Mazes are excellent activities to teach kids to think.
Since it is an activity that most kids enjoy, it is a wonderful way to teach them a few thinking strategies.
Education.com has several printable mazes with various levels of difficulty. You can check out their maze selection here.
We decided to work on an autumn themed maze, which you can download here and the answer key here.
We choose skinny markers (these are our favorites) in autumn colors.
Each color will represent the path we try.
Before we began trying to the solve the maze, we talked about a few strategies that we could use.
Now…. Some people (ahem…. Ok, it’s me) like to start at the END and work backwards.
Is this cheating?
Not at all!! It really doesn’t matter if you start at the beginning or end of the maze. You still have to get to the other side, right?
However, there is something in our brains about starting from the “end point,” that makes mazes seem easier.
Before your child starts working the maze, ask her to think ahead by looking for “dead ends.” We use our favorite mini magnifying glass to find them. Then, we use a highlight to mark the dead ends.
By marking the dead ends before we begin, it helps our eyes to focus on places to avoid. Then, we can reason (see…more thinking skills) where in the maze to work instead.
If your child prefers hands-on activities, then asking your child to try tracing the path with his finger can help him focus on finding the correct path. It is simple, but it works!
This is an especially helpful strategy if your child is concerned about “messing up” and not finding the solution to the maze quickly.
Make motor sounds (like a car or boat) as you go along the path. Again, this seems silly, but it really helps make these important thinking activities more fun.
In fact, you can even get out matchbox cars to help you find the path. We even put car stickers on a straw for smaller maze puzzles (insert photo)
Once we had discussed the strategies we could use, the kids chose the strategy that worked best for them.
They got right to work and had a fun time finding the solution.
We appreciated that there was more than one way to figure out the math. It was a fun way for the kids to see how our minds can work differently to get the same solution.
Mazes are such a fun way to get kids thinking, problem solving, predicting, and using those analytical skills!
Education.com has many printable and online resources to help your child develop his critical thinking skills. These fun math games will keep your child engaged and learning for hours!
Do you have other strategies to teach kids how to do mazes?
Tell us in the comments!