Critical thinking for toddlers. Determining functions of objects. Part 1

These activities as simple as they are, prove to be fun for toddlers. They can be done anywhere, any time and you can plan for them to be as simple or as challenging as needed.

Perhaps you can start with simple and obvious answers and discover some unexpected and sophisticated ones along the way. Just remember, whatever you do, encourage your child to think outside of the box, to ask questions and search for answers and theories. Don’t be in a hurry to answer all his questions, encourage him to think and propose theories, and don’t dismiss those theories as silly or childish, remember, there is a bit of truth in each of them you just need to see it. Imagine, discover and have fun together.

1. Name an object. Children supposed to name what can be done to, by or trough this object.

For example:

Car. it can drive, stop, speed, back up, it can get dirty, it can break, it can be fixed, it can be tanked, it can get hot, it can be bought or sold, it can get stolen, it can be loaded, it can be rented, it can smell like gazoline, it can be sat in

Ball.  It can roll, bounce. it can be played with, it can deflate, it can get lost, it can float, it can be given as a gift, it can lay under the bench, it can break the window, etc

(Variation of the activity — “I spy” game naming the qualities/functions for others to guess the objects)

2. Put that object into imagined story.

Vacuum cleaner. Lets imagine that Hermie the caterpillar (my kids favorite character from Hermie and his friend stories, but you can use any chracter or story your kids are familiar with) found a miniature vacuum cleaner in the garden, that was exactly his size, what do you think he would do with it? And then let kids imagination run wild, let them create a story! Even a silly story, an idea is to think outside of the box and encourage creativity.

3. Interconnections in our world.

Traffic light. What can it do? It directs traffic. It can stop the cars and allow pedestrians the right of way and vice versa. It can break…

What would happen if it breaks?  There can be an accident. It would need to be fixed. Cars would be standing and waiting,  the light would be red for a long time (what would happen then?) etc…

4. Nature.

Flower. What can it do? What can happen to it? It can grow, drink water, blossom, open and close, it can be moved by the breeze, it can wither, it can have nice smell or it can smell bad, it can pock you, it can be picked, it can be dried, I can draw a flower, it can be planted. It grows from a seed.

Ice. Ice is cold, sparkly, it can break.It can freeze the river and make it solid. What can ice do? It can make water cold, it can melt. What can you do with ice?  I can ice-scate, we can make ice sculptures. Ice keeps everything cold in the freezer.

5. Musical Perception.

Sound. What can sound do? It can get loud, louder, it can get quiet, quiter… It can make echo. It can make melody.

Song. What can song do? It can make you happy, it can make you sad. It can cheer one up. It can help you to remember things.Poem can be made into a song. You can sing a song and you can listen to a song. We can record the song.

Notes. What can notes do? We can play them on an instrument. Notes make up a melody. We can read notes. We can write notes. We can guess notes. We can sing any melody or song in solfege. Notes can be low and notes can be high. Notes can be wrong. When they are wrong? When they do not fit in the melody.

6. Art.

Paint. What can it do? It can leave the trace on a paper.It can be light or dark. It can be part of a set. We can use it to draw a picture or paint something. It splashes. It colors the water. When you mix paints it changes color. We can run out of paint. Paint can dry out.

What can artist do? Draw, paint, color. He can get messy with the pain, he can sharpen pencils. Artist can express what he sees on the paper.

7. Math

What can number 3 do? It can show the number of objects. It can be a number of the sides in triangle. You can write number 3 or you can type it on computer. It can be written in different colors. It will always be more then two. It belongs to a number line. We can find it in other numbers like 30, 13 and 53.

Square. What can it do? We can find it hiding everywhere, look it is inside the window, table, chair. It can be a place on the page where we write an answer. It can turn around, but it always looks the same. It can be a house to triangles. It also can be a house to squares. It is a house to tangram! Each side of wooden blocks is a square, and we can make a big square from wooden blocks…