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30 Problem Solving Scenarios for Speech Therapy Practice
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Problem solving scenarios.
- Your friends came over to your house for a movie night. One of your friends brought another friend so there are more people than you planned for. You want to pass out the drinks but you only have five cans of soda and you need 6 for everyone to have one. What could you do?
- After basketball practice you go back to the locker room with your team to shower and change. When you are done dressing, you can't find your shoes. What could you do?
- You have been waiting all day for lunch to come because you are starving. Finally class gets over and you get to go to lunch. Except when you go to get to your lunch, it's not there. You probably left it at home. What could you do?
- There is a guy in your class who is always mean to you. He always bumps you when he walks by and he calls you names. He knocks stuff out of your hands and makes you feel stupid. You don't think you can take it anymore. What could you do?
- You really want to invite this new girl/guy to come to your birthday party, but you have never talked to them before. You are worried they will say no. What could you do?
- You rode the bus to school today and on the way in people are pointing and laughing at you. You go in the bathroom and see that you have pink gum all over the back of your pants. What could you do?
- You wake up and see that your alarm never went off. So you are starting your morning 15 minutes later than you planned. It is a really important day at school and you cannot be late. What could you do?
- You are giving a group presentation in front of class and it's your turn to talk. All of the sudden you sneeze. You cover it with your hand, but now your hand is full of stuff you sneezed out. What could you do?
- You are eating dinner at a fancy restaurant with your parents and their friends. You have a really messy dinner and accidentally flip a noodle into the lady's lap. They are busy talking and don't notice it. What could you do?
- You are taking a test and there is no talking allowed. You are writing your answers on the paper and your pencil breaks. What could you do?
- You are taking a test and the guy behind you asks you for help. He wants to know what you put for question number two. What could you do?
- You are at a birthday party and you have waited in line for a long time for your turn to hit the pinata. It is finally going to be your turn and it looks like the next hit will break the pinata. But you suddenly have to go to the bathroom. What could you do?
- You are hanging outside with your friend and she decides to pick your neighbor's flowers. She gives you the pretty handful of flowers and right then your neighbor opens the door. She asks you why you picked her flowers. What could you do?
- You borrowed your sister's skates one day without asking and they broke while you were using them. What could you do?
- You are eating at a friend's house and the mom piles your plate full of food. It looks really good and you want to eat it all but you can't because you just ate a snack. What could you do so you don't hurt her feelings?
SEE ALSO: The Best Free App for Speech Therapy
- Your teacher was working at her desk. You wanted to ask her a question, but she didn't see your hand raised. What should you do?
- You started to do your work, but you weren't sure if you were doing it right. What should you do?
- You were playing tether-ball and were the champion so far. In the next game, you slightly touched the rope. Only one student saw you touch the rope. What will you do?
- The teacher is giving directions, but your friend sitting next to you keeps talking. You can't hear the directions. What should you do?
- You didn't do your homework. Your teacher was upset with you. What should you do?
- You finished eating and felt a burp coming. What are you going to do?
- You were waiting to swing. When it was your turn, another boy jumped in front of you and took the swing. What would you do?
- You waited a long time, but your mom didn't come to pick you up after school. What should you do?
- A bully threatened to beat you up after school. What should you do?
- A boy on the playground keeps pushing you and making you mad. What would you do?
- You were sitting in class doing your work and you hear the fire alarm. What should you do?
- An adult you didn't know came on to the playground and asked if you would help look for his lost dog. What would you do?
- You forgot your lunch at home. What would you do?
- The person sitting behind you keeps tapping your chair with his foot. What should you do?
- You finished your work early. What should you do?
This list of functional words was professionally selected to be the most useful for a child or adult who has difficulty with problem solving scenarios.
We encourage you to use this list when practicing at home.
Home practice will make progress toward meeting individual language goals much faster.
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are only able to see students/clients 30-60 mins (or less) per week. This is not enough time or practice for someone to handle Problem solving scenarios.
Every day that your loved one goes without practice it becomes more difficult to help them.
SEE ALSO: The Best Books for Speech Therapy Practice
We know life is busy , but if you're reading this you're probably someone who cares about helping their loved one as much as you can.
Practice 5-10 minutes whenever you can, but try to do it on a consistent basis (daily).
Please, please, please use this list to practice.
It will be a great benefit to you and your loved one's progress.
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Find resources / Articles / Problem solving for 3 to 5-year-olds
Supporting and keeping 3 to 5-year-olds safe as they develop their problem-solving skills.
On this page
What changes after age 3, parents feel frightened too, anō anō — again again, what else can whānau do to help tamariki learn to solve problems.
Problem solving is discussed in quite a few other age and stage sections. The following play activities from the 25–36 months section give ideas for strengthening problem-solving skills, and why they are important to develop in young children:
- Problem solving
- Stepping stones
The recommended reading called Problem solving in the younger age section (19–24 months) is relevant too, as it describes what problem solving looks like for a toddler.
The main problem-solving strategy used by tamariki until around age 3 is trial and error.
A 3-year-old will often use their memory of seeing others solve similar problems. Tamariki will remember what other people did when a problem came up, and they’ll try that themselves.
Tamariki are increasingly keen on doing things themselves, and will sometimes resist help. ‘I can do it myself!’ is commonly heard from tamariki during this stage. The level of risk involved in the activity may not be a concern for them — rather, just doing it is their main concern.
Whānau need to think about ways to give their tamaiti challenges and new learning while keeping them safe from harm. Tamariki want to copy adults and be more independent, which is great as it builds their confidence and skills. However, their ability to move fast, switch machinery on, and access heights or electrical equipment can put them in danger. It’s a good time to check safety around the house and garden, especially in garages and sheds, and their access to climbable fences or unsecured gates.
Preschoolers are also learning about managing their strong feelings. Solving problems can be a challenge, and when they’re unsuccessful it can lead to them expressing feelings of deep frustration.
