can start with simple puzzles, such as jigsaw puzzles, and gradually move on to more complex ones, such as Sudoku or crossword puzzles.

The Shichi Duck Puzzle is a product that can help increase your child’s visual awareness, spatial recognition, memory, attention to detail, concentration, and critical thinking through six different puzzles of increasing difficulty.

Time Shock is a puzzle game that can help your child develop concentration, thinking ability, discernment, and activate their brain by matching fifteen pieces within a time limit.

Time shock game

Shichida Maze Series #1: Niko Niko Maze (2-3 years old ) encourages your child to develop their writing and drawing ability, thinking ability, concentration, and processing ability through enjoyable activities with mazes of increasing difficulty.

Shichida Maze Series #2: Waku Waku Maze (3-5 years old) helps children develop their ability to move a pencil, look ahead, grasp the bigger picture, and expand their field of vision through enjoyable activities with fun mazes of increasing difficulty.

Shichida Maze Games

Open-ended questions

Asking open-ended questions is a great way to encourage a child’s critical thinking skills. Try this example activity:

  • Choose a topic that interests your child, such as animals, nature, or sports.
  • Ask an open-ended question about the topic, such as “ What do you think would happen if all the animals in the world suddenly disappeared? ” or “How do you think people can protect the environment?”
  • Encourage your child to think creatively and critically about their response. Ask follow-up questions to help them explore their ideas further, such as “ Why do you think that would happen?” or “What are some ways we can make a difference?”
  • After they’ve shared their ideas, discuss and compare different perspectives and solutions.
  • Repeat this activity with different topics and questions to develop the child’s critical thinking skills.

Asking open-ended questions encourages children to consider multiple perspectives and think beyond the obvious.

Debating games

Debating games encourage children to use logical reasoning and critical thinking skills to analyse and defend their choices.

The debating game “Would you rather?” can be played in a group.

  • Give your child two options: “Would you rather have a pet dog or a pet cat?”
  • Ask them to choose one option and explain why they chose it. Encourage them to use logical reasoning to explain their choice.
  • After they’ve made their argument, ask the other children to challenge their opinion by providing counterarguments.
  • Encourage the child who made the original argument to respond to the counterarguments and defend their position.
  • Repeat this process with other “Would You Rather?” questions.

This game certainly encourages children to use logical reasoning and critical thinking skills to analyse and defend their choices. They also develop communication and listening skills by evaluating the arguments presented by children and responding thoughtfully.

Explore more critical thinking games for kids in Shichida Australia’s online store.

Critical thinking activities for babies

It might surprise you to know, babies as young as 6 months can benefit from critical thinking activities for kids.


When you cover your face with your hands, your baby will begin to understand that just because they can’t see your happy face, it doesn’t mean you’ve disappeared. This concept is known as object permanence and requires thinking logically and understanding that objects can exist even when they are not immediately visible.

Playing with blocks

As your baby plays with the blocks, they learn about cause and effect, spatial relationships, and problem-solving. This helps your child develop the critical thinking they need to approach problems creatively and logically to overcome obstacles.

Playing blocks can be a critical thinking exercise for babies

Starting as young as 6 months old and up to 9 years old, Shichida’s early learning program includes critical thinking activities for kids. These fun and interactive games help your child develop their ability to identify and rely on their own intuition, comprehend and navigate various types of information, gain a comprehensive understanding of diverse perspectives, and learn how to ask relevant and insightful questions.

Find out more about the critical thinking activities in the Shichida program today.

' src=

Book a Trial Class

Join us for an engaging and interactive trial class, and see why so many people choose the Shichida method of education for their children.

or click here to learn more

Related Posts

Back To All Posts

Boosting memory and retention in young learners

Boosting Memory and Retention in Young Learners

Enhancing early numeracy skills

Enhancing Early Numeracy Skills

Involving parents for successful early learning

Involving Parents for Successful Early Learning

Empowered Parents

12 Critical Thinking Activities for Kids

By: Author Tanja McIlroy

Posted on Last updated: 24 April 2023

Categories Cognitive Development

critical thinking activities ks2

Critical thinking is a valuable skill and one that young children should be actively taught. The best way to teach this to preschoolers and kindergarteners is through play activities, discussions and stories.

In this article, I’ll share some basic critical thinking activities for kids, as well as some higher-order thinking skills activities you can incorporate into your daily storytime.

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is one of the higher-order thinking skills and is the process of analyzing information using logic, reasoning and creativity, in order to understand things and draw conclusions. [ source ]

Critical Thinking Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

The preschool years are the time to stimulate your children with fun games and activities that will stretch their imaginations and their ability to think critically.

These 12 critical thinking games for kids are screen-free, traditional games that can be played with your preschooler anywhere, and with no prep.

Pin - 12 thinking games to play with your preschooler

The traditional game of I Spy can be played in many ways e.g. spying objects based on initial sounds ( teaching letters ) or colours ( colour recognition ).

To test your child’s thinking, play this game by using descriptive clues that don’t involve sounds or colours.

  • I spy with my little eye something that’s soft, round and can be thrown.
  • I spy with my little eye something that grows, is smooth and is found on trees.

2. Build a Story

This game is about creative thinking and language development.

Start by making up an introduction to a story:

Once upon a time, there was a little grey cat.

Your child then adds a sentence to the story, thus changing the direction of the story:

The little grey cat was lost in the woods.

Then you add a sentence and so the story continues:

Suddenly, he heard a whisper behind him and he froze.

This game usually ends in fits of laughter and a ridiculous story but uses a lot of brainpower and imagination.

