Unlike other biological entities, human beings are gifted with a multifunctional brain, which has the ability to grasp information and scrutinize it from head to toe, which is what we call “analytical thinking skill.”
Analytical Skills are real-life skills that allow us to figure out situations and have a clearer perception of them. The ability to identify both simple and complex problems, find out relevant facts, collect and correlate information, and draw logical conclusions – all of these when combined together, are referred to as Analytical Skills. These skills are profoundly used in everyday concepts of mathematics too!
But, you might ask now, “How do we incorporate analytical thinking skills in kids?”
Well. How about doing it in a way that it gets all fun and games?
Importance of analytical thinking ability
Analytical thinking is an essential life skill for kids, which helps them to visualize beyond the obvious. A child with an analytical thinking mindset would be capable of questioning, interlinking the information and ideas behind them, and making a decision. That’s where we need to work. We need to train our kids to think critically so that they can effortlessly compete. For kids, this analytical thinking ability helps develop a mindset conducive to consistent lifelong growth.
Reading, writing, solving math problems, and science is essential for kids. When kids read, they need to slow down and reflect upon what they have read. This method helps them to come up with their own interpretation of the reading. They naturally get the questions that make them think critically about the content and its message. We use analytical thinking abilities to solve our daily challenges. We look at a problem from different angles and try to get the best possible solution to the issues.
Normally, it’s playtime where children explore a lot by observing things. When we provide them the opportunity to have fun by playing games and taking part in fun activities, we help them think and observe critically. These playing time experiences create a basic foundation on which their future analytical thinking ability would build.
We have 11 games and activities suggestions that will help your child think in an unconventional way to visualize and solve a potential problem.
List of games and activities for analytical thinking skills
1. Real Life Pretend Play
Bring in a real-life issue like any emergency situation to Pretend Play and ask the child to find a solution to that. For instance, Parents can ask the kid to create a toy store with all the collection of playthings, and then assign a price and sell them.
Being an exact replica of real-life scenarios, such games are interesting, and children can learn about their surroundings as well. This game gives them the opportunity to understand the challenges faced in real life and to rectify a possible solution to that particular challenge.
2. See And Tell A Story
Visualizing can make up a great practice to ameliorate analytical thinking, which can be ensured by indulging the little ones in relevant games and activities. For example: Show your child three pictures of a particular story and ask them to imagine and visualize a story from pictures. The kid can judge the story considering these as inception, interval, and climax, which will stimulate critical thinking abilities.
This creative activity takes effort from a child, and that’s why this art is valued. You can even ask a kid to draw something and express their thoughts about it.
3. Puzzle Time Is Here
Puzzles are a fun way to engage a kid. It develops a child’s spatial perception, motor skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. There are many puzzles available for younger children, like board puzzles, and for older one’s there are Sudoku and crosswords. These can definitely be brain-teasers. You can get one from the market or even make it yourself!
DIY Puzzle Idea: Take a piece of cardboard and stick a picture on it. Use scissors or cutter and cut into squares. Now, ask the toddler to try putting these pieces in to complete the picture. Further, you can also assign a time interval to finish the task. This activity keeps the child busy in re-arranging the picture. This might be an old idea, but it surely is an effective and helpful method to develop reasoning and critical thinking abilities.
4. Deck Cues
Analytical skills can be ameliorated when the kids are offered a chance to brainstorm. Games like cards and identification can result in the same. Before you start, procure a few cards and draw a few clues on them. Now, show these cards one by one to the little one and then ask them to realize what these cues show. The toddler can then search for it to finish the task. Say, the cues dictate towards a football, the learner needs to find it in the room and submit it to finish the task.
5. Let Them Be A Little Hypothesize
While telling a story, stop somewhere in between and ask the kid what they think is going to happen next in the story? How would this story end? This activity makes the child think and reply. Have some patience and let them take time to think of a possible reply by using their critical thinking abilities.
More than analytical thinking skills, this activity would also stimulate their minds to think of a creative way. Also, after the story has finished, you can ask the child if they can think of any other way the story could have ended; your child might have a whole bunch of fun replies to this one!
6. Obstacle Games
Being a well-liked game for both parents and students, it can amplify critical thinking and analytical skills. The teacher/parents can use objects in the room like chairs, sofas, and tables to create obstacles. The kid needs to determine the way to cross them one by one to complete the game. Each stumbling block in the game obligates the student to think of ways to cross them.
A typical obstacle game would require the child to walk on, slide in, hop on and jump on it. There are endless possibilities to explore to enhance their critical thinking abilities and overall growth in a play-way method.
7. How High Can You Stack The Blocks?
Did you know that a simple activity like stacking toys can do wonders in brain-boosting? Nesting or stacking toys helps a kid build fine motor skills, spatial and visual perception, balancing, and math skills.
Building blocks or stacking the toys looks so simple, but it’s actually beneficial for the overall development of kids. Try to keep the conversation on: ‘ What will go next?’ or ‘Does that fit into that block?’ and keep asking them while the kid is trying to stack up the toys.
