As seen from the above examples, critical thinking starts with asking questions . Too often, we focus on asking children questions, for them to look for the correct answers. Being able to ask questions is an important skill to learn. We should help children from a very young age to form the habit of asking questions. Start from asking any questions, and gradually progress to asking relevant questions which eventually leads to asking critical questions.
Below are 2 activities to encourage children to ask questions.
Activity 1 – What is the question to this answer?
Start by gathering a list of answers. You could write down these answers in small sheets of paper and fold them up, put them in a basket or box, and ask your child to draw out one at a time. This would turn the practice into a game that children enjoy playing.
You could use some of the ideas below to get started:
|The answer is 2.
||What is 1 + 1?
What is 102-100?
|I have a toothache.
||Why are you going to the dentist?
Why are you looking upset?
||What time is it?
What time do you have breakfast?
What time will Jane come?
|He found the bucket of gold under the tree!
||Where did he find the gold?
What did he find under the tree?
What happened to him?
|Tom wishes to go to the moon.
||Why is Tom studying the moon?
Why does Tom wish he could fly?
What is Tom’s biggest wish?
|Her name is Jane Doe.
||What is her name?
Who is that lady standing there?
Who is your teacher?
Don’t schedule a weekly practice session and be too serious about it. Do it casually, as a game, or as a pass time while you are in the waiting line or stuck in traffic. You could try to fit in 3 such A&Q each day, and play it anytime, anywhere.
Be creative and come up with lots of funny answers. Then encourage your child to ask you as many silly questions as they can think of. The goal is to let them be comfortable with asking various questions, and free up their mind.