3. Rhyming Game

Play this rhyming game by challenging your child to think of words that rhyme with an easy word such as cat or tap. This game is great for developing auditory perception .

Say a sentence such as “ I have a …” or “ I see a …” and add in a simple word such as cat . Your child then responds with the same sentence using an appropriate rhyming word and you continue the game until you run out of words together.

Then choose a new word.

You: I see a cat .

Child: I see a rat .

You: I see a mat .

Child: I see a hat .

4. How Many Can You Think of?

Picture of different fruits to represent a category

This game challenges children to think of words that fit into a theme or category.

Choose a category, such as colours , and put a timer on for one minute. Ask your child to name as many words as they can that fit into the category, without repeating any.

Write down the words as they are said and count the total at the end. Your child will be motivated to beat the total in the next round.

Try these fun category games too.

5. Matchstick Buildings

Build 3D structures out of matchsticks and a variety of materials that can be used to join the edges – e.g. Prestik, Blu Tack, jelly sweets, little marshmallows, tape, playdough , glue, etc.

This will teach some technology skills and encourage planning, thinking and problem-solving as your child tries to figure out how to join parts together and make things stand, balance or hold in a particular position.

6. Cloud Stories

Every child will enjoy this activity. Go outside on a nice cloudy day, lie next to each other on the grass and look for pictures in the clouds.

Once you have found a few, encourage your child to tell a story by tying all the pictures together.

7. Lego Theme

critical thinking activities ks2

You could ask your child to build a farm theme, complete with animals and farmhouses, and then ask them to build a space station. You will be surprised by how creative children can be when challenged to think of ways to create.

8. Tangrams

critical thinking activities ks2

Ask your child to use the shapes to create a particular image, e.g. a specific animal, and give no direction. Your child must think about how to build various parts of a body by joining shapes together.

9.  Tic-Tac-Toe

Tic-tac-toe drawn on paper

This game, also known as noughts and crosses is an excellent thinking skills game and also develops planning skills.

Draw a simple table like the one above on paper or a chalkboard. Take turns to add a nought or a cross to the table and see who can make a row of three first.

Your child will probably catch on in no time and start thinking carefully before placing their symbol.

This game can also be played with coloured counters or different objects.

10. What is it?

Hold an object or toy behind your back. Your child must guess what it is by asking questions to extract clues.

Have your child hide an item first so you can model the kinds of questions allowed. Then swap and let your child formulate questions. With time, your child will learn how to ask targeted questions that narrow down the options.

  • Is it soft or hard?
  • Can I eat it?
  • Can it fit in my hand?
  • Does it make a sound?

11. Hide and Seek

In this game of Hide and Seek an object is hidden instead of a person.

This is a variation of the game above and involves giving directions or clues for where the object is hidden.

Hide the object then provide clues such as:

  • It is far from here.
  • It is outside the house.
  • There is water near it.
  • It is in the shade.

These clues can be easy or challenging, depending on your child’s age and ability to think.

12. What Really Happened?

This game works on imagination, creativity and thinking skills. Choose a story your child enjoys reading and knows well but have him/her make up an alternative ending to the story.

For example, Little Red Riding Hood goes into the woods with her basket but gets lost on the way and cannot find her grandmother’s house. What happens next?

Encourage your child to think of solutions to problems encountered along the way and ideas for how the characters can deal with certain situations.

Higher-Order Thinking Skills Activities for Storytime

One of the most useful activities you can do every day while reading to your children , right from the time they can understand the words, is to question them meaningfully in order to develop thinking skills.

Through the use of some very basic types of open-ended questions , you will have your child thinking , analyzing , predicting , comparing , deciding , giving opinions and deducing , amongst other skills.

There are many benefits to be gained from the simple act of reading and listening alone, however, by using the opportunity to add some questioning techniques, you will be developing important cognitive skills that will train your child to think in an advanced way.

Mother reading to her son

Examples of Higher-Order Thinking Questions for Preschoolers

There are many different types and styles of questions that can be asked, each with a different purpose and to stimulate a different thinking skill.

Here are 3 examples of the types of questions you could use while reading:

1. Questions That Ask for Predictions

These kinds of questions encourage children to make predictions for a story. They could predict, for example:

  • the genre of the story from clues on the book cover
  • what happens at the end of a story
  • what happens in the beginning (if you read the end of a story first)
  • what could happen if a character makes a certain decision (and other scenarios for decision making )

2. Questions That Require Inference

Inference means that details are not explicitly stated in a text, but there are clues that lead the reader to deduce the answer to the question. Children learn to read between the lines.

Take for example an illustration in a story of an outdoor scene where the sun is shining. If you ask your child whether it is day or night they may not find the answer in the text; however, they can find evidence in the illustration to prove that it is daytime.

This is called inference and is a great skill for developing critical thinking skills in kids.

3. Questions Asking About the Main Idea

I have worked with high school pupils who struggle to summarize the main idea of a story or text in one sentence.

If the entire text is about the migration habits of birds, for example, many children will identify the main idea as being too broad (e.g. it is about birds) or too narrow (e.g. saying it is about one of many species mentioned in the text, or simply referring to something that was stated in the first sentence).

Asking the question “Can you tell me in one sentence what this story is about?” will teach children to think clearly and formulate concise and logical ideas.

Asking these kinds of questions can take as little as 5 minutes a day and will make a huge impact on your child’s ability to think logically and solve problems.

I hope you’ll enjoy trying some of these preschool critical thinking activities and exercises.

Get FREE access to Printable Puzzles, Stories, Activity Packs and more!

Sign up and you’ll receive a downloadable set of printable puzzles, games and short stories , as well as the Learning Through Play Activity Pack which includes an entire year of activities for 3 to 6-year-olds. Access is free forever.