Tamariki who have temperament traits of persistence, high activity and the ability to take on new situations with ease can find themselves in dangerous situations if there’s insufficient supervision. Whānau need to be close enough to intervene straight away if tamariki lose control of their emotions or their actions.
Confidence is another skill that helps when a child is problem solving. It can also be concerning when their confidence is much greater than their ability to solve a challenge, and they find themselves in strife.
Sometimes whānau themselves get scared or upset by the actions of their clever problem-solver. For example, an active 4-year-old has just climbed to the top of the neighbour’s tree and is now stuck! Concern for their child’s safety can see whānau lashing out in response, as their anxiety generates feelings of anger.
Developing their personal technique for remaining calm and cool is wise. Deep breathing and using a quiet, firm voice can be a good starting place.
After an upsetting event has been sorted out is often a good time for a snack break. Washing hands, sitting down and having something to eat and drink can help calm the situation. Then whānau can talk with their tamariki and ask:
- What were you trying to do?
- What else could you have done instead?
- What other resources from round the house could have helped?
- What might you do next time something like this happens?
Regular practice playing with similar-aged tamariki encourages progress with the skills of waiting, turn-taking, sharing, negotiating and learning how to solve shared problems together.
- model the process of problem solving in daily life
- give their preschoolers hands-on experiences of exploring and experimenting with different materials
- let them enjoy creating different solutions by finding new ways to use familiar items.
And because preschoolers enjoy figuring out solutions for themselves, whānau need to let tamariki try to do this before offering or stepping in to help.
See Whakatipu booklets Te Māhuri 1 and Te Māhuri 2 (pages 10–17) for ideas and information about everyday problems tamariki are likely to meet when playing around the house and in their community.
Scholastic: Preschool problem-solving
Investigation and discovery 3–5 years.
Peep and the Big Wide World
Play and imagination 3–5 years
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10 Simple Activities to Teach Your Preschooler Problem Solving
By: Author Tanja Mcilroy
Posted on Last updated: 24 Apr 2023
Categories Cognitive Development
During the first years of a child’s life, an important set of cognitive skills known as problem-solving abilities are developed. These skills are used throughout childhood and into adulthood.
Find out what problem solving is, why it’s important and how you can develop these skills with 10 problem-solving games and activities.
What is Problem Solving in Early Childhood?
So, what exactly is problem solving? Quite simply, it refers to the process of finding a solution to a problem .
A person uses their own knowledge and experience, as well as the information at hand to try and reach a solution. Problem solving is therefore about the thought processes involved in finding a solution.
This could be as complex as an adult working out how to get out of a financial crisis or as simple as a child working out how two blocks fit together.
Problem Solving Skills for Kids
Problem-solving skills refer to the specific thinking skills a person uses when faced with a challenge. Some problems require the use of many skills, while others are simple and may only require one or two skills.
These are some examples of problem-solving skills for preschoolers , as listed by kent.ac.uk .
- Lateral thinking
- Analytical thinking
- Decision-making skills
- Logical reasoning
- Communication skills
- Negotiation skills
The Importance of Developing Problem-Solving Skills in Early Childhood
Problem solving is a skill that would be difficult to suddenly develop as an adult. While you can still improve a skill at any age, the majority of learning occurs during the early years.
Preschool is the best time for a child to learn to problem solve in a fun way. The benefits of learning early will last a lifetime and the beauty of learning anything at a young age is that it is effortless .
It is like learning to play an instrument or picking up a new language – it’s just much easier and more natural at an early age.
Of all the many things preschoolers need to learn , what makes problem solving so important?
There aren’t many situations in life, at work or at school that don’t require some level of problem resolution.
Child’s play itself is filled with opportunity upon opportunity to solve all kinds of tricky situations and come up with solutions to challenges.
Problem Solving in Preschool
During the foundational years, children are constantly solving problems as they play .
Here are just a few examples of problem solving in early childhood :
- Resolving a fight over the same toy
- Reaching a ball that’s stuck in the tree
- Forming a circle while holding hands
- Making a bridge to connect two block towers
- Tying or untying a shoe
- Making up rules for a new game
- Trying to get the consistency of a mud cake right so it stops falling over
The more creative play opportunities and challenges children are given, the more they get to exercise their problem-solving muscles.
During free play , there are non-stop experiences for this, and parents and teachers can also encourage specific problem-solving skills through guided activities .
Problem Solving for Older Children
During the grades, children experience problems in many forms, some of which may be related to their academic, social and emotional well-being at school. Problems may come in the form of dealing with life issues, such as:
- Problems with friendships
- Struggling to understand something during a lesson
- Learning to balance the demands of sport and homework
- Finding the best way to study for a test
- Asking a teacher for help when needed
Problems will also form a large part of academic life as teachers will be actively developing this skill through various activities, for example:
- Solving a riddle or understanding a work of literature
- Working on projects with a friend
- Finding solutions during science experiments
- Solving mathematical problems
- Solving hypothetical problems during lessons
- Answering questions and completing exam papers
Children who have had practice during preschool will be a lot more capable when facing these challenges.
Solving Problems in Mathematics
Mathematics needs to be mentioned separately as although it is part of schooling, it is such a huge part and it depends heavily on a child’s ability to solve problems.
The entire subject of mathematics is based on solving problems. Whether you are adding 2 and 3, working out how many eggs will fit into each basket, or solving an algebraic expression, there is a problem in every question.
Mathematics is just a series of problems that need to be solved.
What we refer to as problem solving in Maths is usually answering word problems .
The reason many children find these so difficult to answer is that the question is presented as a problem through a story, rather than just numbers with symbols telling you what operation to use (addition, division, etc.)
This means a child is forced to think carefully, understand the problem and determine the best way to solve it.
These problems can involve various units (e.g. mass, capacity or currency) as well as fractions, decimals, equations and angles, to name a few. Problems tend to become more and more complex over the years.
