Two family games that teach critical thinking skills

Build speaking skills and critical thinking skills with these fun, play anywhere games. An engaging way to spend some family time together at home. Or why not try them on your daily walk?

Defend the indefensible

This is a popular, fun game that will help children develop their persuasive speaking skills and their confidence in speaking on the spot.

Write out a list of indefensible statements (get the kids to write some out too) and put them in a bowl). Players take it turns to pick one out of the hat and have one minute to try and defend the others of the truth of the statement.

  • Try to think of ridiculous or humourous statements such as:
  • Teachers should be paid in chocolate buttons
  • We should take baths in baked beans
  • The Teletubbies should take over as the Government of the UK
  • People with a P in their name should get free tickets to football matches
  • Yoghurt should be made illegal 
  • Watching the X Factor should be made compulsory for all citizens
  • Coming up with the topics is almost as much fun for the kids as defending them!

Argument Tennis

This is a great game to build up children’s critical thinking and listening skills and help them think up ideas on the spot. An adult can play against a child or children can play against each other. A standard singles match is for two players but doubles matches can be fun too if you have four people who would like to get involved.

Decide who is going to have the service (in this game that means you will agree with the statement) and who is returning (that means they will disagree with the statement). Announce the statement and the player who is serving will begin the game by saying a reason why they agree with the statement and then using an imaginary tennis racket to knock the argument over the imaginary net. To return, player B disagrees with the reason given or comes up with a reason why they do not support the statement and returns is over the net. To see this in action you can watch a video

Some possible topics include:

  • We should ban homework
  • Children under 12 should not have their own phone
  • We should ban animal testing
  • We should all become vegetarian 
  • Single-sex schools are better than mixed schools
  • Coursework is better than exams
  • Children should choose the head teacher of their school
  • All police officers should carry guns
  • We should ban single-use plastics
  • Video games should be on the school curriculum
  • Spiderman would beat Batman in a fight
  • It’s better to be a muggle than a wizard
  • Footballers are paid too much money 
  • Dogs are better than cats

For many more ideas check here or come up with your own based on the kids’ interests.

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