One of the things that I love most about my kids is their unending curiosity about things.  From the details of a sunflower to the expanses of the ocean, they have questions about everything.  

How to Encourage Higher Level Thinking in Children - Kids Activities Blog
Isn’t it funny how you can SEE some kids think “out loud”…I love that!

I’d like to think that all of that questioning came to them naturally, and while most does, it is important that we work on that curiosity to encourage higher level thinking. While, yes, kids are curious, cultivating curiosity in our children has been a top priority, because we want them to grow and learn about the things that interest them.

Here are some of the things that we’ve done that I think have paid off pretty well.

How to Encourage Higher Level Thinking in Kids

1. Try New Things

We’ve always been open to exposing our kids to new experiences, but in a lot of ways, we do it purposefully.

When I mentioned that to a friend, she started to lament that they couldn’t afford to do expensive trips and take the kids to a faraway places. That’s not what we’re about either, so I get it.

By try new things, we mean experimenting with the way the lemonade is made, wading through the creek to see what we can find hiding under rocks, and going for a walk in the woods after it rains.

Those are the things that cultivate their curiosity about science and the world around them.

~How many lemons does it take to make a strong lemonade?
~Did you see how the water droplets on the leaves look like tiny rainbows?
~Where does this tiny stream start and end?

Those are the questions that make them curious and get them learning about things that they might otherwise take for granted.

Try New Things with Kids to Encourage Thinking Situations - Kids Activities Blog
Do you have to talk your kids into trying something new?

2. Ask Questions

Have you ever played the game 20 Questions? If so, you know that you can find out a lot about a person by playing.

We turn 20 Questions into a game about things we’re interested in too.

For example, if we’re visiting a local museum, we might start asking about an artifact that interests us. Those questions always lead to more research – either at the museum by asking a guide, or by doing research when we get home.

It used to be just my husband and I who would pose questions about things, but the kids now come up with their own and have discussions about what they think or know about history.

It’s a great learning experience for them all.

Ask them questions to encourage thinking - Kids Activities Blog
Start asking them WHY!

3. Let Them Be Bored

It seems like one of the hardest things for parents to do these days is to let their kids be bored. In our house, boredom leads to imagination and curiosity.

In fact, the kids know that we’re not their entertainment directors and that, if they’re bored, they need to come up with activities that will keep them busy.

A lot of times, those activities are experiments or trying new things. Whether it’s learning how their bikes work, because they want to clean them up or counting the number of different birds that come to the bird feeder, they’ve learned that there’s fun in learning new things.

Let them be bored to encourage thinking - Kids Activities Blog
Mom, I am bored can be answered with “good”!

If you’re worried that your kids aren’t curious enough about the things around them, don’t be. Once they start being curious about the world around them, kids quickly catch on that there’s a lot they can learn about. Model curiosity for them, learn about new things together, and above all, have fun doing it!  

4. Get Creative

Creative kids are thinking kids. It might not be intuitive, but creativity is a series of solving obstacles in the most beautiful way! Doing arts and crafts with kids that are more open-ended can be a lot of fun and a way to inspired their creative thoughts. Opt for less structured projects to allow their mind to wander where it is unexpected.

Favorite Art Projects for Kids

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