We all know kids are natural-born philosophers, always probing with those relentless ‘why’s and ‘how’s. So, why not channel that curiosity into some thought-provoking discussions? In this post, I’m serving up a list of philosophical questions designed just for young minds. These aren’t your average dinner table questions but prompts to explore the worlds of ethics, metaphysics, and even existentialism with the kiddos.
And hey, if you found this post helpful you might also want to check my post on philosophical questions for older students, you’ll definitely want to dive into this one too. Let’s get those gears turning and light bulbs flashing in those young, inquisitive minds!
Philosophical Questions for Kids
We arranged philosophical questions for kids into a variety of categories. We discussed Ethics and Morality to give kids a primer on what’s right and what’s wrong. We ventured into the abstract world of Metaphysics, touched on the complexities of Epistemology, and dipped our toes into Aesthetics.
We also got a bit political with Social and Political Philosophy, put our logical hats on with Logic and Reason, and even pondered life’s big questions in Existentialism. And let’s not forget the wonders of Mind and Consciousness, as well as the tug-of-war between Free Will and Determinism. Yep, we’ve covered a lot of ground!
These questions blend fun and philosophy, and they are great for kickstarting creative and critical thinking. Whether you’re tackling heavier existential topics or just want to know whether a Jedi or wizard reigns supreme, these are sure to get your classroom buzzing.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Would you rather be a wizard or a Jedi?
If animals could talk, what do you think they’d say?
What’s your funniest joke?
If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If you had a time machine, where and when would you go?
What’s the weirdest thing you can imagine?
If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be?
What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
What would you bring to a deserted island and why?
Ethics and Morality
Ethics and morality are all about the principles that help us differentiate between right and wrong. It’s a meaty topic, for sure, but one that even younger students can sink their teeth into. Research proved that kids have an innate sense of justice—they’re eager to talk about what’s fair or unfair, what’s right or wrong. So, I’ve put together some questions to encourage students to scrutinize these concepts more closely.
Is it ever okay to tell a lie?
What makes something fair?
Is sharing always important?
Why should we be kind?
Is it better to give or to receive?
Should you always listen to adults?
Is it ever okay to break a rule or law?
What would you do if you found a wallet on the street?
Is it important to always win?
Should animals have the same rights as humans?
Metaphysics tackles questions about existence, reality, and the nature of things. Seems like heavy stuff, but kids are natural-born metaphysicians. Trust me, I’ve heard some profound insights during snack time.
What makes a toy your favorite toy?
Why do you think rainbows exist?
Can something be both good and bad?
What makes a superhero a hero?
Is magic real?
Can something be both alive and not alive?
Why do things fall when you drop them?
Can two people ever really be the same?
What makes something truly scary?
Do your toys come alive when you’re not around?
Epistemology dives into how we know what we know, and believe me, kids are full of surprising observations here too. This section often leads to some mind-boggling chats; it’s like watching little philosophers at work. These questions encourage kids to step into the realm of abstract thinking, and they get students questioning the world around them and even their own perceptions. It’s an adventure into philosophy for the young and curious
How do you know if food is yummy or yucky?
Can you have a friend you’ve never met?
How do you know if you’re dreaming or awake?
Is it possible to know everything?
How do you know your pet loves you?
How do you know if something is true or false?
Can your senses always be trusted?
What makes you sure that you’re you?
How do you know what the weather will be like tomorrow?
Can a book or a movie know something?
When it comes to Aesthetics, kids have a vibrant way of expressing what they find beautiful or captivating. This is where their imagination comes into play big time.
What colors make you happy?
Why do some songs make us sad?
What makes a good story?
Is a drawing beautiful even if no one sees it?
Why do we like different things?
Can something be beautiful and ugly at the same time?
What sounds make you feel calm?
Does a painting need to look like something to be good?
Can a smell be beautiful?
What makes your favorite movie so special?
Political and Social Philosophy
The budding statespersons in your classroom will love these. Even in the sandbox, there’s a social hierarchy, and kids are keenly aware of it. Opening up these discussions helps kids become more observant, aware, and hopefully, thoughtful about their actions and how they interact with the world around them.
What makes a good leader in a game?
Why do we have rules in school?
How do we choose who is “it” in a game?
What does it mean to be a good friend?
Why do we celebrate birthdays?
Is it important to always win?
How do we decide what is fair?
Should everyone get a trophy?
What makes a team successful?
Why do some people need to be in charge?
Logic and Reason
I’ve always found that Logic and Reasoning questions really get the gears turning in kids’ minds. I mean, ever tried to negotiate bedtime with a 6-year-old? They’re natural-born logicians. These questions can help them refine that innate skill:
Why do we have to wait in line?
How do we decide what’s fair in a game?
What happens if everyone talks at once?
Why does a square have four sides?
How do you know what comes next in a pattern?
What makes a good riddle?
Can two people ever have the exact same idea?
How do you know when to stop counting?
Why do some shapes fit together perfectly?
How do you decide what’s true and what’s not?
Even though existentialism sounds heavy, kids often ponder these deep, philosophical questions. It’s like they’re little philosophers trying to make sense of their universe. The questions below can guide them on this philosophical journey:
What makes you unique?
Why are we different from animals?
Do you think you have a purpose?
What makes today different from yesterday?
Can something matter now but not later?
Where do you think thoughts come from?
Can you be happy and sad at the same time?
What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
Do you think time ever stops?
Is it better to have a few close friends or lots of acquaintances?
Mind and Consciousness
The classic questions about thought and awareness that even adults struggle with! Kids are naturally curious about these topics, maybe because they’re so intangible and mysterious. Here are some questions to stoke their intellectual fire:
What are dreams made of?
Can your stuffed animal understand you?
Why do we forget things?
Do you think a tree knows it’s a tree?
What does it feel like to be happy?
Do you think you’re the same person when you’re angry and when you’re calm?
Can you touch a thought?
What happens to a question that is never answered?
How do you know you’re you?
Why do some memories feel more important than others?
Free Will and Determinism
The balance between making choices and destiny, even in the little world of a child, can be a whirlpool of thought. These questions help them explore the power of their choices and what it means for their life.
Can you make your own luck?
Why did you choose your favorite color?
Is it possible to do nothing at all?
Do you think everyone has a destiny?
Can you choose to like something you hate?
Why do we like some foods but not others?
Do you think you can choose your own dreams?
Can you decide not to grow up?
Is it possible to change someone else’s mind?
Can a promise change the future?
Alright, folks, we’ve navigated the thought-provoking universe of kid-friendly philosophical questions, from the complexities of ethics to the fascinations of metaphysics. Getting your kids to think about these questions will spark their intellectual curiosity. It’s never too early to start fostering critical thinking skills, right? Use these prompts as a springboard for deeper conversations or even as a fun classroom activity. After all, philosophy isn’t just for the grown-ups.