My experience in the classroom has shown that many, many children struggle with solving word problems, from the early grades right into the senior years.
They struggle to analyze the question, understand it, determine what information they’ve been given, and what exactly they are required to solve.
The good news is that exposing a child to regular problem-solving activities and games in preschool can greatly help him to solve word problems later on in school.
If you need one good reason to do these kinds of activities, let it be for a smoother experience in mathematics – a subject so many children unnecessarily fear.
Problem Solving in the Workplace
Adults in the workplace seldom thrive without problem-solving skills. They are required to regularly solve problems .
As adults, employees are expected to independently deal with the frequent challenges, setbacks and problems that are a big part of every working environment.
Those who can face and solve their own problems will go further and cope better than those who seek constant help from others or cannot show initiative.
Some career websites even refer to problem solving as a universal job skill. They also mention that many employees are not good at it.
Again, although it may seem far removed, learning this skill at a young age will help a child cope right into adulthood and in the working world.
How to Teach Children Problem-Solving Skills
If early childhood is the best time to grow these skills in your young children, then how does one go about teaching them to toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners?
Problem solving can be taught in such a way that you expose your child to various opportunities where they will be faced with challenges.
You would not necessarily sit your 3-year-old down and tell or “teach” him all about fixing problems. Instead, you want to create opportunities for your child to grow this skill .
Using the brain to think and find solutions is a bit like working a muscle over time. Eventually, your muscle gets stronger and can handle more “ weight. ” Your child will learn to problem solve in two ways:
- Incidentally – through free play
- Through guided opportunities provided by a parent or teacher
If you make a point of encouraging thinking through games and activities, your child will develop stronger skills than if you let it all happen incidentally.
Problem-Solving Strategies and Steps
If we take a look at the steps involved in solving a problem, we can see that there are many layers involved and different types of skills. Here are the problem-solving steps according to the University of Ken.
Step 1: Identify the problem
Step 2: Define the problem
Step 3: Examine the options
Step 4: Act on a plan
Step 5: Look at the consequences
Therefore, activities at a preschool level need not present complicated high-level problems.
- A simple activity such as identifying differences in a picture can work on the first skill needed – identifying a problem.
- Playing with construction toys can develop a child’s ability to try various solutions and examine the options when faced with a problem such as trying to find the best way to build something.
- Playing Tic-Tac-Toe would make a child predict the consequences of placing their mark in a particular square.
The most basic of activities can work on all these skills and make children competent solution finders.
How to Teach Problem Solving with Questions
The language you use around your child and your questioning technique will also greatly affect their understanding of a problem or challenge as merely something waiting for a solution to be found .
While your child is playing or when she comes to you with a problem, ask open-ended questions that will guide her in finding a potential answer independently. Use the steps listed above to formulate your questions.
Here are some examples of questions:
- What do you think made the tower of blocks fall down?
- If we build it again, how can we change the structure so that it won’t fall down next time?
- Is there a better way we can do it? If you think of a different way, we can both try it and see which works better.
- Did that work? The tower fell again so let’s try another solution.
Resist the temptation to fix every one of your child’s problems, including conflict with friends or siblings. These are important opportunities for children to learn how to resolve things by negotiating, thinking and reasoning.
With time, your child will get used to seeing a problem, understanding it, weighing up the options, taking action and evaluating the consequences.
Problems will be seen as challenges to be faced logically and not “problems.”
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10 Problem-Solving Activities for Preschoolers
Here are 10 simple, easy games and problem solving activities for kids at home or at school. Many of them are the kinds of activities children should have daily exposure to.
Puzzles are one of the best thinking activities out there. Each puzzle is basically one big set of muddled-up things to be sorted out and put back together again. Find out why puzzles are important for development .
Children should have regular exposure to puzzles. They are great for developing thinking skills.
2. Memory games
Memory games will develop your child’s memory and attention to detail.
Get your own memory game cards by downloading the FREE set of printables at the end of the post.
Use pairs of matching pictures and turn them all face down, shuffled, on a table. Take turns choosing any two cards and turning them face up on the table. If you turn over a matching pair you keep the cards and if the pair doesn’t match, turn the cards back over until it is your turn to try again.
Encourage your child to concentrate and pay attention to where the pictures are and try to find a matching pair on each turn.
3. Building with Construction Toys
Construction toys such as engineering blocks , a proper set of wooden blocks or Legos should be a daily staple in your home.
Everything your child builds is a challenge because it requires thinking about what to build and how to put the pieces together to get a design that works and is functional.
Leave your child to construct freely and occasionally set a challenge and ask him to build a specific structure, with conditions. For example:
- Make two towers with a bridge joining them together
- Build a creature that stands on its own and has 3 arms.
Then watch your child wracking his brain until he finds a way to make his structure work.
4. Activity Books
These activity books are really fun and develop a child’s ability to identify problems and search for information.
5. Following Patterns
This simple activity can be played with a set of coloured blocks , shapes or counters.
Simply make a pattern with the blocks and ask your child to continue it. Vary the pattern by changing the colours, shapes or sizes.
This activity will train your child to analyse the given information, make sense of it, recognise the pattern and re-create it.
6. Story Time Questions
Get into the habit of asking questions during your daily story time that develop higher-order thinking skills . Instead of just reading and your child passively listening, ask questions throughout, concentrating on solving problems.
Here are some examples:
- Why do you think the bear did that?
- Do you think his friend will be happy? Why?
- What would you do if you were the monkey?
- How do you think Peter can make things better with his friend?
- If the crocodile had decided not to eat the rabbit, how could the story have ended?
7. Board Games
Board games are an excellent way to develop problem-solving skills.
Start off with simple games like Ludo and Snakes and Ladders to teach the skill of following rules and moving in a logical sequence.
Card games like Go Fish are also great for teaching young children to think ahead and solve problems.
