Critical Thinking Activities – Analogies, Logic & More

With our yearly testing behind us, we are going to spend some time on another side of math — analogies, logical reasoning, and math puzzles. These help kids develop logical thinking, analytical abilities, and mathematical reasoning. I thought I’d share some of the resources we use in our homeschool.

My kids were SO, SO excited to get back to these activities!!  With life as busy as it has been, I can’t believe how long it’s been since we added critical thinking activities into our homeschool day. 🙂

Last year we started the semester with Math Circles. The kids would BEG to continue with these activities. 🙂

By far our favorite resource is Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1: Complete Curriculum for Grades 5 to 7  (affiliate link) This is a complete curriculum for Grades 5 to 7. (We started using it slowly when DD was in Grade 4.) The kids and I *highly* recommend this book!!

MathCirclesWe’ve gone through the first few chapters & the kids just loved these problems. We’re continuing on where we left off last year. The best way for you to judge if it’s a good match for your family it to give you an example, right? So here’s a sample problem:

The day after Halloween, Tim and Alex were admitted to the hospital with stomach cramps.  Their mother told the emergency room doctor that she had found 141 empty candy wrappers in the boys’ room.

The hospital policy is to apply a stomach pump to anyone who ate more than 65 candies. Tim claims that he does not need the procedure since he ate 7 less pieces of candy than Alex. Is he going to get his stomach pumped? How about Alex?

The kids have also been working through some logic problems. They’ve enjoyed those too. I’ve been using some Mind Bender logic puzzles I have from the Critical Thinking Co. You’ll find Mind Benders Level 3 (Grades 3-6) (affiliate link), which is a good level for kids to get the hang of it.

Mind-Benders-3I also really like Logic Safari. (affiliate link) We have the one for Grades 2 and 3 because I bought this a few years ago, but they also have high levels including one for Logic Safari, Level 3: Grades 5-6. (affiliate link)


DSC02306I’ve also been having the (older) kids do some Analogies. (affiliate link)  This is working well for them at the moment:

AnalogiesMeanwhile, ED has been flying through Dr. Doo Riddles.  She loves it (it’s a bit on the easy side for her, she’s in Gr.2), but she has enjoyed this book. Dr. DooRiddles A3, Grade 2-3 looks like a better match for her (though I suppose there’s something satisfying about being able to do something easily, right?!

DrDooRiddlesI also printed out a number of Sudoku puzzles.  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!). He has hundreds of puzzles and asks for a donation if you use his materials.

The kids started with the 4×4 puzzles, but now can work through the 8×8 puzzles. What I love about this site is that he has dozens of packets… which progress from lots of hints to ones with a minimum of numbers.

Sudoku-Puzzles-for-KidsA couple of years ago, I also searched the internet for some math puzzles.  My kids really enjoyed these. The answers are available in this free pdf. :)

Math Riddles

MathRiddlesSo that’s about it for today!  The kids really enjoy these critical thinking activities — and I love that they challenge them to think creatively. I hope you found something useful here today.  🙂 Oh–and if you have a resource you like using, I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Happy Homeschooling! See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page.  Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. ~Liesl

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.

We also really love games and some are really great for developing strategy and reasoning skills. Some of the games that really require kids to think and plan ahead include Telepathy Game of Strategy and ReasoningQ-bitz, Acuity and Quoridor. (affiliate links)  You can find out more about our favorite games here: 15 Family Favorite Board Games

Telepathy AcuityQuoridor

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