I just created a new page with a couple of really fun free printables that challenge kids to think critically.
Creative Thinking Questions:
The first set includes some creative thinking questions I once compiled. I thought it would be fun to start off the day with something a little different for the kids… some off-the-wall creative thinking questions. The kids had fun with this and I know some other homeschooling families really enjoyed it too!
Hopefully, these questions will get your thinking and writing right off the bat!
Some of the questions on this sheet include:
- List as many words as you can that contain the word “ant.” Example: plant
- Start with the word brick. Think of a word that begins with the last letter in that word. Then, use the last letter of the next word to start a new word. For example, brick-king-goat… How many word can you come up with? Stop if you get to 15 words!
- List as many countries as you can that begin with the letter A.
- List different ways you could get from the grocery store back home, other than by car! Be creative!
If someone else would like to use this, just click on the link below. It is free to download.
Math Riddles for Kids
The next (free) printable is a set of Math Brain-Teasers. Let me explain why we added math brain teasers and challengest to our math time for a while. We really needed to make sure that math was relevant, engaging, challenging and even a bit fun!
As you probably know, the American students rank 25th in math among the 49 industrialized nations that were involved in the study. Here’s a question from the 4th grade test:
From: The Nation’s Report Card
This kind of question definitely goes beyond straight arithmetic, right?!!
The other printable has some fun Math Riddles.
Download and print the free Math Riddles Page:
Hope your kids enjoy these! 🙂 ~Liesl
Here are some other Critical Thinking Activities we’ve done:
A few days ago, I mentioned that we started back into homeschooling with Math Circles rather than jumping into our “normal” math curriculum. What are math circles? From what I understand, they started in Russia where they hosted math contests. Students competed to answer various word problems. The contest itself was designed to get students intrigued and excited about mathematics. There’s something similar here in the US called the Math Olympiad. But, in general it’s just a form of math enrichment with games, stories or hands-on activities.
At the time I started looking into it, math just wasn’t their favorite time of day. I wanted to change that. I bought several books and we started going through these. By far our favorite one is Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1: Complete Curriculum for Grades 5 to 7 (affiliate link)
We loved, loved the activities in this book and used it numerous times when the kids were in elementary. (For a time, we did these every Friday!)
The kids love the puzzles — like this one that I mentioned a couple of days ago:
Top: Moving just two match sticks, make six.
Bottom: 8 matchsticks are laid out to look like a fish swimming to the left. Moving just three matchsticks, make the fish swim to the right
They also have been working through logic word problems like on the island of knights and liars, knight always tell the truth and liars always lie… Then the book goes on to set up scenarios and ask who is the knight and who is the liar. The kids love these and BEG for more!
If you figured out the riddle above, then you’ll know why I’m linking to this free packet! 😉
We also add in other Critical Thinking activities. The past week the kids have done a Sudoku puzzle. We use the free sets from Krazy Dad. He has made hundreds and hundreds of Sudoku puzzles for kids in 4×4 squares, 6×6 squares and 8×8 squares and other sudoku puzzles (that are even harder!). For the 4×4 puzzles, you have to fill in the block so that each row, each column and each 2-by-2 block contain all of the digits 1 thru 4. He has easier versions (where more numbers are filled in) and harder versions (where he doesn’t offer as many numbers to start with). He asks for a donation.
This week we pulled out some of the critical thinking puzzles from the Critical Thinking Company’s book, Building Thinking Skills® Level 2. This thick book has both math puzzles and activities as well as various language and science activities.
Note: The books I mention here are affiliate links.
Another books we use fairly regularly is Primary Grade Challenge Math. DD has been going through that book with me. They also have one aimed for older kids, simply called Challenge Math For the Elementary and Middle School Student.
We also got this book when the kids were in elementary, Logic Safari (affiliate link).
We also got some Critical Thinking Card Games which has a selection of different kinds of activity card — think about it, riddles, fact or fiction, how can you tell? and other thought-provoking question cards.
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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.