Signing up for a free Grow account is fast and easy and will allow you to bookmark articles to read later, on this website as well as many websites worldwide that use Grow .

Printables and Learning Through Play Activity Pack

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Sunday 15th of October 2023

I am a resource teacher and have been looking for these types of activities to use for my classes. I am excited to see how my students will respond...

Thank you so much for sharing...

Tanja Mcilroy

Monday 16th of October 2023

You're welcome, Lyn!

Tuesday 8th of August 2023

What a fantastic article on critical thinking activities for kids! As a parent, I'm always on the lookout for engaging ways to nurture my child's cognitive development. These 12 activities for preschoolers and kindergarteners truly resonate with me. The way you've explained each game, from I Spy to Cloud Stories, makes it easy to understand how they stimulate creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Moreover, I found your insights on using higher-order thinking skills during storytime incredibly valuable. Encouraging kids to predict, infer, and analyze while reading is such a powerful way to enhance their cognitive abilities.

As I was reading your article, I couldn't help but think about another great resource that complements your ideas perfectly. It's an article called "Empower Your Child's Learning with Playful Critical Thinking Activities," and you can find it here: link. This article dives deeper into playful activities that foster critical thinking in kids and aligns perfectly with your approach.

Thank you for sharing your expertise and insights – your work is greatly appreciated by parents like me who are passionate about our children's development! 🌟

Wednesday 9th of August 2023

Thanks for your kind comment, Marina!

Connie Strand

Saturday 22nd of June 2019

Tanja , I have enjoyed all the articles you have written! The background information is so very important. Why we teach certain concepts along with the activities ,I think, has been invaluable! I hope other parents, educators and people involved with little ones, appreciate the extensive job you have done. Sincerely, Connie

Sunday 23rd of June 2019

Hi Connie, thank you so much for your kind words. I love writing about how young minds learn and it's wonderful when parents and teachers get involved and really understand the value of play for their children. Enjoy the journey! Tanja

Wednesday 20th of February 2019

I m very much satisfied with your ansure do u take sessions I need to meet u personaly so u can help me more about my daughter eira thank you very much

Hi Minaz, thank you for your comment. You are welcome to email me your queries at [email protected]

Teaching support from the UK’s largest provider of in-school maths tuition

blogs read

resources downloaded

one to one lessons

one to one lessons

schools supported

schools supported

Built by teachers for teachers

In-school online one to one maths tuition developed by maths teachers and pedagogy experts

Hundreds of FREE online maths resources!

Daily activities, ready-to-go lesson slides, SATs revision packs, video CPD and more!

Hundreds of FREE online maths resources!

Developing Critical Thinking Skills At KS2 Using Same Surface Different Depth Problems: How I Wish I’d Taught Maths (5)

Clare sealy.

Clare Sealy looks at the struggles primary school pupils can have when implementing critical thinking skills when subject knowledge is lacking, and the effect this can have on their attempts at problem solving activities in KS2.

This article is part of a series published to help primary school teachers and leaders implement some of the insights and teaching techniques derived from Craig Barton’s bestselling book How I Wish I’d Taught Maths . Links to the other 5 articles appear at the end.

In the introduction to this series, I outlined how Craig Barton, in his book How I wish I’d taught maths,  described how he had changed his teaching as the result of reading research around learning and memory , in particular cognitive load theory in the classroom . In the latter part of his book, the focus turns to helping pupils use what they know.

Whatever the age of the children we teach, many find it hard to transfer what they know how to do in one context to another. This is most evident when it comes to maths problem solving , or in the SATs reasoning papers. They know the maths, they just can’t work out which bit of maths they need in this specific circumstance.

What are critical thinking skills?

At the basic level, critical thinking is the ability to analyse facts presented to us to form a judgement about a topic. It is an incredibly important skill to have at higher education and beyond, and is one of the key factors in astute decision making. 

Most of us explicitly encounter critical thinking and other higher order thinking skills such as metacognition in the classroom at either GCSE or A-Level, but laying their foundations at primary school is becoming more and more common and valued. 

However, “critical thinking and the ability to solve problems is not a generic skill that can be taught and that children can transfer from one problem to another. While there are some metacognitive strategies that can help a bit, what is really crucial is having a very secure understanding of the actual maths – the domain specific knowledge – that lies at the heart of the problem.” Daniel Willingham (2006)

Critical thinking (as well as scientific thinking and other domain-based types of thinking) is not a skill. There is not a set of critical thinking skills that can be acquired and deployed regardless of context. There are, however, metacognitive strategies that (once learned) make the critical thinking process more likely, and make up a key part of many quality first teaching methods .

The ability to think critically (to actually do what the metacognitive strategies call for) depends on domain knowledge and practice. For teachers, the situation is not hopeless, but no one should underestimate the difficulty of teaching pupils to think critically.

This said, metacognition is an incredibly valuable skill for pupils to have for any number of reasons, from helping low-ability students catch up to their peers to helping the whole class minimise the impact of the summer slide .

The metacognitive strategies mentioned involve reflecting on what you are doing during problem solving activities in KS2, asking yourself questions such as:

‘What am I doing?’

‘Why am I doing this?’

‘How does it help me?’

This is all very well if you have secure domain knowledge and can answer these questions. However, if you lack this knowledge, the questions are just frustrating.

Crib Sheet for How I Wish I'd Taught Primary Maths

Download the key findings from research; share with your staff, your SLT, and at your next job interview!

