How to Raise Critical and Creative Thinkers

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.

Tips for raising critical and creative thinkers

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How to Raise Critical and Creative Thinkers

Make Time

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 Awareness

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.

Provide Resources

There are a lot of ways to provide resources for teaching children to be critical and creative thinkers! Start by reading great books together and teaching them about the world. Pick academic resources that promote problem solving, like the Beast Academy series for elementary math.

Nature

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.

Learn More

Do you want to learn more about this topic? Check out my post on raising kids who think.

How to raise critical and creative thinkers

What are you doing to raise critical and creative thinkers and problem solvers?

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

5 thoughts on “How to Raise Critical and Creative Thinkers”

  1. Elisa | blissful E

    Time and nature are such important ingredients! I also think interacting with people who are different than us is key. That’s one of the things I love about big families and homeschooling, that my kids naturally interact across age groups. For one example, we are having the outside of our house painted, and my kids just naturally asked the painter questions about what he is doing and how. They had a conversation with him just as easily as they do with someone exactly their own age, and that’s another wonderful way to learn and integrate a wide amount of information.

  2. These skills are so important! We recently spent 2 months on this topic of critical thinking and creative problem solving with our staff. So, so important!

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