Activities That Develop Critical Thinking

It’s difficult to continue developing the mind as an adult. Once a person has graduated from their final level of school, it’s usually expected that they’ll turn their critical thinking skills toward work. While many professionals are expected to keep up with the latest developments in their industry, there’s little focus on how the mind works.

In other words, schoolwork often challenges thinkers to stretch their minds. But as adults become more comfortable in the workplace, they tend to focus in on specialties and niche interests. This certainly isn’t a bad thing—but it can sometimes come at the expense of keeping the mind sharp.

So, if you’re feeling a little underwhelmed by the speed and accuracy of your brain’s responses, it may be time to start developing your critical thinking skills. Fear not—there’s no need to head back into a classroom. We’ve compiled six recommendations that will help you train your brain without getting bored.           


Blackjack is one of the most demanding casino games in the world—but people love it for a reason. The premise is simple enough but also involves a lot of probabilities and basic mathematics as players seek to hit 21 without going over. Plus, some virtual platforms that offer the game also let players insure their bets. Insuring bets is just another element that adds to the depth of the game, as it allows players to manage their bets before they decide to hit, split, or fold. 

Try it in Reverse

Blackjack is a great option for focusing the mind. It trains the brain to think critically, quickly, and all while juggling tons of input. But developing critical thinking doesn’t always involve a game. Sometimes, it’s as easy as moving in reverse.

That’s right—simply walking backward or using your non-dominant hand to handle chores can help train the brain. Specifically, it forces the brain to work in reverse, which challenges us to think dynamically. So, if you’re feeling particularly lazy when it comes to critical thinking, then try doing a few of your routines in reverse.

Language Acquisition

Similar to blackjack, learning a new language challenges the brain on multiple levels. Keep in mind that you don’t need to actually set out to learn a new language—your brain will benefit from simply completing a few virtual classes or activities. For added benefit, try out a language that requires you to also learn a new type of alphabet. This will put your brain into overdrive as it works to memorize new letters and phonemes.


Similar to completing activities in reverse, the concept of debate is highly abstract. Still, it’s a fantastic way to train the brain to handle new information, process it, and then generate a few new conclusions. Beyond helping develop your critical thinking skills, respectfully debating (whether with a colleague at the office or with a stranger at the bus stop) a topic exposes you to new ideas and mindsets.


Over the last decade, documentaries have become a hugely popular category of film. That’s because they let viewers take a more objective look at certain events, people, and places. In other words, they’re all about getting to the heart of a topic.

However, if you want to develop your critical thinking skills, you’ll need to sit down and watch more than one flick. Specifically, experts recommend watching docs that cover the same topic but were produced by different filmmakers. This will let your brain delve into the details—not just about the topic being covered, but also about the different approaches taken to that subject.

Take a Tech Break

Lastly, it’s important to connect critical thinking to other kinds of mental processes. Specifically, some experts think that critical thinking is closely tied to curiosity. Those who ask more questions and experience wonder are more likely to have a quick-moving and analytical mind. So, how can we foster more curiosity? One recommendation is to take a break from technology. We’re more likely to feel a sense of wonder and curiosity when we aren’t glued to our screens and being overloaded with information.

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