Playful Parenting: Bringing Play to Every Day

Playful Parenting: Bringing Play to Every Day

At Minnesota Children’s Museum, we believe in the power of play. Play is how children explore the world around them, navigate relationships, nurture curiosity and find joy. This post is part of a series showcasing seven powers of play: confidence, creative thinking, critical thinking, self-control, collaboration, communication and coordination.

Power of Play:

Critical Thinking

What it is

Critical thinking is a child’s ability to be curious and analytical, to evaluate different options, to make plans and to reflect.

What it looks like in action

Kids who think critically ask questions related to their task and about what happens around them. They test ideas and think about potential outcomes, making positive adjustments when things go wrong and drawing conclusions. When faced with options, they evaluate pros and cons. And because critical thinking supports kids’ ability to prioritize, they often make plans to meet short-term and long-term goals.

“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning” -Diane Ackerman, Author

Why it matters

Critical thinking is the skill that turns dreams into plans. Kids who think critically make decisions that support their goals and interests. They’re able to evaluate input and ideas from peers and media to determine credibility, risk and possible outcomes. Critical thinking also feeds kids’ curiosity and powers of observation. When kids think critically, the world becomes a fascinating and complex place worthy of their focus and attention.

How play helps

Play offers kids opportunities to be challenged in enjoyable ways, and often in partnership with peers. Critical thinking is developed as kids figure out what their challenge is and different ways to solve it. They learn through working with peers how to recognize credible ideas and push back on questionable ideas. They’re given time and space to be curious about the world around them and identify their interests and goals.

At home or on the go, caregivers can enhance children’s critical thinking by:

  • Thinking out loud about your own processes and goals.
  • Asking open-ended questions that spur conversations, such as “Why do you think that happened?” and “What do you want try next?”
  • Modeling curiosity and abandoning the idea that adults should know all the answers.
  • Guiding without taking over or revealing answers. Be a supportive sidekick!

Play prompts & activities to support confidence:

  • Primary colors experiment
  • DIY marble run
  • Ask questions that encourage critical thinking

Powers of Play

Powers of Play

Coordination

Power of Play: CoordinationAt Minnesota Children’s Museum, we believe in the power of play. Play is how children explore the world around them, navigate relationships, nurture curiosity and find joy. This post is part of a series showcasing seven powers of play:...

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Communication

Power of Play: CommunicationAt Minnesota Children’s Museum, we believe in the power of play. Play is how children explore the world around them, navigate relationships, nurture curiosity and find joy. This post is part of a series showcasing seven powers of play:...

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(Self) Control

At Minnesota Children’s Museum, we believe in the power of play. Play is how children explore the world around them, navigate relationships, nurture curiosity and find joy. This post is part of a series showcasing the seven powers of play: confidence, creative...

read more

Collaboration

At Minnesota Children’s Museum, we believe in the power of play. Play is how children explore the world around them, navigate relationships, nurture curiosity and find joy. This post is part of a series showcasing the seven powers of play: confidence, creative...

read more

Creative Thinking

At Minnesota Children’s Museum , we believe in the power of play. Play is how children explore the world around them, navigate relationships, nurture curiosity, and find joy. This post is part of a series showcasing seven powers of play: confidence, creative thinking,...

read more

Confidence

At Minnesota Children’s Museum, we believe in the power of play. Play is how children explore the world around them, navigate relationships, nurture curiosity, and find joy. This post is part of a series showcasing seven powers of play: confidence, creative thinking,...

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