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Critical Thinking Activities That'll Make You Scratch Your Head

Tulika Nair Nov 25, 2018
Why is it important to exercise your brain and what are the different critical thinking exercises that you can use? Here, we answer these questions.
What is critical thinking and why is it so stressed upon in the classroom and in life in general? A critical thinker is someone who approaches a problem rationally and makes an attempt to solve it after analyzing all its aspects thoroughly.
It's important to not be overcome by emotions, bias or prejudice but thinking rationally to make a decision that's considered after analyzing the entire situation. Though it may not be possible to apply critical thinking all the time, developing it ensures that a person is equipped to make intelligent decisions. Whether or not you apply it is your choice.

Exercises and Activities

Research and studies prove that children who have advanced critical thinking abilities tend to be open minded in their thinking process and look at the different avenues solve a problem, as they have a healthy belief in different value systems that can be used to solve a problem.
Due to this respect that they have for different beliefs, it enables them to look at different viewpoints and modify the existing position and reach a solution that is the best one. There are many activities and exercises that can be used to hone the ability in kids and adults alike.


Give your students an incomplete passage, or narrate an incomplete story, or you could even give then half a poem. Imaginative thinking can lead to many different endings to one story, from which they can pick the one they like best.
Force them to think out of the box to come up with solutions that can help the protagonists in the story deal with the problems that he is facing. One of the best exercises for children is to ask them to create analogies or parallels between objects and events or even people. This can be a great way of honing their thinking abilities.
If you are looking for activities for college students, then critiquing works of literature or art can be a great way of challenging your brain to think differently and think of different aspects to one situation.

Playing Games

Some of the best games tend to be the games that most of us played as kids, like Monopoly, Life, Scotland Yard, and if you had a knack for it, then chess.
Most of these games have a healthy need to think strategically, and come up with solutions for the problems at hand, or just keeping track of the moves on the board. Alternatively another way is playing online games that have creative thinking as its basis.

Brain Teasers and Optical Illusions

Solving puzzles and spending your time on figuring out different optical illusions can be one of the best activities that you can indulge in.
Exercises like pattern recognition, contrast and comparison and classifications are a great way of forcing your brain to work beyond the obvious. Other puzzles that work effectively are word problems or mathematical puzzles.
Building different models or robots has often been observed to enhance critical thinking in children.
Research has shown that our critical thinking abilities are at their best when we are toddlers, and when we use our imagination to come up with the most innovative solutions to the simplest of problems. As we grow older, our ability to think creatively is hampered.