This is a perfect game to teach decision-making skills , thinking before acting and weighing up the possible consequences.
Use a Tic Tac Toe Board or d raw a simple table like the one above on paper or a chalkboard. Take turns to add a nought or a cross to the table and see who can make a row of three first.
Your child will probably catch on in no time and start thinking carefully before placing their symbol. This game can also be played with coloured counters or different objects.
9. Classifying and Grouping Activities
This activity can be done with a tin of buttons or beads or even by unpacking the dishwasher. The idea is to teach the skill of classifying and categorizing information by learning with physical objects. Here are some other ideas for categorizing:
- Separate the washing – mom’s clothes, dad’s clothes, etc; or socks, tops, shorts, etc.
- Empty out the cutlery drawer for cleaning, mix all the utensils up and then sort into knives, tablespoons, teaspoons, etc.
- Classify and sort out the toys in your child’s bedroom together – all books, construction toys, soft toys, etc.
- Play category games .
Here are more button activities for kids .
10. Building a Maze
This activity is lots of fun and suitable for any age. It is also going to be way more fun than doing a maze in an activity book, especially for younger children.
Draw a big maze on the paving with sidewalk chalk . Make passages, including one or two that end in a dead-end. Teach your child to find her way out .
As your child gets better at figuring out a route and finding the way out, make the maze more complex and add more dead-end passages.
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Friday 3rd of June 2022
hi maam , This Is Uma from India,Can i get this in pdf format or a book. Thank You
Monday 6th of June 2022
Hi Uma, thanks for your message. These articles are not available in PDF, but you are welcome to copy and paste them from the website, as long as you add the reference: https://empoweredparents.co/problem-solving-activities-preschoolers/ Thanks for reading!
Wednesday 20th of May 2020
Very very useful content. Good work. Thank you.
Friday 22nd of May 2020
Tuesday 19th of May 2020
Would like to download the free activity pack please.
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Top 15 Problem Solving Activities for Kids [2022 List]
As they get older, children have countless opportunities to learn about the world. They do, however, face issues daily, whether it be peer pressure, complex mathematical computations, or arguments with their peers.
The advantages of problem-solving abilities for children are vast, and they may help them deal with such circumstances efficiently.
They will learn to develop practical answers on their own, without the assistance of an adult. Furthermore, when faced with challenges, students will be more confident in their abilities to use problem-solving skills and generate unique solutions on their own.
Read on to learn about the importance of problem-solving abilities in children, how to install this talent in them, and some activities to help them develop this important skill.
Table of contents
The importance of problem solving skills in children .
- How to Teach Children Problem-Solving Skills?
15 Problem Solving Activities for Kids
Children gain from problem-solving in a variety of ways. It is beneficial to them.
- Deal with problems in regular life.
- Make sound judgments.
- Along the way, learn additional skills including teamwork, critical thinking, and collaboration.
- Problems should be solved without being broken down.
- Consider thinking beyond the box.
- Develop your independence.
How to Teach Children Problem-Solving Skills?
Here are a few ideas for encouraging your child to use their problem-solving abilities.
- Put it to the Test!
Encourage your youngster to accept the challenge when they are confronted with a problem. If the outcomes are unsuccessful, they might try different strategies.
Your child will be able to think about a subject from several angles as a result.
- Seek Counsel
Decision-making is a tough task. For example, you could have difficulty deciding what to prepare for supper or what to wear to the movies. Asking your children for assistance in decisions is an excellent choice.
When you approach them for guidance, they believe that they are not alone in their struggles. When you appreciate their ideas, they will gain the confidence to tackle challenges on their own.
- Take a Long, Deep Breath.
Maintaining your calm in difficult situations is one of the first steps toward effective problem-solving. Even among children, when their emotions run wild, it is difficult to think sensibly, and the temptation to make rash judgments increases.
It is critical to encourage your youngster to take deep breaths whenever they feel out of control of their emotions. They can better appraise the problem once they are calm.
- State the Issue Verbally.
Your child should openly express how they feel and what they are going through when they have calmed down. It provides them with a distinct perspective and facilitates the generation of alternate solutions.
- Do not give “The Solution”
It is not a good idea to provide immediate solutions to children’s problems. Instead, provide them with advice to assist them in solving the problem on their own. This will help them to think about solutions that are beneficial to them.
- Set a Good Example
Children quickly absorb knowledge like sponges. Therefore, when you approach an issue and find a workable solution, children will be inspired by your strategy and want to follow you.
- Allow the Natural Consequences to Play out.
Allowing a situation to take its course is sometimes the best approach to dealing with it. So, if your child encounters a challenge, let them be.
Assume your child spent their entire weekly allowance in a day or two; allow them to go the entire week without receiving any money. This will position them to make better decisions in the future.
There is no better way to learn than by playing. The following exercises are enjoyable and challenge youngsters to demonstrate their problem-solving abilities.
For kids, puzzles are fantastic games for problem-solving. They come at various levels of difficulty. The appropriate one may be chosen based on your child’s age.
If you give children a puzzle, they will learn to consider the issue or question, generate potential answers, and select one.
Additionally, the practice will help students improve their hand-eye coordination, gross motor skills, and critical thinking.
- Scavenger Quest
Scavenger hunts are an instructive activity that every parent should offer to their children. It is a low-cost, easy, and entertaining activity that can be practiced both inside and outside and just requires materials you already have at home.
The activity encourages youngsters to think beyond the box. They are pleasantly acquiring problem-solving skills without even realizing it.
The advantages of reading are countless. Problem-solving is one of them. While reading, children are introduced to several characters and their roles. They frequently connect with these figures.
So, if kids encounter an issue, ask them how their favourite character would solve it. Encourage them to produce as many options as they can and discuss the results of each.
- Arts and Crafts
Another fantastic technique to educate youngsters about problem-solving abilities is via arts and crafts. Give your child a variety of things from around the house. Allow them to create fantastic creations or repair damaged devices or toys.