How to help your pupils develop critical thinking skills for problem solving activities throughout KS2

There are of course  problem solving strategies  we can give pupils to help them become better critical thinkers. For example, underlining the important words. However, this relies on pupils understanding what the important word are in the first place.

Often, irrelevant surface features seem important to pupils whereas we experts can see they are completely irrelevant, because our domain knowledge and experience of answering many, many questions means we can spot the deep underlying structure a mile off.

It’s the same with other strategies such as setting work out systematically (you have to know what system is likely to be helpful), working backwards (you have to know whether this is likely to be useful in this situation) or even using a bar model. Bar models can be so helpful, but you have to know whether or not this kind of question is suitable for the bar model treatment.

‘Same surface, different deep’ or SSDD Problems

Problem solving maths questions usually have an arbitrary surface structure and a deep structure. The surface structure involves the context in which the problem is set and has nothing to do with the actual maths; for example, in a question about buying tickets to a funfair, the funfair and ticket are part of the surface structure.

They are but the wrapper in which the real maths is wrapped. Pupils can get fixated on this ‘wrapper’, rather than the underlying deep mathematical structure held within it.

I recall a SATs question about paving inside a greenhouse. The child thought that they couldn’t do it because they didn’t know what a greenhouse was! Whereas I immediately knew that this was going to be an area question. The surface structure was transparent to me whereas, it was thoroughly opaque to the pupil.

All the underlining, systematic working or bar modelling in the world wouldn’t get past this erroneous latching onto surface features.

How to get past the surface features 

To overcome this hurdle, Craig recommends teaching children to recognise the deep structure of maths problems and how to identify and then disregard surface features.

It should go without saying that children need to be thoroughly secure in the underlying maths before attempting problem solving.

Problem Solving Activities KS2 Quote

It is a mistake to think that maths problem solving is a good way of consolidating learning, let alone using it in the initial knowledge acquisition phase. Problem solving is about transferring learning from one context to another.

SATs problem solving question from Third Space Learning

Problem solving at KS2 is about using your critical thinking skills to generalise

It therefore comes at the end of learning to do something, not mid- way and definitely not at the beginning.

But what is more, if at the end of a unit on, say division, we give children a load of division problems, this will not help them work out what the deep structure is. They already know; it’s division! This is fine, but it won’t help children learn to decide whether or not a particular problem requires division or not.

As well as problem solving activities at the end of units, teachers also need to allocate separate times where children have to work out what the deep structure of a problem actually is, regardless of surface features.  

This means setting a range of SSDD problems sharing the same surface features – for example a shopping problem involving apples and pears – but which each have a different deep structure .

Read more: KS2 Problem Solving and KS3 Maths Problem Solving

Translating this to a primary school context.

Let’s return to the question about stickers from the 2017 KS2 SATs paper we considered when considering goal free problems:

thinking skills problem solving activities ks2

The surface feature here is stickers.

As experts, we know straightaway that we could substitute packs of stickers with boxes of apples or packets of balloons or even a family ticket to the cinema.

In fact, in a variation of Craig’s SSDD technique for a primary context, I’d suggest also doing DSSD problems (different surface, same deep) problems too, asking children to cross out the words ‘pack of stickers’ and replace with suitable alternative, and then repeat the problem to understand that the surface features do not change the underlying maths at all.

KS2 Problem Solving Activities in Maths

Then I’d suggest moving on to SSDD problems, with appropriate differentiation in the classroom . Let’s stick with stickers as our ‘same surface’.  

The deep structure of our original question involved knowing that you had to multiply to find the price of 12 separate stickers and then subtracting to find the difference. But we could ask mathematically different questions while keeping the context and visual look of the problem the same.

For example:

Example of a problem solving activity for KS2 using thinking skills

  • How much does one sticker cost? (though I’d adapt the price so the division came out as a whole number of pence)
  • Stickers are 8cm wide and 6cm high. Ally sticks 3 stickers in a row, without any gaps. What is the perimeter of the shape she has now made?
  • Ally buys 7 packs of stickers a month, Jack buys 3 packs of stickers a month and Chen buys 5 packets a month. What is the average number of packets bought by the 3 children in one month?
  • Ally buys a pack of 12 stickers. She has spent 15% of her birthday money. How much birthday money has Ally got left? (again, I would adjust the price into something more workable)

Another great way to translate problem solving into a primary context is through topical maths investigations.

Extension ideas for problem solving activities in KS2

Extending both ideas, we could make a grid where the rows contained questions with a different surface structure and the columns contained questions with the same deep structure. This grid could be cut into individual boxes with pupils having to sort each box accordingly, to reconstruct the grid.

KS2 Problem Solving Activities Grid

Tigers, Cake or Money? A unique approach to critical thinking

One questioning in the classroom strategy for helping children understand the deep structure of division problems, is to ask children if this is a tiger, cake or money sort of division question.

What this means is, could we swap the surface features of the problem we are given to one involving tigers, or cake or money?

Why these three I hear you ask?

This is because, where division problems do not divide exactly, it is really useful to:

  • Be able to decide if you need to round up or down (These are the tiger questions. If you haven’t got enough cages for your tigers you might get eaten)
  • Have a remainder that’s a fraction (These are the cake questions as we can each have 1 and a half cakes)
  • Or have a remainder expressed as a decimal (These are the money questions as we can have £2.47 each)

An example of a Tiger question

thinking skills Tiger Question as a problem solving activity for KS2

This is a great example of a tiger question. With 4 spare tigers, you need to have an extra box! Having 2/3 of a box wouldn’t work, neither would having 0.666 of a box. Rewriting this as a tiger question helps understand the deep structure.

A cage holds 6 tigers

How many cages are needed to hold 52 tigers?

