Critical Thinking: Ask Open-Ended Questions

“Asking questions that don’t have one right answer encourages children to respond creatively without being afraid of giving the wrong answer.”

– Scholastic Website

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Stomping Around Town


R was 16 months old at the time of this activity


In My Neighborhood by Mari C. Schuh – In my neighbourhood is an informative book about different places you will find in a neighbourhood. It fit perfectly with our building activities for the day. I used this book during our Communities unit with my Kindergarten and Grade 1 students. It provides a lot of information about the people and places you may find around town.


1. Soft Block Zone

IMG_8277I made a neighbourhood in a large cardboard box using soft blocks and R’s toy vehicles.  Using black permanent marker, I drew on some roads and a railway line to encourage R to move the vehicles through them, but she did as she pleased!  Sometimes she’d topple the buildings down and other times she’d build them back up.  She enjoyed slamming the vehicles into the buildings and toppling them over, the most.

Extension Activities:
a. Put photos of different homes and buildings along the inside panels of the box to stimulate curiosity in building structures and shapes and to provide some inspiration for the child.  Offer the child the following open-ended question to spark critical thinking: How does a house look different from a store or building?  How can you show the difference?  Have the child use the soft blocks and any other materials s/he needs to make different structures in their town.
b. Encourage Writing.  Have the child label the different structures around town.  Encourage the child to write as many sounds as s/he hears.  The child may be able to write just the first letter (and that’s totally fine!) or more.

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