Give them complete freedom to do their task and only offer guidance when they are running out of ideas.
- Free-Form Questions
Asking open-ended questions is an excellent method to help your child think creatively and critically and develop their problem-solving abilities.
As there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, and the answer extends beyond a simple “no” or “yes,” they must give some consideration to their responses.
The questions mentioned in the image above are some examples of open-ended questions.
Mazes are enjoyable and safe for people of all ages. Working on mazes forces them to think. The practice also helps them strengthen their motor skills, observation skills, sense of direction, and problem-solving abilities.
Think beyond book mazes. There are other maze games available on the internet. They will get better at finding their way out with practice. You may eventually give them increasingly difficult mazes to solve.
- A Little Treasure Quest
The whole family can enjoy a treasure hunt. If they believe they will succeed, you can maintain their concentration on the task at hand.
Give them tips that encourage them to use their imaginations and resolve issues to win the prize.
- Toy Construction
Give your kids building materials like LEGO, wood blocks, engineering blocks, etc., and let them construct anything they want.
Toy construction requires your child to consider what to make, how to assemble the parts, and produce creative solutions to make sure the design is functional.
You can occasionally ask them to build something challenging, like a monster with three arms or two buildings joined by a bridge. Watch as they struggle to come up with a structure.
- Woollen Web
Each child should be given a piece of colorful yarn, and they should be told to construct a circle. The yarn ball is passed from one person to the next by wrapping their finger around it.
Once everyone got an opportunity to hold the ball and wrap the yarn around their finger, a web would begin to grow. Now, blindfold one person and instruct them to unwind the web by following the vocal directions of the others.
To figure out a way out, this group exercise requires collaboration, attention, patience, coordination, concentration, and problem-solving abilities.
- The Human Knot
It is a simple game, but very entertaining. A group of youngsters is required for this game. Form a circle with the youngsters and have them raise their hands.
Begin with one player, who must use their right hand to grasp a player’s hand from across the circle and their left hand to grasp someone else’s hand. Examine whether everyone has held both hands with various players.
They must now detangle themselves without breaking the circle. When everyone’s hands are free and they are back in the circle, the challenge is over.
- Improvised Skits
Form teams out of the players. On pieces of paper, write out several scenarios, such as coping with bullying at school or resolving a quarrel between siblings, folding them, and arranging them in a bowl.
Each team or participant chooses a chit and executes the scenario. You may give them a deadline to get ready. These impromptu activities help kids see a problem, come up with a solution, and implement it.
- Group Drawing
Another excellent team-building activity for developing children’s problem-solving skills is group sketching. Form groups of three youngsters.
Each of the team’s three members has a certain function to play. The teacher comes next. The instructor is the one who offers the drawer verbal directions on how to draw a certain design.
The spectator examines the design. However, they are not permitted to speak and must interact with the instructor by using gestures. When the viewer is happy with the drawer’s image, you have a winner. Allow the kids to take turns playing various parts.
- Give me a Hint!
Clue Me In is an entertaining detective game that promotes cognitive growth, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Begin by choosing five to six target responses, such as a prominent figure, an animal, a historical event, a societal trend, or a career. Collect five to ten objects related to each goal answer. They might also be images from the Internet.
Sort them into various bags. Determine how many hints a child can select before making a guess. If there are two, let the youngster choose two clues from a bag and make their first guess. See who can respond the fastest.
- Survivor Case Studies
Here is another game where no items are required. In this game, you must construct pretend-play scenarios for youngsters to solve, and they must analyze and think creatively to do so.
For example, tell them, “You’re stranded on an island, and you know aid won’t arrive for two days” or “How will you build a shelter for yourself out of the materials around you?”
Kids are encouraged by this to think of many scenarios and come up with solutions to the problem.
- Ethical Quandary
Children are frequently put in challenging circumstances. This simple game will help children deal with these situations without them even being aware of them.
Write down several difficulties on pieces of paper, such as “The cashier handed me $1 more in change; what should I do?” or “I watched my friend harassing someone at school.” Should I intervene or let them go? Fold it up and put it in a bowl.
Give each child the opportunity to select one piece of paper, read it aloud, and provide creative solutions to the problem at hand.
Problem-solving is a crucial skill to have. Guiding kids in this decision-making skill not only enhances their thinking and creative ability but also trains them to face problems in the future and figure out good decisions.
The above-mentioned activities for kids are some of those, that will help them develop decision-making skills.
To learn more about problem solving activities for kids, check out the fun yet amazing articles on the BrightCHAMPS blog.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Children are believed to have learned the basics of problem-solving by the age of three. However, it is not perfected since it is hampered by a short attention span and trouble grasping problems on its own. Children grow better at solving problems as they get older.
The three most prevalent problem-solving techniques are: ● Trial and error: trying several solutions to an issue until it is solved. ● Algorithm: The process of solving a problem by following a step-by-step formula. ● Following a problem-solving framework, such as breaking it down into steps, is a heuristic.
These games can help you improve your problem-solving, planning, multitasking, and pattern identification skills. ● Crossword puzzles. ● Sudoku puzzles. ● Jigsaw puzzles. ● Chess. Board games. ● Computer games. ● List games.
Creative problem-solving is a technique that employs imagination and invention. This technique encourages the creative aspect of issue resolution and allows for the generation of fresh ideas in novel ways. It also makes the process more enjoyable and fosters teamwork.
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How to Teach Problem-Solving Skills to Children and Preteens
- By Ashley Cullins
Whether it’s a toy-related conflict, a tough math equation, or negative peer pressure, kids of ALL ages face problems and challenges on a daily basis.
As parents or teachers, we can’t always be there to solve every problem for our children. In fact, this isn’t our job. Our job is to TEACH our children how to solve problems by themselves . This way, they can become confident , independent, and successful individuals.
