Critical thinking requires the ability to take in new information and determine how best to use it. For children, playtime represents a great opportunity to strengthen this skill.
Critical thinking is one of many executive function skills, which also include self-control and working memory. These skills help children work well with others, problem solve and adapt to changes – increasing their chances for success throughout life. In fact, 65 percent of HR managers agree that hiring entry-level employees with these skills is a top priority for the long-term success of a company.
In good news, you are likely already encouraging critical thinking at home! Here are a few fun activities that can help your child develop this skill:
- Dramatic play: As you play together, introduce new information and ask your child how she would react or what she would do. (E.g., If pretending to hike, pretend that you come to a river. How can you cross it?). Or, use items around the house to create costumes and let your child lead as you act out different scenarios together.
- Playdates: Schedule a time for your child to play with others. During this time, she’ll be introduced to new information and learn how to react in order for play to continue.
- Open-ended questions: Give your child plenty of time and practice figuring out her own answers by asking open-ended questions. (E.g., Ask your child, “How did you feel about that?”)
Looking for more simple tips and resources? Check out our guide to nurturing other executive function skills at home!