Critical and creative thinking, like any other skill, must be exercised and challenged to grow. Children are increasingly spending more time in front of screens, while studies are telling us they need more time away from technology to develop their imaginations. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children between the ages of four and five have less than one hour of screen time per day while children six and older have consistent limits placed on their screen time.
When my children were young, my husband and I agreed to limit the time our children spent in front of screens and to encourage creativity, personal interaction, and critical thinking. We still allow monitored television and tablet games during the weekend, but our primary focus is teaching our children to tap into their own imaginations.
Television and the Internet offer so much uncensored content and information. How is your child assimilating and evaluating that information? In this digital age, it is important for children to learn how to screen out the distractions in their environment and critically analyze the world around them. Improving analytical and creative thinking through mental exercises develops the habits of imagining, experimenting, and questioning and builds internal tools within our children to evaluate the world around them.
Alternatives to screen time
- Games: Introduce new games and puzzles
- Reading: Encourage reading (find funny comics such as Calvin and Hobbes, Disney’s Donald Duck and Goofy, Scooby Doo, and Looney Toons.)
- Art: Set out blank paper and crayons…your kids’ creativity might surprise you
- Family night: Designate a family reading night (Little House on the Prairie and Indian in the Cupboard are classics).
- Activity Books: Evan-Moor’s Never-Bored Kid activity books foster creativity and higher-order thinking with puzzles, mazes, crafts, word games, art projects, and games. Skill Sharpeners: Critical Thinking activity books offer creative and fun activities that challenge your child to use higher-order thinking skills such as analyzing, inferring, solving, and creating.
- Get your free superhero activity here!
Education should not be left to the classroom alone. As parents, we are instructing our children every day in our conversations, interactions, and habits. How are you educating your children?
Education is not the learning of facts. It’s rather the training of the mind to think.
Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.