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Exercises to Improve Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills:

Learning to think critically may be one of the most important skills that today’s children will need for the future.

Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making, includes critical thinking on her list of the seven essential life skills needed by every child.

Todays world is changing rapidly, children cant just repeat a list of facts! they now need to do much more, they need to be critical thinkers who can make sense of information, analyse, compare, contrast, make inferences, and generate higher order thinking skills.

There is no one strategy to support and teach your child how to think critically. As a parent, your role may sometimes be to ask open-ended questions to guide the thinking process. In other cases, it may be more appropriate to allow your child to experiment and refine her theories on what causes things to happen. Guiding your child’s critical thinking process can have a positive an impact on her problem solving skills.

Here are some tips and ideas to help children build a foundation for critical thinking:

  • Provide opportunities for play
  • Pause and wait
  • Don’t intervene immediately
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Help children develop hypotheses
  • Encourage critical thinking in new and different ways

Provide opportunities for play. Testing how things work informally is crucial to developing critical thinking. It is during play that children explore cause and effect. What happens if I drop a spoon over and over again off the side of a high chair tray or roll two marbles down a chute at the same time? How can I get the block to balance on the top of this tower? By providing indoor and outdoor space for playing, along with time for pretend play, you provide open-ended opportunities for your child to try something and see the reaction; and then to try something else and see if he can create a different reaction. These hands-on experiences provide an integral foundation for later abstract critical thinking.

Pause and wait. Offering your child ample time to think, attempt a task, or generate a response is critical, but not necessarily easy to do. Try counting (silently) to 60 while your child is thinking, before intervening or speaking. This gives your child a chance to reflect on her response and perhaps refine, rather than responding with her very first gut reaction.Don’t intervene immediately. Instead, try counting to 120, or even longer, and observe what your child is doing before stepping in. As challenging as it may be, avoid completing or doing the task for your child. For younger children, patiently readjusting and manoeuvring to grasp a toy on their own encourages continued problem solving and develops executive functioning skills. For older children, ask critical thinking questions and provide enough information so they don’t get frustrated, but not so much that you solve the problem for them.

Ask open-ended questions. Rather than automatically giving answers to the questions your child raises, help him think critically by asking questions in return: “What ideas do you have? What do you think is happening here?” Respect his responses whether you view them as correct or not. You could say, “That is interesting. Tell me why you think that.” Use phrases like “I am interested to hear your thinking about this.” “How would you solve this problem?” “Where do you think we might find more information to solve this problem?”

Help children develop hypotheses. Taking a moment to form hypotheses during play is a critical thinking exercise that helps develop skills. Try asking your child, “If we do this, what do you think will happen?” or “Let’s predict what we think will happen next.”

Encourage thinking in new and different ways.
 By allowing children to think differently, you’re helping them hone their creative problem solving skills. Ask questions like, “What other ideas could we try?” or encourage your child to generate options by saying, “Let’s think of all the possible solutions.”

Children learn from observing how you think. Taking time to allow your child to navigate problems is integral to developing your child’s critical thinking skills in the long run.

Are you interested in teaching your kids at home or at school about critical thinking and problem solving skills?

Why not start your own Little Professors branch?

Find out how here


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Our top 3 Halloween Experiments!

As we head into the spooky season of Halloween i thought i would share with you my top 3 experiments to do at home! 

First off on my list is the Witches Brew Potion! This is a classic and always amazes the kids! And the best part is you can do it at home in your kitchen or outside in the garden (if you have one) 

Witches Brew Potion:

Witches Potion

You will need:

  • Masson Jar
  • Vinegar – about 500ml
  • Baking Soda – 250 ml
  • Food Colouring
  • Dish Washing Liquid – a few squirts 
  • Glitter

A stick found outside or Witches Wand.. and any other fun scary items you can think to add *Plastic spiders, snakes, insects and Leaves from the garden work well! 

Start by adding in the vinegar, dish soap, food colouring, glitter and any other items you find. Next spoon in the baking soda and watch as the potion starts to bubble. You can add different colours of food colouring and more vinegar and baking soda to keep the potion bubbling! And you can even cast a spell and pour the potion into little bottles! (and then decorate the bottles) 

Spooky Slime:

Spooky Slime

You will need:

  • Tray(small)
  • 1 piece ice-cream stick/spoon
  • Clear glue (125ml)
  • Contact Solution (30ml)
  • Baking Soda (1/2 tbs)
  • Food Colouring – Green 
  • Glitter(silver, pink, purple, blue) any you have
  • Water 30 ml
  • Dropper if you have
  • Googly Eyes 

Bring out a big tray for each child to protect the table from the food colour stains. Each child needs 125ml of clear glue. Please pour 125ml clear glue to the plastic measurement cup and then pour to each child’s big plastic bowl. Keep doing the same for each child.