Instead of giving up or getting frustrated when they encounter a challenge, kids with problem-solving skills manage their emotions, think creatively, and persist until they find a solution. Naturally, these abilities go hand-in-hand with a growth mindset .
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our FREE Your Words Matter Volume 2 Kit . With these 10 one-page parenting guides, you will know exactly how to speak to your child to help them stand up for themselves, be more confident, and develop a growth mindset.
So HOW do you teach problem-solving skills to kids?
Well, it depends on their age . As cognitive abilities and the size of the child’s challenges grow/evolve over time, so should your approach to teaching problem-solving skills.
Read on to learn key strategies for teaching problem-solving to kids, as well as some age-by-age ideas and activities.
3 General Strategies to Teach Problem-Solving at Any Age
1. model effective problem-solving .
When YOU encounter a challenge, do a “think-aloud” for the benefit of your child. MODEL how to apply the same problem-solving skills you’ve been working on together, giving the real-world examples that she can implement in her own life.
At the same time, show your child a willingness to make mistakes . Everyone encounters problems, and that’s okay. Sometimes the first solution you try won’t work, and that’s okay too!
When you model problem-solving, explain that there are some things that are out of our control. As we're solving a problem at hand we should focus on the things we CAN actually control.
You and your child can listen to Episode 35 of the Big Life Kids Podcast to learn about focusing on what you can control.
2. Ask for Advice
Ask your kids for advice when you have a problem. This teaches them that it’s common to make mistakes and face challenges. It also gives them the opportunity to practice problem-solving skills.
Plus, when you indicate that their ideas are valued , they’ll gain the confidence to attempt solving problems on their own.
3. Don’t Provide “The Answer”
As difficult as it may be, allow your child to struggle, sometimes fail , and ultimately LEARN from experiencing consequences.
Now, let’s take a look at some age-specific strategies and activities. The ages listed below are general guidelines, feel free to choose any strategies or activities that you feel will work for YOUR child.
Use Emotion Coaching
To step into a problem-solving mindset, young children need to first learn to manage their emotions . After all, it’s difficult for a small child to logically consider solutions to a problem if he’s mid-tantrum.
One way to accomplish this is by using the emotion coaching process outlined by John Gottman.
First, teach your kids that ALL emotions are acceptable. There are NO “bad” emotions. Even seemingly negative emotions like anger, sadness, and frustration can teach us valuable lessons. What matters is how we respond to these emotions.
Second, follow this process:
- Step One: Naming and validating emotions. When your child is upset, help her process the way she’s feeling. Say something like, “I understand that you’re upset because Jessica is playing with the toy you wanted.”
- Step Two: Processing emotions. Guide your child to her calming space. If she doesn't have one, it's a good idea to create one. Let her calm her body and process her emotions so she can problem-solve, learn, and grow.
- Step Three: Problem Solving. Brainstorm solutions with your child, doing more LISTENING than talking during the conversation. This allows your child to practice her problem-solving skills, and she’s more likely to actually implement the solutions she came up with herself.
Say, “Show Me the Hard Part”
When your child struggles or feels frustrated, try a technique suggested by mom and parenting blogger Lauren Tamm . Simply say, “Show me the hard part.”
This helps your child identify the ROOT of the problem, making it less intimidating and easier to solve.
Repeat back what your child says, “So you’re saying…”
Once you both understand the real problem, prompt your child to come up with solutions . “There must be some way you can fix that…” or “There must be something you can do…”
Now that your child has identified “the hard part,” she’ll likely be able to come up with a solution. If not, help her brainstorm some ideas. You may try asking the question, “If you DID know, what would you think?” and see what she comes up with.
Problem-Solve with Creative Play
Allow your child to choose activities and games based on her interests . Free play provides plenty of opportunities to navigate and creatively solve problems.
Children often learn best through play. Playing with items like blocks, simple puzzles, and dress-up clothes can teach your child the process of problem-solving.
Even while playing, your child thinks critically: Where does this puzzle piece fit? What does this do? I want to dress up as a queen. What should I wear? Where did I put my tiara? Is it under the couch?
Problem-Solve with Storybooks
Read age-appropriate stories featuring characters who experience problems, such as:
- Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy by Jacky Davis: The story of two friends who want to play together but can’t find a game to agree on. After taking turns making suggestions, they arrive at a game they both want to play: Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy.
- The Curious George Series by Margaret and H.E. Rey: A curious little monkey gets into and out of dilemmas, teaching kids to find solutions to problems of their own.
- Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber: Ira’s thrilled to have a sleepover at his friend Reggie’s house. But there’s one problem: Should he or should he not bring his teddy bear? It may seem small, but this is the type of early social problem your child might relate to.
Connect these experiences to similar events in your child’s own life, and ASK your child HOW the characters in these stories could solve their problems. Encourage a variety of solutions, and discuss the possible outcomes of each.
This is a form of dialogue reading , or actively ENGAGING your child in the reading experience. Interacting with the text instead of passively listening can “turbocharge” the development of literacy skills such as comprehension in preschool-aged children.
By asking questions about the characters’ challenges, you can also give your child’s problem-solving abilities a boost.
You can even have your child role-play the problem and potential solutions to reinforce the lesson.
For book suggestions, refer to our Top 85 Growth Mindset Books for Children & Adults list.
Teach the Problem-Solving Steps
Come up with a simple problem-solving process for your child, one that you can consistently implement. For example, you might try the following five steps:
- Step 1: What am I feeling? Help your child understand what she’s feeling in the moment (frustration, anger, curiosity, disappointment, excitement, etc.) Noticing and naming emotions will diffuse their charge and give your child a chance to take a step back.
- Step 2: What’s the problem? Guide your child to identify the specific problem. In most cases, help her take responsibility for what happened rather than pointing fingers. For instance, instead of, “Joey got me in trouble at recess,” your child might say, “I got in trouble at recess for arguing with Joey.”
