We don’t technically homeschool through the summer, but doing a little something pertaining to academics through the summer seems to cut down on the shock when September rolls around. This summer, two of my kids are working on finishing up their math books for the year. We got behind last year when we moved and never seemed to catch up. Some days though, doing an entire math lesson feels like I’m asking them to draw their own blood, so I’m happy to say that I have found the most painless and effective (and fast) resource for my kids to do each morning in the summertime–something that works their brain muscles really hard but at the same time just feels like they’re doing a bunch of fun puzzles–it’s Critical and Creative Thinking Activities.
What does “Critical Thinking” even mean?
This is a subject that’s hard to put into a specific category. It’s something that we often overlook but is so helpful for our kids. So many times, our kids know how to work out a math problem on a page of 30 of the same type of question. They can deduce which bubble to fill in or what answer they think you want to hear. But what we’re really looking for is our kids to be able to figure out which math rule or idea to use when common situations arise in everyday life!
Critical thinking gives our kids the tools to figure out these everyday answers.
It’s not just math, just word problems, or just puzzles–it’s a way to get your kids thinking critically!
Critical and Creative Thinking activity books
Timberdoodle asked me to review a couple of their workbooks called Critical and Creative Thinking by grade level for two of my kids–rising 5th and 3rd graders. I was happy to do this because we have already been using these amazing books for a long time now. This just gave me an excuse to write a post just for them!
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Each book is organized by grade level, grade one-six and up. Within each book, you’ll find categories like ice cream, turtles, pizza, or basketball to name a few. Within each category, there’s three or so pages of activities pertaining to that topic.
What you’ll find in each book
The common misconception is that critical thinking is just about math problems. It’s not. There’s so much more to incorporating critical thinking and I think these books do it so well. In each book you can expect to find:
- word problems
- math problems
- creative thinking
- and more!
What I love about Critical and Creative Thinking books
- They just take a few minutes to do each day. You can assign a page or two a day or a whole category
- They really force kids out of their comfort zones to think outside of the box
- The problems incorporate topics that we don’t seem to hit in any other subject
- The pages are not intimidating…they are short and to the point
- The workbook is all you need…no teacher’s guide or other materials
- Answer key is in the back if you and your child get stumped
I highly recommend this series. We are currently using the 3rd and 5th grade editions, but we have used many over the years and they are all wonderful. You can find each of these books in the 3rd grade curriculum kit and 5th grade curriculum kit from Timberdoodle.