What Are The 21st-Century Skills in Early Childhood?

Find out how 21st-Century Skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity can nurture our children’s minds for the future.

Content Table:

  1. The 21st-Century Skills  
  2. Learning Skills: What Are The 4 C’s?
    2.1. Critical Thinking
    2.2. Creativity
    2.3. Communication
    2.4. Collaboration   
  3. 4 C’s Activities
    3.1. Lingokids activities for Critical Thinking
    3.2. Lingokids activities for Creativity
    3.3. Lingokids activities for Communication
    3.4. Lingokids activities for Collaboration

The 21st-Century Skills

21st-Century Skills are the 12 abilities or capacities that are necessary to thrive, both now and in tomorrow’s world. 

They usually divide into three different groups: Learning Skills, Literacy Skills, and Life Skills.  We don’t usually teach Literacy or Life Skills to toddlers or little children. They typically learn these abilities throughout primary and secondary education. Kids can start with Learning Skills. These are often referred to as the 4 C’s and, even if your children are as young as 2 years old, they can practice these skills. 

How? Let’s find out.  

Learning Skills: What Are The 4 C’s?

21-century learning skills -Lingokids

There are 4 different 21st skills for learning, or “The 4 C’s”: 

  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication 
At first, you may think it’s too complicated to really teach these skills to children at an early age. But it’s absolutely achievable! Actually, more and more preschool curriculums are focusing on the 4C’s. Lingokids is also an excellent chance for children to improve their abilities.

21st-Century Skills: Critical Thinking

Let’s talk about critical thinking in early childhood education. 

The first of our learning skills’ 4 C’s refers to the ability to analyze and evaluate information. But, what does it mean for little children? Certainly not pounding the meaning of life in a lab coat. 

Critical thinking for a toddler means asking questions and encouraging curiosity. They can start with simple questions and then ask mature questions can become more and more complex. They can even question your (or any adult’s, like a teacher or grandparent) authority.  When children question us, adults, we should welcome these challenges and answer everything with an open mind. Has your child ever asked you why the sky is blue or where babies come from? That’s the result of critical thinking.   

How can we help our little ones to embrace their curiosity and critical thinking skills? A bit of problem-solving together will be significant when your child asks a question. 

Besides, you can try a Tiny Talk: ask questions to your children to start a compelling conversation. For example, if they were a superhero, which super? That's a fair chance to get to know them and their world better, and usually, the answers are fun and cute. It will also help you to create amazing memories with them.  You can see examples of #TinyTalk conversation starters on our Instagram channel, along with many other parenting tips.

21st-Century Skills: Creativity

To infinity and beyond! Nothing flies higher than a child’s creativity, which also falls under the 21st-Century skills and learning skills.

Children are naturally creative. Don't you feel a little jealous of them sometimes? Their imagination is endless, and they aren't afraid of shouting their ideas to the world like we adults sometimes are. 

Creativity is like a muscle: you need to train it and use it to make it stronger. If you don't use it, you lose it! That's why the importance of creativity in the early years is so high. 

Creativity is the ability to use the imagination to make or think of something new. Strengthen your children's (and your) imagination together: draw different situations and compare them, ask your kids how would they act if they were different characters... Your ideas, like their imagination, can be endless too!

21st-Century Skills: Collaboration

How would you describe the concept of "collaboration"? There are many ways to do it. Teamwork, cooperation, or working together are just some of our favorites. But explaining the meaning to a child can be difficult. 
Why don't you teach them through practice? Not everything revolves around them, and it may be difficult for a child to understand, but it will be more accessible through collaborative learning and having fun. 
Some kids start learning about collaboration when they start school, but they can do it earlier at home. For example, we can show them how to help with easy household chores, like tidying and picking up their toys after playing with them. If they have siblings, they can learn together. 
Collaboration is one of the learning skills more important for life: it can help us making friends, being more empathetic with our peers, and think from new perspectives.

21st-Century Skills: Communication

Let's take a look at the 4th of the 4 C's: Why is communication important for children's learning? Childhood is when we lay the foundation for excellent communication skills. It will allow us to solve problems, express our emotions and connect with other people.  In short, it makes us human! 

How do babies start exploring communication? The first signs are gestures, facial expressions, and sounds. Later, they'll start developing their vocabulary, which will keep on building up throughout childhood. You can simply talk to them to help this development, regardless of their age. 

Every little conversation you have with your child is cultivating their communication skills.

4 C’s Activities with Lingokids! 

How does Lingokids nurture kids’ 4 C's? Let's check out some of the activities you can play in the app to develop your children's 21st-Century skills. 

Lingokids activities for Critical Thinking

It’s important for us to encourage our little ones to embrace their curiosity and ask questions. To help them with their critical thinking, we’ve incorporated activities in the Lingokids app such as our Hide-and-Seek games and the Safari Song.

Lingokids activities for Creativity

The app places children in an interactive world in which they stimulate their imaginations through pretend-play. For example, our pastry game lets your child take on the role of a creative baker. They’ll bake and decorate colorful cakes with the toppings of their choice. Sweet, right? Lingokids also exposes your child to the arts with our coloring games and games about musical instruments, song, and dance.

Lingokids activities for Collaboration

How do we teach collaboration to our 11 million tiny users? Some of our brightest minds at Lingokids collaborated to create our first-ever animated episode called The Robot Contest. The story follows two friends that have to put aside their differences to work towards a common cause. Can Billy the Chick and Cowy the Cow build the winning robot for the robot contest? The result is nothing short of hilarious and downright adorable. And the message is clear: we work better together.  We want to do more to teach children the importance of collaboration. Our game developers are working to create new games that are designed specifically for co-play between parents and children, or groups of children. Stay tuned!

Lingokids activities for Communication

At Lingokids, we help strengthen your child’s communication skills with our vocabulary-rich curriculum. Your child can learn new words in a fun and safe environment. Play along with your child, and then try to use these new words in your daily life. If you’re a Lingokids Unlimited member, you can go to the Progress Center to practice the words your child has seen in the app. Come back to our blog to find more tips for language, communication skills, and parenting advice for your family! Also, check out our post about drawing with children to improve their originality and creativity.  What are your favorite activities to cultivate your child’s learning skills? Let us know in the comments!