How to make a trickier Tiger question

Here is a slightly harder ‘tiger’ problem:

thinking skills Tiger Problem for KS2 Problem Solving Activities

Let’s rewrite this:

A zookeeper has 7,600 tigers (!)

Cages can contain 500 tigers.

How many cages does the zookeeper need?

The answer:

15.2 cages is obviously not enough to stop the keeper from being eaten.

Answers requiring a decimal answer are usually money questions already, or calculations rather than word problems. Hence they are easy to categorise.

Some children find ‘tiger’ type questions particularly hard, and give answers that don’t make sense because they haven’t rounded up or down. So in the brick example above, they give the answer as 15.2 because they haven’t recognised that doesn’t make sense.

By naming certain deep structures, children are more able to identify them when they arise, and this is a fantastic way to help children with problem solving activities throughout KS2.

Sources of Inspiration

  • Willingham, D.T. (2006) ‘How knowledge helps: it speeds and strengthens reading comprehension, learning and thinking’. American Educator 30 (1) p.30

This is the fifth blog in a series of 6 adapting the book How I Wish I’d Taught Maths for a primary audience. Some have already been mentioned in this post, but if you wish to read the remaining blogs in the series, check them out below:

  • Direct Instruction: How I Wish I’d Taught Maths (2)
  • Deliberate Practice In Education: How I Wish I’d Taught Maths (4)
  • How Retrieval Practice Helps Long-Term Maths Skills: How I Wish I’d Taught Maths (6)

Do you have pupils who need extra support in maths? Every week Third Space Learning’s maths specialist tutors support thousands of pupils across hundreds of schools with weekly online 1-to-1 lessons and maths interventions designed to plug gaps and boost progress. Since 2013 we’ve helped over 150,000 primary and secondary school pupils become more confident, able mathematicians. Learn more or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.

Subsidised one to one maths tutoring from the UK’s most affordable DfE-approved one to one tutoring provider.

Related Articles

problem solving maths FI

FREE Guide to Maths Mastery

All you need to know to successfully implement a mastery approach to mathematics in your primary school, at whatever stage of your journey.

Ideal for running staff meetings on mastery or sense checking your own approach to mastery.

Privacy Overview

  • Skip to primary navigation
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar
  • Skip to footer

STEM Journals, Activities & Experiments.

Critical Thinking for Kids: Activities, Games and Books

Published by Shreiya | February 23, 2021

Critical thinking for kids helps children think beyond the obvious. It is an essential life skill which is required across all walks of life.

Critical Thinking is a tool that aids us in making informed, rational decisions. It enables us ‘how’ to think and make sense of the data and information presented to us.  

Simply put, it is the ability to analyse the existing information to make a logical decision.

A child with a critical thinking mindset is able to question, interlink information & ideas, make rational choices and most importantly justify their own decisions.

This is crucial for development of the human brain as it shifts the focus from being a passive listener to an active learner.

Jump to the section that interests you most!

Why Critical Thinking Matters? Critical Thinking Activities for Kids Critical Thinking Games for Kids Critical Thinking Books for Kids FAQ

Why Critical Thinking Matters?

As we go further into the future, this skill will be valued more than ever. With Artificial Intelligence and Automation doing most of the processing and knowledge based jobs, it is this skill that will keep the need of humans for a job ticking.

For young children, this ability translates into a mindset that is conducive for growth and lifelong learning.

Critical thinking empowers kids to cultivate a growth mindset that is ready to absorb new information, make meaningful connections between the existent knowledge and newly acquired information and most importantly use their knowledge bank to solve problems.

This makes critical thinking a formidable weapon in the mental ancillary. So much is the significance of Critical Thinking that it  has become one of the most vital skills of the 21st century .

That said, young children, according to Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, are concrete thinkers until the age of 12years. They learn mostly through trial and error approach and are unable to think ‘critically’ unless explicitly encouraged.

While young learners may not have the inherent circuitry in place to think critically, a guiding caretaker or an encouraging parent can certainly make a difference in wiring them to think logically.

That’s where we as parents and caretakers need to work. We need to coach our kids to think critically so they can survive the challenges of future. Here are our suggestions.

Critical Thinking Activities for Kids

1. inculcate creativity.

Encourage your child to draw a scene to explain her thoughts. We need critical thinking skills to depict our thoughts into pictures.

That is the reason why art is valued. It is not an easy task. For older children, play games like Pictionary and ask them to justify what they draw.

Creativity in kids

2. Play Sorting Games 

Classification and sorting skills are great for logical reasoning.

Ask your child to sort same list of animals/objects using different attributes like size, color, geometry, shape etc. Group animals into categories based on their habitats, eating habits, body structure, reproduction mechanism etc.

These sorting activities help children see the differences and similarities across various groups, thus enhancing their understanding.

Related: Also try these Memory Games for Kids to kick start your child’s memory training.

3. Solve Puzzles and Brain teasers Together

These are great for problem-solving in kids . Be it jig-saw, tic-tac-toe, mazes or whatever your child loves.

Solving puzzles and brain teasers together helps your children learn from you and formulate a strategy of their own.

While doing these activities alone may be frustrating for kids, a playful encouraging parent can make a great difference.

Critical Thinking Puzzles

4. Real Problem Pretend Play

Bring in a real world problem like water scarcity to pretend play and ask them to think of solutions. Such games help children learn about their environment and surrounding.

It also aids them to understand the challenges faced in real world. Motivate them not only to think of solutions but also to implement at their level.

Like we thought how using a steel straw could reduce the waste generated by straws and save so many marine lives. For plastic bags, we brainstormed and made reusable cloth bags out of an old t-shirt.

