Logic encompasses reasoning and the way a person thinks about information or problem-solving. At a young age, children often make up their own rules based on how the see the world. Without stifling this creativity, we can start to guide children to develop logical thinking both in isolation and in the context of real-world examples. 

    Scouting Game

    5-10 different objects, something to cover the objects (towel, paper, etc.)

    1. Place objects on a surface and cover the objects.
    2. Remove the cover and let child look at objects for 5-10 seconds.
    3. Cover the objects again.  
    4. Ask child to name or describe the objects on the tray.
    5. Add more or different objects and try again.

    Make it more challenging:

    • Instead of asking child to name objects, secretly remove 1 or more objects and ask child what objects are missing.
    • Try the challenge above, but rearrange the objects before showing them again.

    How Many Outfits?

    2 or more different color tops (shirts)
    3 or more different color bottoms (shorts, pants or skirts)

    1. Ask, "How many different outfits can you make?"
    2. Observe the strategies your child uses to figure out the answer.  Some children want to actually put the outfits on, or lay them out on the ground together and that's a fine way to do it. 
    3. If your child is stuck, then suggest writing them down or making an organized list.

    Note: It is up to you as the parent if you want to guide your child to the correct answer or if you want them to continue to explore.  There is value in both approaches.

    Make it more challenging:

    • Ask your child to prove that they have found the correct answer by making an organized list of all combinations. (shorten words R=red, etc.)
    • Add more variety to the outfits.  Add more shirts or pants, add jackets and shoes and socks, oh my!


    What if...?

    You don't need anything!

    1. Start a conversation with your child.
    2. Ask your child to imagine what would happen if something specific was different. Check out some examples here:

    What if....

    Follow up with some reading and discussion together:

    • Click on the questions above to find an article related to each question.
    • Search around or just make up silly, off-the-wall questions. You never know what might spark an interesting insight for your child.
    • Draw pictures together of what you are imagining.


    Rotten Fruit

    13 fruit counters or other small objects
    Note: This is a two person game.

    1. Place 13 counters on a table.
    2. Players take turns removing counters.
    3. Each player can remove one counter or two counters each turn.
    4. Repeat turns until all counters have been removed.
    5. The last counter is "Rotten," and the player who takes the last one gets Rotten Fruit.
    6. Repeat this game several times to see if your child can figure out how to win consistently.

    Make it more challenging:

    • Try the game starting with a different number of counters. (start with 14)
    • Allow each player to take one, two or three counters each turn.
    • Change the game so that the winner is the person who does take the last counter.

    This game is adapted from "The Game of Poison," which appears in the book About Teaching Mathematics: A K-8 Resource by Marilyn Burns (Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications, 2007.)


    XO Tic Tac Toe (ages 5+)

    Materials:  Paper, Writing utensil (crayon or pencil)

    Note: If you have not played regular Tic Tac Toe, try that first and come back to this version later.  

    1. Draw a regular Tic Tac Toe board.
    2. On your turn, choose either an X or an O to put down.
    3. With each turn you may choose X or O regardless of what you placed down on other turns.
    4. The player who finishes a row of Xs or Os is the winner of that game.

    Make it more challenging:

    • Discuss the different strategies you would use in regular Tic Tac Toe vs.
      XO Tic Tac Toe.  

    • Use different colors for each person so that you can look back at the game and see who made each move.

    This game is adapted from "Your Choice Tic-Tac-Toe," which appears in the book About Teaching Mathematics: A K-8 Resource by Marilyn Burns (Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications, 2007.)


    Juice-Water Problem

    Materials: two identical drinking glasses, 1 cup juice (better if it has a color),1 cup water, tablespoon

    1. Fill a glass with the juice and the other glass with the water.
    2. Take a tablespoon of juice and put it in the water glass, then stir.
    3. Take a tablespoon from the glass of water and put it in the juice glass, stir.
    4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 again.
    5. Ask, "Is there more juice in the water glass than there is water in the juice glass? Is there the same amount in each?"

    Make it more challenging:

    • Children might think they have the answer without really knowing, so encourage child to explain thinking and really prove it.

    • Have child show the percent of water and juice in each cup after each transfer.