Add 1/2 Tablespoon baking soda to it and mix it well. The clear glue will turn opaque at this stage.

 Next add about a 2 Tbs(30ml) of water.

Mix the glue well. At this stage slime will be very sticky ,gooey and stringy. Don’t panic and just keep mixing.

Now drain the excess water from your slime bowl.

Next slowly add the contact lens solution to your slime by using the dropper. Two droppers first and then mix and wait. 70ml is the max for the amount of slime we make here. Drain the excess solution once your slime starts to form. It should be pretty soft and stringy.

Now keep kneading the slime. Notice its still pretty stringy. Keep kneading and it will get better. Add goggly eyes! 

and lastly

Flying Ghost Teabag

Flying Ghost

Please note you need an adults help with this experiment. 

You will need:

  • Tea Bag *one that has 2 parts
  • Black Pen
  • Metal Plate
  • Lighter 

Ask the children if they have ever seen a tea bag fly?

Tell them that we will be making a tea bag ghost that will fly into the sky?

Ask the children if they know how we will be able to make the tea bag fly?

Give each child a stainless steel plate(non-flammable), a tea bag, a black Koki as well as a pair of scissors.

Instruct the children to cut the top of the tea bag off – they can cut on the black line previously drawn to ensure that the cut is nice and straight.

Once the tea bag has been cut, they can empty the tea into the small containers placed between the children.

Next instruct the children to unfold and flatten the tea bag.

raw a ghost face on the tea bag using your black Koki.

Open the tea bag to make it look like a hollow cylindric form, and place it on a non-flammable surface – steel plate.


Ensure the flying tea bag is in a safe area.

It can fly rather high, so before lighting it, make sure it is in a room where the roof is rather high.

Next, using a lighter – the long nosed ones, let a child, one at a time, light their tea bag.

The fire will quickly burn down the ghost, and before it reaches the bottom of the bag, the ghost will lift off into the air.

We hope you enjoy and cant wait to hear all about it! Come on over and join our private facebook group!

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5 Top Tips for Teaching Steam!

  • The most important aspect to remember when teaching STEAM is that, it is all based on what the child sees is taking place – we can guide them with certain questions to encourage them to see what we would like them to see in the end, but initially it is all about what they see.
  • No matter what, it is ok if the first attempt is a flop – through this, they learn a very important lesson in life…never give up!
  • Questions, questions and more questions…Encourage the children to ask questions, this leads to further discovery and research, you do not need to be the only 1 asking questions.
  • Enjoyment is key to experiencing STEAM, there will be a little mess and that is what we want. STEAM is all about experiencing new discoveries, making use of all the senses, and having an immense amount of fun whilst learning.

JOIN OUR PRIVATE GROUP: How to start a Steam Science Club


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As we enter a new chapter in our lives, certain things become more daunting than others, this entails how we have to deal with the circumstances and what has been thrown at us in a very short time period.Where one could drop kids off at schools, extra-murals and so much more has now become taboo and we, the parents, find ourselves having to do it all.What seems impossible is made possible by a few very easy, helpful and significant tips.Today, as a teacher and a mother, I will discuss my 3 tips for teaching at home.

1. Set out a time

What we are all aware of is that children thrive under routine – stick to a basic time and day – this will help the children being taught to know, that this is their “schooling/ extra-mural” time – should something come up and no “schooling/extra-mural” takes place, then so be it, don’t beat yourself up about it, unfortunately, that is the way of life.

2. Make it fun

Remember, you, the parent has not signed up for this, children don’t necessarily want their parents as their teacher, therefore, make the learning experience fun. It doesn’t need to take place at a desk or without any noise, let it get messy, encourage them to help and tell you what they think is happening, or what is going to happen. Ask questions like; “What if we did it this way, what do you think will happen?’ ; “If we had to add this ingredient, do you think it would work?” etc.

3. Include the kids

Include the kids in everything, even something as silly as getting the necessary ingredients etc needed for the days activities. Let them find and recognise the labels, by doing this they start reading, let them measure out, or count the ingredients, by doing this they are learning maths. Mistakes are also okay, by doing this they will see that not everything is successful first time round, certain experiments and activities need more practise, just like almost everything in our daily lives.Lastly, parents, remember they are still children, learning to explore and figure things out for themselves. Through this we build a solid foundation and should always encourage exploration to happen, even if we, the parents, know that it won’t work, let the children figure it out for themselves, let them discover, let them have fun and make a mess!

I hope these guidelines have helped you as much as they have helped me.