Related: Read how Design Thinking for Kids is helping raise the next generation of problem solvers.

5. Get Creative with Blocks

Blocks are great at building logical skills. They help children give a sense to their imagination. Also they are great for loose parts play .

Every time you encourage your kindergartener to repurpose old blocks into new games, neurons fire up in her brain.

Throw in some Math Jokes in between to lighten the mood and add humour to your brain building session.

Blocks for kids

6. Inspire Thinking

Ask them to think of answers to their own questions. Aid the process of arriving at the answer rather than providing the answer.

Once they have arrived at a possible explanation, ask them to reason with their own answers.

This process of thinking about thinking – Metacognition , will help them find flaws (or support) in their own arguments and fine tune their opinion. Thus, making them better critical thinkers.

7. Teach Cause and Effect

Let them explore and test independently in a safe environment. Lot of discoveries were made by simple explorations. Such expeditions often teach a good lesson on cause and effect.

A great game for teaching cause and effect is the old classical Marbles. Same goes for Pool and Snookers.

Related: Science Experiments are a perfect way to teach cause and effect. Try a few from our vast list of Preschool Science Experiments .

8. Let Them H ypothesise

When reading a story, stop midway and ask them what they think is going to happen, how is the story going to end?

Open ended questions like these fire up the grey cells and force them to think of logical and creative outcomes. Give them time to think and come up with an elaborated answer.

You can even use real life situations to ask open-ended questions like, when struck in a traffic jam, ask them to think of a solution that could help ease congestion.

9. Play Guessing Games

Guessing games are excellent at building reasoning skills. Our favorite is ‘Animal Guess Who’. Drop hints describing the animal and then let your child guess it out.

10. Riddle Them

Riddles are a great way to fire up neurons and get your child thinking logically and critically. And the best part – riddles are SUPER fun!

Your kiddos wouldn’t even know that you are secretly working at their critical thinking skills. Here is an  exhaustive list of riddles to get you started.

11. Dumb Charades

This is another simple family game wherein the child is asked to guess the name of the movie ( STEM or sci-fi movies make it harder) — or anything else — by decoding the sign language of his team mate.

12. Let Them Play Detective

Hone your kid’s critical reasoning and thinking skills by letting them don the detective hat.

A simple treasure hunt to find a hidden object of joy could translate into great fun and critical thinking activity for kids.

For older kids, introduce the basis of kid appropriate Crime Scene Investigation to give them the taste of real thrill and a safe playground to practice their critical thinking.

13. Rebus Puzzles

These creative visual puzzles are perfect for polishing critical thinking skills in children. They are great for visual learners and secretly work at literacy skills as well.

14. Logical Reasoning Puzzles

These non-verbal and verbal reasoning puzzles are a great way to build critical thinking skills while polishing spatial & numeracy skills.

Critical thinking puzzles for kids

Critical Thinking Games for Kids

1. guess who.

This is a great family board game that works at boosting critical reasoning. The task at hand is to guess the opponent’s card by asking her/him the valid questions. Suitable for kids 6year and above.

Critical thinking games for kids

2. Connect Four

Connect 4 is a classic game of strategy that will encourage your child to think critically and plan her moves to win the game. Super easy to learn and play, connect 4 does a great job at boosting thinking skills while having fun.

Critical thinking games for kids

Related: Also check out these Exciting Toys for Kids that secretly sneak in learning into play!

Another critical thinking game for kids 6years and above, Othello packs a whole lot of fun! Besides being highly addictive, this classic game is great at boosting spatial reasoning and logical thinking skills.

Critical thinking games for kids

Looking for Board Games? Check out our Giant List of Board Games for Kids for a fun family game session.

This single player game is great boredom buster and is a perfect brain building game for kids 5years and above. It comes with an increasing level of challenges that gradually build up logical reasoning skills. Neatly packed, it makes up for a nice travel game as well!

Critical thinking games for kids

5. Parking Puzzle

Parking Puzzle works at reasoning and critical thinking skills in children 6years and above. The task is to assign parking spaces to the cars according to the challenge cards.

The challenge cards start from an easy level and scale up to expert level to keep children (and adults!) genuinely scratching their heads.

Critical thinking games for kids

6. Brainvita

This marble eliminating game is a pure delight and a perfect game for the entire family. This brain bending game is simple enough to understand but packs a great challenge.

Critical thinking games for kids

Got a brainy kid? Check out Trivia Questions for Kids to test their knowledge.

7. Mastermind

Take on the role of a code breaker with this game of Mastermind. Thrilling and exciting, this game boosts deduction and logical skills. 

Critical thinking games for kids

Adapted for younger kids, this version comes with jungle animal pegs and 3 levels of play to make it more apt for kids 6years and above.

8. Domino Maze

Domino maze does a great job at gamifying logical and critical reasoning skills. This single player game is challenge based wherein the player has to add indicated tokens on the board to trigger domino effect. Suitable for kids, 8years and above.

Critical thinking games for kids

9.  Swish

This is a wonderful critical thinking card game for kids 8 years and above. One of the few games that is equally loved by kids and adults, Swish is an award winning game!

Critical thinking games for kids

10. Noggin Playground Dragon Dash

Dragon Dash is a cooperative game that not only teaches team building but also works at developing critical thinking skills. Targeted at kids 5 years and above, this critical thinking game is quick to play and understand and is loads of fun!

Critical thinking games for kids

Critical Thinking Books for Kids

1. more-igami.

This is a lovely book to introduce critical thinking to kids in the most matter-of-factly way!

