Thanks to computers and artificial intelligence, many jobs that were once done by people are now done by machines. This makes it more important than ever for our children to think critically and approach problems creatively, because these are uniquely living abilities. Today I’m talking about how to raise critical and creative thinkers.
How to Raise Critical and Creative Thinkers
Thinking and creative problem solving take time. If you want your child to approach problems in this way, you need to make sure they have plenty of free time built into their lives. It is incredibly easy to over-schedule kids. Do everything you can to make sure they have time to think about things they are being taught. Kids need space to process everything they observe on a daily basis. Before adding an activity into your child’s life, as yourself:
- Do we really have time for this?
- Is the lost free time worth the benefits of the activity?
Teach kids to be aware of the world around them. You can do this by modeling awareness yourself. When you or your children jump to a conclusion about something, talk together about how that happened. Walk through previous experiences that may have led you to jump to conclusions instead of really thinking through a situation first. If we as parents to approach our lives more mindfully, our children will too.
There are a lot of ways to provide resources for teaching children to be critical and creative thinkers! Here are some favorites of ours.
Nature is an amazing tool for getting kids to really think about the world around them. You can also find some incredible problem solving happening in nature. Watch how different animals solve their problems. How do they find food? Where do they find shelter?
How do different plants solve their problems? For example, Redwood trees grow together in a circle so that they are stronger against the elements.
Learn to Play an Instrument
Playing a musical instrument is an excellent way for kids to practice awareness and for them to learn about cause and effect. Music also allows children to explore emotions without requiring a large verbal vocabulary to describe a feeling.
Give them Problems that Stretch their Critical and Creative Thinking
I am a member of the 2016 Timberdoodle Blog Team, and they sent me Critical & Creative thinking workbooks for my three older kids. My kids really like these – they picked them as one of the things they brought along when we traveled to Scotland last summer.
This is Lily’s second grade level Critical & Creative Thinking workbook:
There is a lot for her to do on each page, but it is designed so that it doesn’t look overwhelming. I loved the self-checking nature of this math around the world problem.
My third grader, Johnny, really enjoys analytical problem solving. These third grade level critical and creative thinking activities get him reading more than he normally would, because he enjoys solving the analytical word problems.
My fifth grader, Emma, loves words but does not love math as much. Just as the math got Johnny reading in his third grade level book, the words and storytelling got Emma to do math in the fifth grade level critical and creative thinking activities book.
The multidisciplinary approach in these books make them an excellent STEAM learning tool, too.
Do you want to learn more about this topic? Check out my post on raising kids who think.
What are you doing to raise critical and creative thinkers and problem solvers? Share ideas in the comments, or on my Facebook page. Sign up for my newsletter for more educational activities in your inbox every week.
Timberdoodle sent me the Critical and Creative Thinking Activities books featured in this post to review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.