- Step 3: What are the solutions? Encourage your child to come up with as many solutions as possible. At this point, they don’t even need to be “good” solutions. They’re just brainstorming here, not yet evaluating the ideas they’ve generated.
- Step 4: What would happen if…? What would happen if your child attempted each of these solutions? Is the solution safe and fair? How will it make others feel? You can also try role-playing at this step. It’s important for your child to consider BOTH positive and negative consequences of her actions.
- Step 5: Which one will I try? Ask your child to pick one or more solutions to try. If the solution didn't work, discuss WHY and move on to another one. Encourage your child to keep trying until the problem is solved.
Consistently practice these steps so that they become second nature, and model solving problems of your own the same way. It's a good idea to reflect : What worked? What didn’t? What can you do differently next time?
Problem-Solve with Craft Materials
Crafting is another form of play that can teach kids to solve problems creatively.
Provide your child with markers, modeling clay, cardboard boxes, tape, paper, etc. They’ll come up with all sorts of interesting creations and inventive games with these simple materials.
These “open-ended toys” don’t have a “right way to play,” allowing your child to get creative and generate ideas independently .
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Asking open-ended questions improves a child’s ability to think critically and creatively, ultimately making them better problem-solvers. Examples of open-ended questions include:
- How could we work together to solve this?
- How did you work it out? or How do you know that?
- Tell me about what you built, made, or created.
- What do you think will happen next?
- What do you think would happen if…?
- What did you learn?
- What was easy? What was hard?
- What would you do differently next time?
Open-ended questions have no right answer and can’t be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No.”
You can ask open-ended questions even when your child isn’t currently solving a problem to help her practice her thinking skills, which will come in handy when she does have a problem to solve.
If you need some tips on how to encourage a growth mindset in your child, don't forget to download our FREE Your Words Matter Volume 2 Kit .
Break Down Problems into Chunks
This strategy is a more advanced version of “Show me the hard part.”
The bigger your child gets, the bigger her problems get too. When your child is facing a challenge that seems overwhelming or insurmountable, encourage her to break it into smaller, more manageable chunks.
For instance, let’s say your child has a poor grade in history class. Why is the grade so low? What are the causes of this problem?
As usual, LISTEN as your child brainstorms, asking open-ended questions to help if she gets stuck.
If the low grade is the result of missing assignments, perhaps your child can make a list of these assignments and tackle them one at a time. Or if tests are the issue, what’s causing your child to struggle on exams?
Perhaps she’s distracted by friends in the class, has trouble asking for help, and doesn’t spend enough time studying at home. Once you’ve identified these “chunks,” help your child tackle them one at a time until the problem is solved.
Show “ The Broken Escalator Video ”
Discuss the importance of embracing challenges and solving problems independently with the “broken escalator video.”
In the video, an escalator unexpectedly breaks. The people on the escalator are “stuck” and yelling for help. At this age, it’s likely that your child will find the video funny and immediately offer a solution: “Just walk! Get off the escalator!”
Tell your child that this is a simple example of how people sometimes act in difficult situations. Ask, “Why do you think they didn’t get off the escalator?” (they didn’t know how, they were waiting for help, etc.)
Sometimes, your child might feel “stuck” when facing problems. They may stop and ask for help before even attempting to find a solution. Encourage your child to embrace challenges and work through problems instead.
Problem-Solve with Prompts
Provide your child or a group of children with materials such as straws, cotton balls, yarn, clothespins, tape, paper clips, sticky notes, Popsicle sticks, etc.
With just these materials, challenge your kids to solve unusual problems like:
- Make a leprechaun trap
- Create a jump ramp for cars
- Design your own game with rules
- Make a device for two people to communicate with one another
This is a fun way to practice critical thinking and creative problem-solving. Most likely, it will take multiple attempts to find a solution that works, which can apply to just about any aspect of life.
Make Them Work for It
When your child asks for a new toy, technology, or clothes, have her make a plan to obtain the desired item herself. Not only will your child have to brainstorm and evaluate solutions, but she’ll also gain confidence .
Ask your child HOW she can earn the money for the item that she wants, and encourage her as she works toward her goal .
Put It on Paper
Have your child write out their problems on paper and brainstorm some potential solutions.
But now, she takes this process a step further: After attempting each solution, which succeeded? Which were unsuccessful? Why ?
This helps your child reflect on various outcomes, learning what works and what doesn’t. The lessons she learns here will be useful when she encounters similar problems in the future.
Play Chess Together
Learning to play chess is a great way for kids to learn problem-solving AND build their brains at the same time. It requires players to use critical thinking, creativity, analysis of the board, recognize patterns, and more. There are online versions of the game, books on how to play, videos, and other resources. Don’t know how to play? Learn with your teen to connect and problem solve together!
Have Them Learn To Code
Our teens and tweens are already tech-savvy and can use their skills to solve problems by learning to code. Coding promotes creativity, logic, planning, and persistence . There are many great tools and online or in-person programs that can boost your child’s coding skills.
Encourage to Start a Meaningful Project
This project has to be meaningful to your teen, for example starting a YouTube channel. Your teen will practice problem-solving skills as they’re figuring out how to grow their audience, how to have their videos discovered, and much more.
In the Big Life Journal - Teen Edition , there’s a section that guides them through planning their YouTube channel and beginning the problem-solving process.
Apply the SODAS Method
Looking for a game plan that your teen can employ when faced with a problem? The SODAS method can be used for big or small problems. Just remember this simple acronym and follow these ideas:
- D isadvantages
- A dvantages
Encourage to Join Problem-Solving Groups
Does your teen enjoy solving problems in a team? Have them join a group or club that helps them hone their skills in a variety of settings--from science and robotics to debating and international affairs. Some examples of groups include:
- Odyssey of the Mind
- Debate team
- Science Olympiad
Looking for additional resources? The Bestseller’s Bundle includes our three most popular printable kits packed with science-based activities, guides, and crafts for children. Our Growth Mindset Kit, Resilience Kit, and Challenges Kit work together as a comprehensive system designed specifically for children ages 5-11.
