As young children grow, they learn different ways to process information from the world around them, and their thinking skills are very different at different ages. Infants are focused on exploring the world around them. Preschool-age children like to ask questions and test out ideas. School-age children think logically, but still have a hard time understanding abstract concepts such as "freedom."
Child care providers can help young children develop thinking skills by observing carefully, providing interesting materials and problems, asking thoughtful questions and modeling ways of testing out ideas. The following articles provide some basic information about thinking skills in young children.
For specific activity ideas to use in your child care program, check out the database of Hands-on Activities for Child Care, or visit the the database of Story-Stretching Ideas for Child Care to find activities that expand on favorite children's stories.