6 Thinking Skills Christian Kids Need

As the secular world’s views take permanent hold on every aspect of our culture, it’s more important than ever your kids become critical thinkers. Not to try and rewrite the Bible so God allows them to do whatever they want, but so they can see through the arguments that are meant to encourage them to reject God.

We have had several recent posts about critical thinking skills, but there are some underlying cognitive or thinking skills that will help your kids on their Christian walk. You can do a lot of things at home that will help them sharpen these skills, while also teaching them how these gifts from God can help them stay close to God if they use them well.

  • Comprehension. Do your kids really understand what they are being taught at church and home about the Bible and what God wants from them and for them? Be careful. Just because your kids can quote a neatly turned phrase, doesn’t mean they really understand what it means, why it’s important to God or how to apply it to their lives.
  • Analysis. Can your kids analyze a doctrine, argument, philosophy and their own lives and compare them to God’s standard? Or are they comparing things to some other, less reliable or godly standard?
  • Creation. Can your kids take what they read in the Bible and create a life that is pleasing to God? Can they create a personal ministry that serves others and teaches them about God? Can they eventually create a family of their own that will be the Christian family God wants?
  • Creativity. Can they take the commands and principles in the Bible and apply them in situations that aren’t an exact match for what is in the Bible? In other words, can they take the commands and principles from a story like the Good Samaritan and apply them appropriately to a situation that doesn’t involve a man robbed and beaten, but in which god would expect the same commands and principles to be obeyed?
  • Communication. Can your kids clearly communicate what they believe to others? Can they communicate the Gospel message in a compelling way? Can they explain how God makes a difference in their lives? Can they explain what God wants from them and for them so others understand the importance of obedience?

Helping your kids work on these thinking skills can better prepare them for critical thinking, living the Christian life and sharing their faith. They’re part of the strong faith foundation your kids need to remain faithful to God in this secular world.

Fun Kid Craft For Giving Anxieties to God

We live in anxious times and the anxiety level of the average child has raised exponentially from previous generations. When kids aren’t taught healthy, godly ways of managing their anxiety, they can become susceptible to all sorts of unhealthy, dangerous and ungodly ways to cope.

Children raised in Christian homes, may have been taught to turn their anxieties over to God, but not really understand how to do it. There’s an easy craft project you can do with your kids that can not only help them understand the concept, but also encourage them to practice it.

Grab a Bible and tell your kids about some of the times in the life of David when he may have been anxious. You can find some great examples in 1 Samuel 21 – 24. Explain that when David was anxious we know one of the things he did was talk to God. We know this, because he wrote some of his prayers down in the book of Psalms. (You may want to read Psalms 23, 27, 34, 61, 91 or others to them.)

For older children, it’s important to point out that God didn’t always take away the stress from David’s life immediately. When God left the stressful situation in David’s life for a time, David had to trust that God would help him get through the situation. David learned to lean on God by turning his anxieties over to him, even if they continued to exist for long periods of time.

Explain to your kids that sometimes when we are anxious, we forget to pray to God about it. Instead we spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about the things that are making us anxious. Suddenly, we can’t sleep or maybe we start feeling ill from the stress.

A great way to remember to pray about the things making them anxious – and to let God handle them for them – is to have a visual cue to remind them. Grab empty tins for mints or other small containers. Have your kids each decorate one. If the containers are large enough, they may want to write their favorite verse from the Psalms you read on them.

Inside the container put lots of slips of blank paper and a pencil (golf pencils work well for smaller containers). Tell your kids whenever they worry, they should write what is worrying them on a slip of paper. Then they should pray about what they wrote. When they are finished, they can close the slip of paper in the container or dramatically destroy it to remind them they have given it to God to take care of for them.

After completing the project, make sure your kids place their containers somewhere in their room where they will be easily seen. When they seem anxious, remind them to write it down, pray about it and let God handle it. Helping them establish good prayer habits can also help them manage their anxiety levels.

Do Your Kids Need Christian Apologetics?

Christian apologetics isn’t what it may sound like. It’s not apologizing for being a Christian or for Christian beliefs. Rather it provides the answers to the questions and challenges to Christianity in the world.

It’s part Bible knowledge, part critical thinking skills and part good communication skills. Done well, it relies primarily on scripture while pointing out the logical fallacies and error in the question or challenge.

Because apologetics is based on truth, most great apologists are kind and loving as they present their case. Since God’s Truth is on their side, there is no need for the emotional ugliness that is often a part of debates. While great apologists hope those listening are persuaded, primarily because of the eternal consequences of rejecting God, they are usually passionate about the truth while still being considerate and respectful towards those with whom they disagree.

This doesn’t mean that apologists are perfect. Some may still have been swayed by inaccurate theological arguments from time to time. Most of them seem to avoid topics, however, that can divide Christians and focus on the basics of Christianity upon which most Christians would believe.

