Logical thinking is a crucial ability, which allows us to successfully solve math problems, comprehend scientific facts and perform everyday activities. You can start developing logical thinking skills in a 3 year old child, however in order to achieve the best results, you will need to work with your child step by step, taking into consideration the predispositions and capabilities typical for children, who are the same age as your kid. Learn how to encourage critical thinking in children at different stages of development.
Children at age 3-4
The roots of critical thinking can be traced back to the early stage of development, when children do not use numbers (or more precisely – they fail to understand the connection between a number and represented quantity), but they use their own perception to compare objects. In a way, this is the perfect time to start developing logical thinking, because practicing simple math skills can help the child develop faster. The important thing is to allow your children to learn through trial and error. Children at this early stage will make many wrong judgments regarding the quantities of objects and “which is more”. But the more they practice, the more they learn that sometimes qualities, such as the size of objects, can affect their perception of quantity. To help preschoolers develop logical thinking use every occasion to classify and compare objects. Patiently explain the correct answer, when your child makes an erroneous judgment.
Children at age 5-6
At this stage children possess thinking skills necessary to make accurate comparisons and assessments. Kindergartners are able to keep important information in their minds and they can apply these facts to make a correct statement. Most importantly, 5-6 year old kids are able to understand abstract concepts and use them in practice. It is the perfect age for practicing logical skills. Encourage children to compare different groups of objects and introduce them to graphs and charts to compare pictorial representations of objects. Include games, which allow your children to make predictions about the future based on previous experience, for example simple strategy games. Make sure that your children understand causality and can discern between a cause and an effect in practical, everyday situations.
Children at age 7 and older
Elementary school children should be able to use logical thinking, see relations between cause and effect, make accurate predictions and operate on abstract concepts. To make the transition from abstract to concrete easier and to allow your children to understand and solve complex math problems, introduce your children to Singapore Math – math learning method, which is founded on a three-step process (concrete – pictorial – abstract) and allow children to better comprehend the rules of math. Encourage your children to play games, such as chess (great for developing logical thinking and strategizing) and Sudoku (working with numbers). Practice logical thinking in everyday situations and encourage children to look for possible solutions to occurring problems. Introduce your children to the rules of reasoning, such as: how to draw conclusions from premises or how to identify hidden premises.
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Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.