critical thinkingYour preschool child has mastered language as a communication tool. He can speak in full sentences, and is beginning to explore the joys of language communication.

He can understand and retell a story from his own life, or from a book. He can ask and answer questions, recall information, and apply information to new situations.

He loves to learn new things about the world around him, and his favorite word is “why?” It is a pleasure and joy to watch your child grow, and you are loving every minute of his learning life.

During this period, preschoolers are beginning to develop critical thinking skills. That means the ability to compare, analyze and make decisions. The more your child practices these skills, the more he will exercise his brain to prepare it for later learning.

As a parent, here are two simple activities to give your child’s critical thinking skills a boost. These games are also great for those “what do we do now?” moments, like when you’re stuck waiting for a play date, a bus is late, or there’s a long wait time at the doctor’s office.

“WOULD YOU RATHER”: in this game, the parent and child take turns asking each other “would you rather” questions. These can be:

  • Thought-provoking: “Would you rather get a whole bag of lollipops, or one lollipop every day for the rest of your life?” This encourages critical thinking.
  • Silly: “Would you rather have a butterfly poop on your nose, or a snail sneeze on your toe?”
  • Descriptive: “Would you rather a huuuuge cake that tasted like soap, or a tiny cake that tasted like cake?”

“Would you rather” encourages your child to weigh, measure, analyze and compare. Its also just plain fun, and your child will love letting his imagination run away with him. My own kids, ages seven, six, and two, love this game, and they all play it together. Even my two-year-old knows how to ask “would you rather” questions. Recently, he came up with this gem: “Would you rather have a stroller stuck in your ear, or watch a movie?” We all burst into a fit of giggles!

WHAT DOESN’T BELONG: in this game, the adult and child take turns naming three or four objects. They all belong to the same category, except for one. For example:

  • dog
  • cat
  • shoe
  • rabbit

“Which doesn’t belong?”

The answer is shoe, all the other objects are animals.

This game can be tailored to your child’s abilities, and critical thinking skills. For those children who are visual learners, you can make it real with actual objects. For older children, you can make it more challenging.

  • fire truck
  • stop sign
  • goldfish
  • Elmo

“Which doesn’t belong?”

The answer is goldfish, all the other objects are red.

Playing mind games is fun and rewarding, as it helps your child exercise those brain muscles! In this age of digital technology, let’s not forget to make time for some good, old-fashioned critical thinking!