Critikid Logo Critical Thinking for Kids

Launching December 2023

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What’s coming to Critikid?

We're making a series of short videos and activities teaching children how to think critically through a science-fiction adventure. Kids learn better through stories. There will be three levels:

  • Level 1: Logical fallacies
  • Level 2: Cognitive biases
  • Level 3: Formal logic

We will release the first half of level one in December 2023.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the process of rationally analyzing information, arguments, and even our own thought processes in order to search for the truth. In essence, it is the ability to distinguish between logical and flawed reasoning in order to communicate clearly, even when communicating with ourselves.

What is a logical fallacy?

Logical fallacies are bad arguments or flaws in reasoning. They often come up in conversation and debate.

Sometimes people commit logical fallacies intentionally to try to win arguments, but sometimes it’s accidental. Critikid’s goal is to teach kids how to recognize not only when others are committing logical fallacies, but also when they themselves are unintentionally committing them.

Logical fallacy examples

Let’s say a doctor tells Bob that smoking is unhealthy, and Bob replies, “My grandfather smoked every day and lived to be 100, so smoking must not be unhealthy.” Bob committed a logical fallacy called the “anecdotal fallacy”, which happens when you base your opinion on one or a few examples instead of a large amount of data.

People can also commit logical fallacies in their thought processes. For example, imagine Bob goes to a movie and quickly realizes he hates it. He considers leaving, but thinks, “I paid $20 for the ticket and can’t get my money back, plus I drove all the way here, so I guess I should just finish it.” Now, not only has Bob wasted money and a bit of time, but he will waste more time and suffer for the next two hours. This is a logical fallacy called the “sunk cost fallacy”, in which you don’t want to give up on something that you have invested time or money into even if it’s very unlikely to pay off.

In the first ten videos, we will cover these 10 logical fallacies:

  1. Circular reasoning – “Bob is trustworthy because he’s honest.”
  2. Burden of proof – “I believe in Zeus and you should too because nobody has proven that he doesn’t exist.”
  3. False dilemma – “You’re either my friend or my enemy.”
  4. Tu quoque – “Your claim that smoking is unhealthy must not be true because you smoke.”
  5. Appeal to nature – “Your drink has artificial flavorings so my drink is healthier than yours,” says Bob as he drinks a glass of maple syrup.
  6. Anecdotal fallacy – “I don’t need to wear a seatbelt because my father never wore one and he never got hurt in a car accident.”
  7. Guilt by association – “Hitler said that we should invest in our children, so investing in our children would be an evil thing to do.”
  8. Middle ground – “Bob thinks the sky is yellow and Sally thinks the sky is blue, so let’s compromise and say the sky is green.”
  9. Slippery slope – “If I let you get away with not doing your homework, you’ll be burning down the school next!”
  10. Sunk cost – “We’ve lost $1000 to the casino already, so we can’t stop now or else we’ll never win our money back.”
What is a cognitive bias?

Cognitive biases are systematic mistakes in thinking and judgment.

Critikid’s cognitive bias videos will teach kids not only about what cognitive biases we have, but why we have them. For example, when people stand at the edge of a cliff and estimate the distance to the ground, they have a bias toward overestimating the distance. And this makes perfect sense. This cognitive bias encourages people not to jump unless they really have to. Many cognitive biases are there because they help to keep us safe. Still, it is important to be able to recognize and understand them.

Cognitive bias examples

If you believe someone is guilty of a crime, you will pay more attention to the evidence that shows they are guilty than the evidence that shows they are innocent. This is called the “confirmation bias”, which means that we tend to put more weight into information that confirms what we already believe.

Here’s another. If you see a chocolate bar for sale for $6, and then see another one for sale for $4, and finally one for sale for $2, you might think the $4 chocolate bar is not a bad deal. But if you see a chocolate bar for $2 first, then $4, and then $6, the $4 chocolate bar might seem unreasonably expensive. This is called the “anchoring effect”, in which people base their judgments more heavily on the first piece of information they receive.

The sunk cost fallacy mentioned above is also a kind of cognitive bias.

What is symbolic logic?

The study of symbolic logic (also called formal logic) is the study of the structure of arguments. When you understand symbolic logic, you have a rulebook for determining whether arguments are valid.

Symbolic logic uses symbols and formulas to represent arguments. These symbols and formulas help show the relationships between ideas.

Symbolic logic helps us to make sense of complex arguments by allowing us to break them down into parts. Then we can easily analyze both the correctness of the premises and the validity of the argument as a whole.

Free symbolic logic worksheets

Symbolic logic examples

Consider this argument: “If it was sunny yesterday, Bob went to the beach. It was sunny yesterday. Therefore, Bob went to the beach.”

We can write this argument as follows:

A → B
∴ B

This argument is valid.

Here’s another argument: “If it was sunny yesterday, Bob went to the beach. Bob went to the beach. Therefore, it was sunny yesterday.”

This one seems valid, but it is not. From the first premise, we only know that Bob definitely went to the beach if it was sunny, but we don’t know that he wouldn’t have gone in other weather conditions. This argument looks like this:

A → B
∴ A

A student who understands the rules of symbolic logic can quickly detect that the second argument is not valid.

Why is critical thinking important?

For one thing, critical thinking makes us better communicators. Logical fallacies frequently find their way into conversations, and when we can’t identify them, they tend to derail discussions and make them unproductive. The ability to recognize when you or your conversational partner is committing a logical fallacy can help get the conversation back on track.

Critical thinking also makes us better decision-makers. Understanding cognitive biases means understanding our minds. When we can recognize our cognitive biases, we can get a better idea of why we make the decisions we do, and, as a result, we can consider whether we are making a rational decision or a biased one.

People who try to sell us products or ideas know all about logical fallacies and cognitive biases, and they know how to use them to their advantage. The ability to think critically helps us to defend ourselves against manipulation.

At what age should kids start learning critical thinking?

Children can do activities to develop their critical thinking skills even before they can talk. A toy that lights up when a button is pressed teaches cause and effect, peek-a-boo teaches object permanence, and nesting toys help develop problem-solving skills.

Once kids can talk, they can start to do simple experiments. For example, a parent might ask, “What do you think will happen when I mix the red and blue paint?” The child can make a prediction and then test it by mixing the paints.

Critikid’s material will be suitable for children ages 8 and up. We will offer various levels targeting different age groups.

I’ve been teaching critical thinking to children in this age range for years now, so I know that they are not only capable of understanding it, but they love it. What kid wouldn’t find it amusing to hear about the silly mistakes that even adults can make? Moreover, childhood is the best time to strengthen the mind’s defenses and teach it to recognize its biases. It only gets harder as you get older.

And it is urgent. This generation of children spends a huge portion of their lives on the Internet, which abounds in polarizing opinions, logical fallacies, and misinformation. This is the battlefield that the kids of today must withstand, and critical thinking is their armor. Critikid’s goal is to help them forge it.

Will the videos cost money?

Yes. This will help us to continue making content. However, Critikid believes in its mission so strongly that we want to make these videos accessible to everyone. Therefore, we will give free access to anyone who requests it due to financial constraints.

Who are you?

My name is Stephanie Simoes. I’ve been a science teacher and children’s educational video creator for many years. My background is in biology and philosophy. I’m running this project with a very small team of talented freelancers.

If you are interested in learning more about my online science classes, please email me at