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6 Useful ways to encourage critical thinking in children

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Cerith Gardiner - published on 02/19/24

Help your children develop the skill of discernment while learning more about their faith.

In today’s fast-paced world, critical thinking skills are more important than ever for children to navigate through the complexities of life with wisdom and discernment. And for Catholics, it is particularly important to nurture these skills in children so they can develop a deeper understanding of their faith and the world around them.

Critical thinking empowers children to question, analyze, and evaluate information, guiding them in making informed decisions aligned with their values and beliefs. Here are six fun ways to encourage critical thinking in children while allowing them to learn more about their faith.

Bible puzzle challenges

Engage children in solving Bible puzzle challenges that require critical thinking skills. You could create crossword puzzles, word searches, or riddles based on biblical stories or teachings. Encourage children to analyze the clues and think critically about the answers, fostering a deeper understanding of scripture while sharpening their problem-solving abilities.

Saintly role-playing games

Organize role-playing games where children take on the roles of different saints or biblical characters. Try getting them to think critically about how these figures faced challenges and made decisions in alignment with their faith. Additionally, prompt children to reflect on the virtues and values exhibited by these saints, inspiring them to apply similar principles in their own lives.

Faith-based discussion club

Establish a faith-based discussion club where children engage in a dialogue around topics related to Catholic teachings and current events. Get them to research, analyze, and present evidence to support their assertions, fostering critical thinking and communication skills. Emphasize the importance of respectful dialogue, especially listening to opposing viewpoints, reflecting the Catholic values of intellectual humility and charity.

Parable puzzlers

Introduce children to the parables of Jesus through interactive puzzle activities. You could create scenarios or dilemmas inspired by parables and challenge children to think critically about the underlying moral lessons. Then encourage them to consider different perspectives and brainstorm creative solutions, fostering empathy and ethical reasoning rooted in Catholic teachings.

Sacred art interpretation

Explore sacred art with children and inspire them to reflect on its symbolism and meaning. Visit churches or museums with religious artwork and guide children in analyzing the colors, symbols, and figures depicted. Finally, encourage them to interpret the artwork from different perspectives, sparking meaningful discussions about faith, culture, and history.

Gospel journaling

Try getting children to keep a journal where they reflect on passages from the Gospels and apply critical thinking skills to their interpretations. Provide prompts or questions to guide their reflections, encouraging them to analyze the deeper meanings behind the teachings of Jesus. And have your children connect these insights to their own lives, fostering a deeper understanding of their faith and personal growth.

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