Your kids wouldn’t even realise the skills they are picking up while reading this heartwarming story of a boy, who has discovered the joy of origami and is ready to dive deep into the art of paper folding.

Critical thinking books for kids

2. Flat Earth? Round Earth?

This is another gem of a book when it comes to teaching children the importance of critical thinking. Flat Earth? Round Earth? encourages children to ask questions and not take things for their face value. Highly recommended!

critical thinking activities ks2

Also see Inspiring STEM Books for Kids to add STEM to your child’s reading.

3. Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy

What better way to encourage curiosity and critical thinking than by introducing children to the long-standing questions about life.

Children often wonder about these truths of life and more than often are shushed than encouraged. Here is your chance to inspire thinking about the greater things of life!

Critical thinking books for kids

4. What To Do With a Box?

Turn your children into innovators with this charming book that wonders what all can be done with a cardboard box.

This book will encourage your children to question, wonder and give life to their ideas…just the perfect way to encourage critical thinking skills in kids.

Critical thinking books for kids

5. Thingamabob

Thingamabob is a cute, humorous book that is sure to inspire critical thinking in kids as young as 3year old. Join the protagonist as it wonders what really thingamabob is and questions its own assumptions.

Critical thinking books for kids

6. Learning to Fly

This is a story about an unlikely friendship between a man and a penguin, which believes it can fly!

Together they question, design and build to discover the secrets of flying. Highly recommended, this book is a real treasure!

Critical thinking books for kids

7. Nibbling on Einstein’s Brain: The Good, the Bad and the Bogus in Science

If there could be a short course of critical thinking for kids, this book tops the list. It is the perfect guide to critical thinking.

It delivers great tricks on how to spot the phony facts from real science. Fun and interactive, this book is simply delightful!

Critical reasoning books for kids

8. A Home For a Bird

This is a beautiful story of friendship and how critical thinking can be used not only to solve scientific problems but also help a friend. A great book on various accounts – literacy, illustrations and the important lessons it delivers. Perfect for kids 5years and above.

Critical thinking books for kids

9. Perfectly Logical

If you are looking for a book to put your child’s critical thinking skills to test, look no further. Perfectly logical is packed with 100 mind benders and puzzles that will progressively challenge your child.

Critical thinking books for kids

10. Thinking Like a Lawyer

Coming form teacher-turned-attorney-turned-educationist-turned-innovator, you can expect a lot from this book and rightly so! One of the best books to introduce critical thinking tools to kids.

Critical thinking books for kids

For young children upto the age 6 years, critical thinking is the ability to piece information together and draw a logical conclusion from it. This can be done through hands-on activities, simple experiments and logical puzzles.

1. Observation  2. Investigation & Analysis 3. Inference & Interpretation 4. Communication 5. Problem Solving & troubleshooting

To introduce critical thinking to kids, take a simplified approach and ask children to brainstorm 3 or 5 ways to solve an everyday challenge they face. For instance: – How can you get ready on time? – How can you share without fighting with each other? – What should you do when you are upset?

Best and most effective ways to boost critical thinking in children is through: 1. Playing logical games; 2. Engaging in critical thinking activities; 3. Reading books that widen their horizons and exemplifies how to think out of the box.

1. Play sorting games 2. Solve puzzles and brain teasers 3. Real problem pretend play 4. Dumb charades 5. Teach cause and effect

1. Boosts logical thinking 2. Enhances creativity 3. Identify and overcome cognitive biases 4. Fosters curiosity 5. Builds independent thinking 6. Augment research skills 7. Promotes growth mindset

Children are great thinkers and often have out of the box creative ideas which we lack. So to develop critical thinking skills in kids, we really just have to listen and be more open to our children’s thought process.

We need to assure that we do not dumb them down with our standardized way of thinking. These simple, fun games and play ideas can go a long way in nurturing this essential skill.

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means that I earn a minuscule (< 5%) commission if you purchase.

Useful Links

critical thinking activities ks2

Grab Our Freebie! Winter Color by Number


5 Activities for Your Child That Teach Critical Thinking


Critical thinking is one of the most crucial life skills to have. It not only builds a strong character, but also creates a wise person that is humble, and successful. However, most schools are not able to nurture critical thinking abilities due to a standardized syllabus. Yet, as a parent, you can nurture your children to think critically with some activities that you can do at home.

Here are some examples of activities that you and your children can start on right away!

1. Creating art.

Encouraging your child to express their thoughts through artistic outlets is an incredible way to nurture critical thinking skills. As children draw pictures or compose music to express things they might not know how to do in words, this requires a degree of critical thinking skills.

Practicing artistic skills and nurturing creativity is an indispensable activity for children to build their critical thinking skills. It is by no means a simple task. This is one of the many factors as to why art has been highly valued throughout history.

2. Solve puzzles together.

Puzzles are proven to be a great activity for children to build their neurons up. Whether it is Monopoly, tic tac toe, connect 4, jigsaw puzzles, snakes and ladder, and many others, your child will actively be building their critical thinking skills by playing these games.

Through puzzles and brain teasers, your child slowly learns how to formulate strategies, understand the fundamentals of game theory, and gradually build up these skills until it is second nature.

When it comes to puzzles, your presence is also incredibly important. These puzzles might seem daunting and unenjoyable if you let your child play alone, but it can become a fun and wonderful bonding experience when you are playing together.

3. Teach them how to create a hypothesis.

You can actively teach your child how to come up with their own ideas and theories when you are spending time with them. For example, if you are reading them a story, you could stop halfway through and start to question them about things such as what do they think about the characters, what do they think will happen later and why do they think so. Ask them how they feel the story would finish.

