It’s fun to get the kids to think outsie the box, right?! I wanted to share two fun free printables that I compiled for my kids: Creative Thinking Questions and Math Riddles for Kids.
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?!!
As I started looking around, I read about something called Math Circles and saw collections of Math Circle problems. I was intrigued… just what was that? There’s a tradition in Russia of hosting math contests where students compete 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.
I started looking into some of books on Amazon and decided this “math circle” approach really might be a good fit for our homeschool. The math riddles I shared just a couple of days ago are examples of the types of questions that get kids thinking. I’ll share the answers to the brain-teasers I asked:
The questions from the other day were…
1) Three matchsticks are laid out like in the picture below. Moving just two matchsticks, make six.
2) 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:
The solution to the riddles above: Did you get the first solution for the first challenge (III)? My husband got it right away! And my 8 year old wondered if the solution was XI… That got my son thinking — and they figured out the answer (they said IV first, but when I told them that was 4 they quickly figured out VI is six).
For the fish puzzle, the picture on the left shows which match sticks to move, the picture on the right shows the final solution:
These are the types of questions you’ll find in Mathematical Circle Diaries. (This is an affiliate link.) This is one of several books I bought recently and the kids absolutely LOVE the questions and challenges in this book!! It’s quite challenging for both my 8 year old and 10 year old, but they BEG for more math time!!! I love that!
I also searched the internet for some math puzzles and we’ve worked through this set of problems as well. My kids really enjoyed these — and maybe you can challenge your kids to answer these over the Thanksgiving break!! The answers are available if you click on the picture below.
Download and print the free Math Riddles Page:
If you figured out the riddle above, then you’ll know why I’m linking to this free packet! 😉
If you like hands-on, engaging activities be sure to check out this packed post with dozens of hands-on activity ideas!
If you are a homeschooler, you might be interested in our Creating Your Homeschool Curriculum, Free Resource Guides. These might provide a starting point for those of you just starting your homeschool journey and may give you an idea or two if you’ve been at this homeschool thing for a while!
These are FREE 35+ page resource guides that I put together to help answer some basic questions:
- What subjects should I teach my 4th or 5th grader?(or kindergartner or 7th grader!)
- Where do I start?
- How do I know what to teach my kids?
- Free Curriculum Resource Guide for K-Grade 1 (ages 5-7)
- Free Curriculum Resource Guide for Grades 4-5 (ages 9-11)
- Free Curriculum Resource Guide for Grades 6-8 (ages 11-14)
If your kids like Engineering and STEM Challenges, be sure to check out this post!
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Happy Homeschooling! ~Liesl