Apologetic materials are much easier to find than in the past. Many have materials designed for kids and teens, as well as adults. You can find some information free online. There are videos on Right Now Media, to which many churches will give families free access codes. There are also plenty of books which you can purchase from almost anyone who sells books.

Some apologists are so well known, you may be familiar with their work. Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharius, J Warner Wallace and Sean McDowell are probably the best known. While I haven’t read everything each of these men has written, the things I have read were well done and biblical. As with anything though, it’s best to read any books or watch the videos before sharing them with your kids.

There are also highly focused groups that are part apologetics and part science. Answers in Genesis has some great scientific materials that are strong in both apologetics and science. Lee Strobel also has a book, Case for the Creator, which is filled with more scientific information than your kids probably care to digest.

Apologetics used to be somewhat optional. With even some ministers and churches questioning what have always been considered main tenets of Christianity, it’s important your kids thoroughly understand what they believe and why they believe it. Not only will it strengthen their personal faith foundations, but it will also make it easier for them to share their faith effectively.

Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids to Separate Facts From Opinions

One of the challenges Christians face is that the world is full of opinions. The Bible is filled with Truth or facts. The difficulty comes in recognizing the difference between a person’s opinion and someone who is relaying an actual fact or one of God’s factual truths from the Bible.

In our world today, people often state their opinions as if they are indeed proven facts. Even school textbooks often contain opinions masked as facts. Others purposely present lies as truthful facts. The lines between fact and opinion can quickly become almost totally obscured. No wonder even Christians are often confused about whether something is someone’s opinion or an actual fact.

Differentiating facts from opinions is a critical Christian life skill your children must learn. Otherwise, they will be easily swayed by arguments fueled only by opinion masquerading as facts. This can cause them to believe all sorts of lies and false teachings – accidental or intentional.

There are some fun things you can do with your kids to help them learn to differentiate between opinions and facts. Here are some of our favorites.

  • What’s the news? Grab a newspaper. Have your kids choose an article that interests them. Can they highlight the facts in one color and opinions in another? Remind them that facts must be backed up by evidence while opinions may or may not have any evidence supporting them. Older children may also want to look at an editorial and then compare the results to a news article. Which piece has more opinions?
  • But the book says… Have your child grab a social studies, economics, history or government textbook. Encourage them to analyze a chapter of the book. Can they find examples of the author’s opinion? Does the author write his or her opinion as if it were fact? If your child finds what he or she believes is a fact in the text, is there actually evidence to support the supposed fact? Can the evidence be trusted or is the author merely quoting someone else’s opinion as proof of their supposed fact?
  • What did the preacher say? Have your child jot down every statement the preacher makes that they believe is a fact. Afterwards, have them look through the Bible to see if those “facts” are accurate. Or have them write down the statements the preacher made that they believe are the speaker’s opinion. Can they find scriptures to support or refute that opinion?
  • Mother may I? The next time your child wants to present an argument to convince you to change your mind on a topic, have them present it as a lawyer might in court. Only the ground rules for their case is that they can only present facts, no opinions. Can they provide enough facts to make a strong case?
  • Should it be a law? Politicians are masters at making opinions look like facts. Have your kids analyze political ads, speeches or legislative debates. Can they point out all of the “facts” that are actually opinions? To make it more challenging, have them analyze both political parties – especially the one your family generally supports.

Sometimes opinions are accurate. They are based on evidence, facts and truth. If the person stating the opinion does not give your kids that supporting information, they need to learn to investigate themselves. This is especially important when it concerns matters regarding their spiritual lives. Giving them guided practice differentiating between opinions and facts can help protect them from being deceived by someone’s opinion.

Fun Bible Activity with Rocks

Ever wonder why the Bible is filled with so many stories? Or why Jesus told parables? It’s because stories are easier to remember than lectureS or listS of facts. God also embedded His commands and principles within all of those Bible stories.

When your kids know and understand a Bible story, it can help them remember important commands and principles God wants them to use. It can make it easier for them to share their faith with others. It’s important to help your kids remember key Bible stories that will prove helpful to them for the rest of their lives.

Take your kids outside and help them find pale, flat stones. You can also purchase them at many craft stores if you prefer. Make sure each child has at least five or six of these stones. Give them permanent markers. (You can also use paint, but markers allow for more detail.)

Tell your kids a Bible story or let them choose one and read it for themselves. What five symbols can they use to help them remember how to retell the story accurately? Each stone should have one symbol.

The symbol can be a person or an object. So if I were doing the story of Esther, I might have a stone for each of the people and one for the scepter and another for the dinner.

After they have decorated the stones, have them practice retelling the story using the stones as reminders and illustrations. You can do this activity multiple times and donate the completed story stones to others with a printed copy of the story in the bag of decorated rocks.

Whether or not you create story stones with your kids, taking the time to help them learn, remember and use Bible stories is an important part of helping your kids build strong spiritual foundations.