Boost Kids’ Critical Thinking Skills


Good grades don’t matter much if kids aren’t developing higher-level thinking—whether the subject is homework or their faith. Educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom developed this hierarchy of critical thinking skills; use the concepts to help your kids boost their higher-level thinking.

  •  Knowledge is recalling facts or memorizing. Ask basic recall questions to check kids’ understanding of simple concepts and ideas.
  • Comprehension is summarizing and interpreting. Follow-up questions (“Why?”; “What does this mean?”) increase understanding.
  • Application is putting knowledge to use in new situations. Ask kids how they’ll utilize what they know in daily life.
  • Analysis is breaking information and concepts into parts, boosting problem-solving. Help kids evaluate situations using what they know.
  • Synthesis is generalizing, relating, and comparing ideas to form new viewpoints. Ask kids how what they know changes how they think.
  • Evaluation is judging the value of ideas, procedures, and methods. Ask kids to assess the worth of ideas and concepts they’ve learned.

Children’s ministry director Jill Williams created the Christian Truths Survey to discover how kids learn biblical concepts. She found a big difference in how kids age 10 and up understand the more abstract details of faith compared with kids age 9 and under.
• 83% of kids age 10 and 11 understand faith concepts, while only 70% of  kids age 8 and 9 have the same understanding.
• 74% of 12-year-olds understand the Trinity, while only 64% of younger children do. Even so, most kids accurately use terminology, even if they don’t quite grasp meanings.   (Children’s Ministry Magazine)

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