The Critical Thinking Co. {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of Creative Problem Solving through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

One of my most important jobs as a parent in the world today is to raise children who have the ability to think through problems and create positive solutions. The Critical Thinking Co. provides parents with materials that help children build thinking skills and increase their creative problem-solving abilities. The Creative Problem Solving workbook is a great place to start exploring these important skills with younger children.

The Creative Thinking Co. is a family run business with over 200 Award-winning educational books, eBooks, and apps that span a multitude of subjects and grade levels.

About Creative Problem Solving

We were sent the Creative Problem Solving- Level 1 workbook which is targeted for ages 4- grade 2. It is a 212 page softbound 8.5″ x 11″ consumable workbook with very nice quality interior paper that takes pens and markers well.

The book is divided into 9 chapters with two Super Challenges at the end.

The Chapters

  1. The Magic Pencil – use creative thinking to draw a way to fix a situation
  2. The Creature Factory – draw a creature with the best survival features to survive in a unique habitat on an imaginary planet
  3. Superheroes and Super Powers – choose special powers to help in an emergency
  4. Alien Designer – use creative thinking to draw a design to fit the very specific needs of an alien
  5. The Inventor – use creative thinking to find a solution to someone’s problem
  6. The Crisis Specialist – time is very short in emergencies, you must decide the order of steps to take to help in an emergency
  7. The Best Tool – choose the best tool to help in a situation
  8. The Enigma – use your imagination to discover the enigmas
  9. The Mind Ride – shut your eyes and imagine you are a character in a story

The Super Challenges

  1. 2-D and3-D Figures and Shading – have fun playing with 2-D and 3-D figures
  2. Play with Mechanisms – a mechanism is a system of parts that works together in a machine

The beginning lessons are introduced with just a sentence or two of instruction which allows students to take the information and apply their creative thinking skills to complete the lesson. The short lesson structure and simple, black and white illustrations leave lots of room for individual expression of creativity and ingenuity.

As the lessons progress, they get longer with more information and space to work out the challenges. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a sample lesson to give direction as to how to effectively finish the lessons. These are a great way for the parent-teacher to understand what they should be looking for as successful completion.

Our Experience

I chose to add these lessons to our Morning Folder of work that my son completes independently to warm up his brain before our learning time begins. This has worked very well so far, however, I think as we move further and further into the book that he will need my assistance to complete some of the more challenging lessons.

I really enjoy the layout of the lessons in this workbook. The simple sentences and black and white illustrations do not distract my busy boy, but let him focus on the problem he’s working to solve.

I also really enjoy that many times he is able to draw the solution rather than write it out in words. Writing is a difficult task for him and I often find that he struggles with creativity when he is forced to write. Giving him the choice to draw or orally solve the problems are great options for him.

The picture below illustrates this point well. You may just notice a stick figure and a line over the ant, but what you cannot see is the detail that was described to me about the superhero that saved the day and the metal and brick dome that was constructed over the ant to protect him and his family. It is really special to listen to how our children process problems and the creative solutions they can imagine.

His favorite lesson so far has been creating a toothbrush for an alien. He loved thinking through how the alien’s mouth differs from ours and what would be the best approach to brushing the teeth of an alien. I love listening to him work through problems and hearing how his creative brain works.

Overall, I am very happy with our experience with Creative Problem Solving and I look forward to trying out more products from The Critical Thinking Co.

Fun Links

The Creative Thinking Co. has a ton of great resources for parents. Some of my favorites are:

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