Impromptu and open-ended questions such as these give your child the chance to think logically, and outside the box. Sometimes, their creative answers might even surprise you! Encourage them, ask them open-ended questions, and give them ample time to come up with a great answer.

You could even use real-life situations to ask questions like these. For example, if you are having dinner together, you could ask them how they think these noodles were made, and what was the process involved. Or if you are stuck in traffic, you could ask them if they have any input on how they would fix congestion problems if they were the prime minister.

4. Play with building blocks.

Building blocks and LEGOs are great toys to build critical thinking. The endless possibilities allow your child to let their imaginations loose. By building various things with them, you are also encouraging them to utilize more of their brainpower to bring their ideas to life. From dinosaurs and buildings to space ships and model homes, as your child builds their imaginations into reality, they are actively firing up those neurons throughout the whole process.

You can also achieve great results by playing Minecraft with them. Essentially a virtual world made out of building blocks, you and your child have a great bonding experience that is both fun and educational. If Minecraft isn’t your thing – programs like Engineering For Kids encourage creativity and critical thinking in their STEM camps, classes, and events.

5. Real problems, pretend play.

Bring up a real-world problem such as world hunger or global warming to pretend play and ask them to think of solutions. For example, if they were the president of the United States of America, how would they solve these issues? Such games allow children to learn about their surroundings and be aware of their environment, while also critically thinking about the issues and how to work around them.

These games also allow your children to understand the real challenges that are faced by people in the world. Through your encouragement, you can even motivate them to not only think heavily about these problems but also actively think of solutions, which might have an incredibly beneficial impact on their future careers and ideologies.

Critical thinking is the key to success

Critical thinking abilities are crucial in order to achieve success in life. It allows an individual to live their life to the fullest and to always think ahead of their actions and the consequences that will come. By nurturing critical thinking skills in your children, they will undoubtedly have a bright future ahead.

  • Education Trends (24)
  • Free Activities (14)
  • Parent Resources (42)
  • STEM Education (55)
  • Tips for Academic Success (11)

Find Your Local Engineering For Kids


  1. Critical thinking activities, Critical thinking and Activities on Pinterest

    critical thinking activities ks2

  2. Critical Thinking Activities Level 3: Groups and Pairs

    critical thinking activities ks2

  3. 81 Fun Critical Thinking Activities

    critical thinking activities ks2

  4. Printable Puzzle Games For 10 Year Olds

    critical thinking activities ks2

  5. 2015 in Photos

    critical thinking activities ks2

  6. 81 Fun Critical Thinking Activities

    critical thinking activities ks2



  2. critical thinking

  3. Learning Outcomes Of Critical Thinking

  4. Critical Thinking

  5. Critical thinking

  6. How we can do critical thinking with the syllabus?


  1. Boosting Creativity and Critical Thinking with ABCya Games for Kids

    In today’s digital age, finding educational and engaging activities for kids can be a challenge. With the increasing popularity of online gaming, it is essential to provide children with options that not only entertain but also stimulate th...

  2. When Do We Use Critical Thinking in Everyday Life?

    When an individual can determine whether a problem is under control or beyond his control and can recognize his limitations regarding money, time and power, then he is using critical thinking in everyday life.

  3. What Are Some Examples of Critical Thinking?

    Examples of critical thinking include observing, analyzing, discriminating and predicting. Critical thinkers solve problems through observation, data gathering, and reasoning. Other examples of critical thinking are applying standards and s...

  4. 50 Short Thinking Exercises PowerPoint

    Our brilliant short thinking exercises for KS2 PowerPoint is a perfect way to support thinking skills in your classroom. Why not use as a whole-class

  5. 2,063 Top "Critical Thinking" Teaching Resources curated for you

    Instant access to inspirational lesson plans, schemes of work, assessment, interactive activities, resource packs, PowerPoints, teaching ideas at Twinkl!

  6. 81 Fresh & Fun Critical-Thinking Activities

    Above all, encourage your students to see themselves as thinkers. 5. 81 Fresh & Fun Critical-Thinking Activities © Laurie Rozakis, Scholastic Teaching Resources

  7. The Critical Thinking Workbook

    Next, the class should be given an historical event or current issue related to the lesson to discuss. Students should also get some time to do some research

  8. Critical Thinking Activities for Children

    Our partners at Role Models share five ways you can help teach your child to think critically.

  9. 20 Critical Thinking Activities for Elementary Classrooms

    1. Teach Students How to Obtain Verifiable News · 2. Watch and Discuss a Critical Reasoning Video · 3. Complete a Critical Design Challenge · 4.

  10. Critical Thinking Activities For Kids

    Critical Thinking Activities for Kids · Logical Reasoning Games · Puzzles and Brain Teasers · Mazes · Open-ended questions · Debating games.

  11. 12 Critical Thinking Activities for Kids

    Critical Thinking Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners · 1. I Spy · 2. Build a Story · 3. Rhyming Game · 4. How Many Can You Think of? · 5.

  12. Developing Thinking Skills At KS2: How I Wish I'd Taught Maths (5)

    How to help your pupils develop critical thinking skills for problem solving activities throughout KS2 · 'Same surface, different deep' or SSDD Problems · How to

  13. Critical Thinking for Kids: Activities, Games and Books

    Critical Thinking Activities for Kids · 1. Inculcate Creativity · 2. Play Sorting Games · 3. Solve Puzzles and Brain teasers Together · 4. Real

  14. 5 Activities for Your Child That Teach Critical Thinking

    Discover 5 Fun Activities for Kids to Boost Critical Thinking Skills. Engaging Learning at Engineering for Kids - March 2022 News.