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Crystal Candy Cane Experiment


  • Piece of string, about 6 inches (kite string works great)
  • A pencil or popsicle stick
  • A paper clip (or large plastic bead)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • A glass jar (mason jars works well)


  • Tie one end of the string to the middle of the popsicle stick or pencil.
  • Tie the other end around bead or paper clip.
  • Next, lay the popsicle stick or pencil across the top of a jar so that the string hangs down the middle of the jar. You want to make sure that it is not touching the bottom of the jar, but you do want it close. Also, make sure that it is not touching the sides of the jar either. If it hangs down too far, just roll the string around the pencil a few times to shorten the string. The string will act as a seed for the crystal. Now that the string and pencil are ready to remove them from the jar and set them aside.
  • This next part requires hot water so please get an adult’s help.
  • Pour the water into a pan and bring it to boil.
  • Add 1/4 cup of sugar to the boiling water, stir it until it dissolves.
  • Repeat this step until all of the sugar has been dissolved. This will take time and patience and it will take longer for the sugar to dissolve each time. Be sure you don’t give up too soon. You are making a “supersaturated solution!”
  • Have your adult helper carefully pour the hot sugar solution into the jar and fill it almost all of the way to the top. Go ahead and put your pencil or popsicle back n top and lower the bead or paperclip back inside of the jar, just like you practised before. Allow the jar to cool and put it someplace where it will not be disturbed.
  • Next comes the waiting part. Check on it every day to see the crystals start to grow, but be very careful not to disturb it. The longer you wait the bigger it will get. You can also place a coffee filter or paper towel over the jar so nothing falls in.

How it Works:

When you mixed the water and sugar you made a SUPER SATURATED SOLUTION. This means that the water could only hold sugar if both were very hot. As the water cools the sugar “comes out” of the solution back into sugar crystals on your string. The string and paper clip act as a “seed” that they start to grow on. With some luck and patience, you will have a tasty scientific treat! Enjoy!

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Lava Lamp Experiment


  • A clean plastic bottle, try to use one with smooth sides
  • water
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Fizzing tablets (such as Alka Seltzer)
  • Food Coloring


  • Fill the bottle up about 1/4th (1 quarter) with water.
  • Pour the vegetable oil in the bottle until is almost full. You may want to use a measuring cup with a spout or a funnel. You may have to wait a couple of minutes for the oil and water to separate.
  • Add a few drops of your favorite food coloring. Watch as the color sinks through the oil. Did your drops of color mix with the water immediately or float in between for a few minutes?
  • Break your fizzy tablet in half and drop part of it into the bottle. Get ready … here come the bubbly blobs!
  • You can even get a flashlight, turn off the lights and drop in another half tablet. This time shine the flashlight through the lava lamp while the blobs are bubbling!

How it Works:

The oil floats on top of the water because it is less dense or lighter than water. The food coloring has the same density as the water so it sink through the oil and mixes with the water. When you add the tablet it sinks to the bottom then starts to dissolve. As it dissolves it makes gas, carbon dioxide. Gas or air, is lighter than water so it floats to the top. The air bubbles bring some colored water with them to the top. When the air comes out of the colored water blob, the water gets heavy again and sinks. It does this over and over again until the tablet is completely dissolved.

Extra Experiments:

What happens if you put the cap on after dropping the fizzy tablet in?

What if you drop a whole tablet in?

When it stops bubbling, try sprinkling some salt into your lava lamp. What happens?

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Our Mission & The Team behind Little Professors:

Our mission at Little Professors is to make science & stem subjects fun and exciting for young children and help contribute to their understanding of how nature and the world around them works. Given children’s in-born curiosity and enthusiasm towards learning new things, we want to create an environment where they can have fun, experiment and learn facts, which can help them, understand our world!

The concept for Little Professors was developed by Jade in 2016. When looking for classes for her 3 year old son Grayson to attend Jade found a lack of educational extra murals offering the STEM curriculum.

Although she could find sports and creative classes she found nothing that would teach her son about the world around him and nurture skills valuable for him later in life. Thus Little Professors was created and developed to offer fun and exciting classes for kids focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

The subjects are taught in a fun, project-based way following a different theme each week, so that children can connect to science from an early age. Jades vision was to inspire kids to go away with enthusiasm about learning and wanting to know more about nature, the wonderful world and how things work.

Coming from a teaching background with over 10 years experience, Little Professors was a perfect fit for Sheron. Sheron had wanted to be able to spend more time with her 4 year old daughter, but at the same time not give up on doing what she loves and has a passion for, teaching. When Jade approached Sheron with the concept, she sprang at the idea, knowing that this concept is something that will benefit all children immensely, and what better way to learn real life happenings, but in a fun and exciting manner.