At a recent youth retreat my 12-year-old nephew, Joey, was called up on stage along with four other preteens. Each participant had a box of tissues set in front of them. They were told, “at the word GO your challenge is to be the first person to remove all the tissues from the box. The winner will receive a large box of candy.”
At Go, four of the middle schoolers began to frantically remove the tissues from the box, one at a time. Joey, looking puzzled, watched his frenzied competitors for a moment, picked up his box, ripped off the top and pulled all the tissues out at once. Done!
When I asked him later how he came up with that idea he said, “It was the fastest way to get them out of the box.”
Critical thinking – being able to look at a problem, analyze it, and come up with a creative and effective solution – is one of the most important skills our children can learn. Critical and creative thinking skills help us make good decisions and solve problems. Those children with good critical thinking skills will be more successful as adults.
Joey saw the problem, thought outside the box, and emptied his box to receive his reward. So how do we raise kids who think like this? How do we raise kids who can look at a situation and come up with creative and alternative ways to address it?
Here are 3 easy ways you can encourage critical and creative problem solving in your own kids.