8. Peel it off
Tape removal is a brain-boosting and sharpening activity. All it takes is masking tape and a flat surface. This game is easy to set up. The instructor needs to arrange for different tapes, say at least of 3 different colors. Now, they need to stick long pieces of these, one above another in random patterns so that one overlaps the other. Now the kid is asked to peel off all the tapes without affecting others.
The game stipulates the kid to determine which tape needs to be removed first comprehending the layers, which makes this activity brain-boosting. Further, enhances critical thinking ability and concentration. Kids love to touch, feel, scratch, and pull the tape.
9. Recall it
Memory games help in improving critical thinking ability in a fun and interesting way. Memory games also help in enhancing concentration, cognitive, and focused development. Arrange a set of say 5 items like pencil, scale, tape, and pen in a row and ask the little one to look at it for a while. Now, remove these patterns and the little one recalls the pattern that they memorized.
Not only this, there is a wide variety of memory games available that you can play with kids at home or school—a matching activity for kids by increasing or decreasing the difficulty level by changing the number of things.
10. How Many Can You Think Of?
This game enhances their critical thinking ability by challenging them to think of words that come under a theme.
Choose a theme, such as flowers, and put a timer on for a minute. Ask her to name different types of flowers, but without any repetition. Write down how many names they have told. Kids do feel happy when they beat their own score in another round of the same game.
11. Just One Word Game
Ask your kid what comes to their mind while they listen to a particular word. For example – who, or what comes immediately to their mind by listening to the word ‘Most powerful’?
When they are explaining why they think that person is so powerful and how he became so powerful, just listen to them carefully and try to analyze their critical thinking ability and thought process.
What to expect?
Most people tend to believe that the capability to analyze and retain information is set in stone once a child is born. The truth, however, is that analytical skills can be stimulated. By participating in certain mental and physical activities, it is very much possible to bring in the desired changes and enhance one’s analytical thinking skills. Let us see how:
1. Helping kids to explore and memorize:
Through activity-based learning, students get to experience the practical aspects of otherwise difficult concepts. This permits them to explore through personal exposure and helps them to memorize facts and figures much more effectively. In addition to memorizing, their retaining power also gets amplified.
2. Allowing students to experiment outside the school curriculum:
Children tend to believe that education is limited to their school syllabus. However, it is only when they are introduced to real-life learning activities that they get to experiment with their analytical thoughts. Pragmatic Learning techniques can allow them to discover beyond the scope of their syllabus.
3. Encouraging kids to question and express:
Activities help kids out to express their thoughts and knowledge in creative ways and encourage them to put up questions. This lays the foundation for strong monitoring and questioning skills. Instead of mugging up the textbooks, kids get to participate in meaningful learning actively. Their curiosity gets multiplied when they engage in such learning experiences.
Inculcating the skill: Here is how
Analytical Thinking for kids is not some random idea but a life skill to begin with. Through these skills, kids are able to think “out of the box.”
It is beyond crucial for kids to develop a mindset that inculcates these skills in order to interlink ideas and make reasonable choices. But, how exactly? Let’s find out!
- Learning Through Blocks:
Colorful blocks work both as a source of recreation and learning for nursery kids. These help them to build logical skills and boost their imagination. As a child puts them together to form different designs, they use their creative thinking abilities to notice the formations. Thereby taking notes and analyzing the process. Also, the attractive colors of these blocks keep children engrossed. Without a doubt, blocks are a great way to trigger the little brains and get them thinking.
- Sorting Activities:
When a child uses his intellect to sort or classify animals/objects based on their characteristics, their neurons spark up! This goes on to make his reasoning game much stronger. Sorting activities can potentially encourage children to learn to apply their senses. They are able to distinguish traits and acknowledge the reasons behind them. In short, a child gets a deeper insight into understanding the differences and similarities between those objects/animals. Thus, allowing him to comprehend more efficiently.
- Riddles & Brain Teasers:
Kids love to learn through entertaining activities, and what would be better than riddles for that matter? Riddles are amusing yet tricky brain twisters that are fun to crack. Children get tempted to resolve the mystery as soon as they are subjected to them. It’s like a secret tactic to make them analyze better without even letting them know. You can also play guessing games and brainteasers together so that they form their own strategies and interpret things better.
- Cause & Effect
Being able to think critically and establish a relationship between cause and effect is a very significant way to induce analytical skills within a kid’s mind. When a child encounters a situation and detects which action has led to a certain result, they get to explore and navigate the event in depth. This makes way for him to have a closer look into the context and connect the responses to the stimuli. Understanding the correspondence between causes and effects is essential for younger children to keep their brains active and healthy.
Playing brain-boosting games can help your child to enhance their critical thinking abilities without really knowing that they are learning while playing. Playing these enticing and engaging and fun games and activities is helpful to enhance critical thinking ability.
Your child is learning something while having fun. Kids can have great thinking abilities, and they can bring out-of-the-box ideas that we can’t even imagine. We need to listen to them carefully and in a more open way. Kids are most expressive, and we should not limit them in any way.
These simple fun games and activities will hopefully nurture the critical thinking ability in kids.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,