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Archive for May 15th, 2011

There have been a handful of Critical Thinking/Logic threads on the WTM boards that I’ve noticed in the past few days, so it seems timely that I was prepared to write up a little post on how we’ve been doing critical thinking in the elementary years. We’re big fans of the Prufrock Press critical thinking logic workbooks. They’re relatively inexpensive and have a variety to choose from.

We started with Lollipop Logic at age 4, proceeded through two different analogy books (Analogies for Beginners and First Time Analogies), and just this week finished Logic Safari 1. I believe this is the first of 3 of the Logic Safari series. The Lollipop Logic 1 book is meant for PreK-K-ish (although it says K-2, it is a bit easy), and they just released a book 2 that we’ll have to check out.

Logic Safari 1 contains puzzles of this type. You read the clues and figure out the matches. I usually had Satori do one per week, but she enjoyed doing two at a time. We could really zoom through all these workbooks (as she enjoys them so), so I try to limit this subject to once a week and just 1-2 pages.

Here’s another puzzle we did in March. You can click the image to see it full-size.You’ll notice that I go through with a red marker to correct them (and try them out myself). Answers are in the back if you’re ever unsure.

Satori is working at a Grade 2-4 level in these type of critical thinking workbooks. Next up we have Connections (Introductory) – Activities for Deductive Thinking, which has puzzles along the same lines, but are more expanded. I think I’ll also order Detective Club and Primarily Logic by the same publisher. After those, we’ll get into Logic Safari 2 and Logic Countdown or other goodies.

Once we finished the first Logic Safari workbook, I remembered I had the Critical Thinking Co’s Mind Benders Beginning 1 Software program. This is meant for ages PreK-K, there’s an audio button so your child does not need to be a reader to do these. I loaded it up and set Satori loose to play! After doing Logic Safari, it was a nice software series to work with. It starts out with a 3×3 grid, but quickly moved to a 4×4 grid. There are 43 puzzles to work through, plus the reward games.

The first 4 or so puzzles had a reward of a simple game of clicking the right color balloons. That was a little bit of a letdown, but after puzzle 5, we were challenged to throw a frisbee in a frisbee golf type bucket, taking into account wind direction and speed. That was more like it.

Here’s Activity 3. If you’ve never done these puzzles before, you read the clues and you can eliminate a choice by making the square red (or crossing it off in a workbook). You can also solve a clue by making the right square green and then eliminating everything along those lines.

I like doing these puzzles myself, but I have an iPad app (Logic Puzzles) for them. My high school math teacher got his advanced math class turned on to these puzzles and it’s been 20 years since I played with them again.

Another option for your child is the Tin Man Press logic books. We have their Enrichment Packets but I keep forgetting we have them. We’ll have to give them a whirl and see how we like them.

We also do more logic games than just workbooks. We enjoy Logic Links and many ThinkFun type puzzles. I’ll blog more about these later if I haven’t already.

For Mother’s Day last weekend we spent a glorious day at the Denver Zoo. The weather was perfect and we spent it with family. Both my mother (Satori’s Grammy) and my Aunt Elizabeth were in town, so our whole family and our out-of-town visitors as well as cousins Peyton, Brady, and Beckett enjoyed the day.

Props go out to Aunt Elizabeth who gave the girls these cute, colorful umbrellas! Handy against the searing Colorado sun.

The twins check out the lioness. The lion with his big mane was in front of the other window.

Off in the distance we saw African Wild Dogs running around.

David maneuvered the twin’s stroller. Here he is posing with my Mom.

Satori and Peyton were inseparable as usual.

I didn’t take many actual zoo animal photos, I did not bring my heavy telephoto lens. I couldn’t resist this baby orangutan and his mother.

It was so cute to see the mom pick up the baby by his arm and just fling him on top of her head!

Shortly after entering the zoo, we also witnessed a mother Bighorn Sheep preparing to give birth to her baby, and by the time we were leaving the zoo, she had just given birth.

It is extremely challenging to get all the children to look at the camera.

We only saw half the zoo before it was time to go, but here”s more of our favorites animals.


This photo will always make me laugh. I thought it would be super precious to have the two girls feed fluffy pink cotton candy to each other. Satori immediately offered her tuft to her cousin, but little Peyton loves her food and proceeded to cram her whole handful into her mouth quickly! I gave up on that cute idea and just took this photo. 🙂

Thanks Mom and Aunt Elizabeth for spending the day with our family! We’re sorry it snowed a foot in the mountains and we were unable to have you up to our house, but that will happen soon.