Critical thinking skills are essential to a happy and healthy life. However, for most people, these skills don’t come naturally and require development and teaching. The sooner your child begins to work on critical thinking, the earlier they can begin to apply these crucial skills to their everyday life. Family games encourage critical thinking and are both fun and valuable for family growth. As you play games together, you can also encourage your child to practice and apply their critical thinking skills. Consider the following games to teach critical thinking and have fun at the same time.
Same and Different
This game is great because you can play it anywhere and there are no supplies required. You simply choose two subjects and challenge the other player to name the ways they are the same and the ways they are different. This is an especially good game for younger children who are not yet used to strategy or critical thinking games. It gets their minds working on evaluating what they know and making connections. While this game doesn’t have a winner, you can certainly set goals if your child is goal-driven. For example, say something like, “Can you tell me three things that are the same as a chicken?” or “What are four things that are different from a house?” Encourage your child to explain their answers. And don’t forget to complete challenges as well, since your answers will give them examples they can learn from.
Analogies Encourage Critical Thinking
This is another play-anywhere game, and it is similar to Same and Different but approaches subjects from a new angle. Analogies compare two things, and the game is especially fun when you compare two things that are extremely different. Your child will be giggling as they try to come up with ways that an octopus is like a bowl of soup or how a truck is like a goose. However, you will likely be amazed by the creativity and imagination your child shows in their answers. In fact, many parents discover that their children think of similarities that adults never would’ve considered. Children also have a wonderful time thinking up absurd pairings for their parents to compare.
Guessing Games Encourage Critical Thinking
Guessing answers from clues is an advanced skill and requires a lot of mental work. Some board games, such as Guess Who and Clue, Jr. require this critical skill and are great for older preschoolers. If your child is not yet ready for these more complex games, there are simpler guessing games to get them started. I Spy is a classic game that children love and encourages observation and utilizing the process of elimination. Twenty Questions, or variations thereof, is also a great start for young children. This works especially well if you have your child choose the secret answer and you do the guessing first.
Connect Four or Gobblet
Making patterns and thinking ahead are both key critical thinking skills. Among popular family games, Connect Four is a long-standing favorite that teaches both. Initially, younger children will probably just enjoy using the pieces and seeing what happens next. In these cases, point out patterns and focus more on the activity than playing the actual game. As your child grows, challenge them to make patterns or to guess what you will do next. Eventually, your child will begin to enjoy the challenge of racing you to get four in a row.
If your child is already a fan of Connect Four and needs more challenges, consider a similar game called Gobblet. The object of this game is also to get four in a row before your opponent. However, in this game, your pieces can “gobble up” your opponent’s pieces assuming they are larger. The ability to reclaim spaces adds a new dimension to an exciting classic.
Family games can encourage critical thinking and add a lot to your life at home. They are an opportunity to slow down, enjoy one another, and learn together. As you seek to teach your child life skills, consider using family games to encourage critical thinking skills. These abilities will serve them well for a lifetime. If you are looking for childcare that will assist you in your child’s practice and learning, consider Legacy Academy. Our copyrighted curriculum emphasizes life skills, careful thought, and responsibility. Call or visit one of our centers today for more information.