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25 thoughts on “ How to Teach Problem-Solving Skills to Children and Preteens ”
I love, love, love the point about emotional coaching. It’s so important to identify how children are feeling about a problem and then approach the solutions accordingly.
Thank you for putting this together. I wrote an article on problem-solving specifically from the point of view of developing a STEM aptitude in kids, if you like to check it out – https://kidpillar.com/how-to-teach-problem-solving-to-your-kids-5-8-years/
I feel that these techniques will work for my kid.. Worthy.. Thank you
I love you guys
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Brain Teasers for Kids (with Answers)
Are you ready to test how smart your kids are? 3,500 various kids brain teasers, riddles, math and logic puzzles await you!
Warm-up brain twisting questions for kids
What does a snowman eat for breakfast?
Which side of a turkey has the most feathers?
What always goes to bed with its shoes on?
What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?
What can you keep after giving it to someone?
What is seen in the middle of March and April?
The alphabet "r".
Look in my face, I am somebody; Look in my back, I am nobody. What am I?
What never gets any wetter no matter how hard it rains?
How many men were born last year?
No one, only babies were born.
How long is the answer to this question?
What can you keep but cannot share and once you share it, you can’t keep it anymore?
What ends everything always?
The alphabet "g".
What are two things you cannot eat for supper?
Breakfast and Lunch.
Choose the difficulty level
Brain teasers by logiclike are suitable for children of all ages, fun and challenging brain teasers for kindergarten and school.
Solving riddles and brain teasers for 15-20 minutes per day improves children's performance in primary school!
Easy | Numbers | Logical | Mathematical | Fun | Hard
Easy riddles for preschoolers
Guess the item Choose a shape that: - Isn't big and isn't green. - Has angles.
The blue square.
Not an elephant, but gray. Choose all the answers that fit.
The wolf and the key.
Explore other brain puzzles, good riddles and logic questions by Logiclike team.
The numbers can't be bigger than 20. Which digits can a circle be equal to?
Solve the Kakuro puzzle. Start from the bottom horizontal row.
Are you ready for more number puzzles and riddles for kids ?
Logical Puzzles for kids
Name the opposite to Night: Sun, Day or Light?
What's changed? Color, shape, size?
Have eyes for even more cool logic puzzles for kids and parents!
Math Puzzles with answers
Max read from page 7 through page 17. How many pages did he read?
Take some more math brain teasers for kids .
Fun brain teasers for schoolchildren
Olive's mom has five daughters: Bella, Annie, Martha, Kate... What is the fifth one's name?
Max took two good shots and gained 4 points. Annie took two good shots and gained 6 points. Which balloons are left?
Hard logical riddles for kids
The rooms were numbered in orderly fashion, starting from the number 1. 41 digits were used in total. How many rooms were numbered?
By how much will any two-digit number multiply when written down twice in a row?
The LogicLike team created and put unique brain teasers and puzzles into a logical order. Easy to hard math and logic brain teasers for kids and their parents, 3D thinking, number puzzles, and more.
Become a part of our amazing community of kids and adults, families and friends, and solve puzzles and brain teasers from everywhere!
More riddles, puzzles and brain teasers for kids
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45 Fun and Clever Brain Teasers for Kids with Answers!
Reviewed by Sarah Tino, M.Ed.
Engage and motivate your students with our adaptive, game-based learning platform!
- Game-Based Learning
- What brain teasers are
- The benefits of brain teasers for kids
Math brain teasers for kids
Sometimes keeping your students engaged during a (long) school day feels like a losing battle. How do you gain their full attention while teaching the skills they need to succeed? How do you turn tough and intimidating concepts into fun, entertaining lessons that actually spark life in the classroom?
Brain teasers for kids are a great form of game-based learning that not only entertain children but also inspire some creative thought in the classroom. People of all ages can indulge in these playful — yet challenging — activities.
And some examples of when teachers might want to use brain teasers are on a bulletin board in the classroom, as a partnered activity to start a new concept or lesson, or during a rainy day indoor recess box.
We’ve gathered 45 examples of brain teasers for kids with answers, organized by category:
Table of Contents
Language brain teasers for kids :
Riddles ; Language associations ; Lateral thinking problems.
Math brain teasers for kids :
Math riddles ; Pattern problems ; Prodigy.
Visual brain teasers for kids :
Spot the difference ; Rebus puzzles ; Optical illusions ; Stroop effect test.
Use the list below to find the perfect brain teaser for your class!
What are brain teasers?
Before you explore our examples, you might be wondering what brain teasers actually are.
Cambridge Dictionary defines a brain teaser as “a problem for which it is hard to find the answer, especially one which people enjoy trying to solve as a game.”
Brain teasers are a type of puzzle — and as the list below reveals, they come in many different forms. Often presented as a riddle, question or activity, brain teasers require a little extra brainpower to solve.
It's important to note that if you have any English language learners in your class, brain teasers for kids might pose a challenge for them. If that's the case, they might need you to walk them through the brain teaser more closely, or you can find ones that better suit their language level.
Brain teasers for kids differ from other complex or abstract problems because they’re usually done for fun. Although you can use them to analyze problem-solving and critical thinking skills, they’re often used as an amusing activity to encourage logical and lateral thinking , or thinking “outside the box.”
45 Brain teasers for kids
We’ve compiled a list of language, math and visual brain teasers to get your students thinking. Get inspired by the examples below — including answers!
Language brain teasers for kids
When you hear the term “brain teaser,” a riddle is likely the first thing that comes to mind. Riddles are perplexing — sometimes misleading — questions or statements that require creative thought to solve.
Riddles are usually fun, and plenty of them can add some humour to your classroom.
Enjoy our list of riddles for kids below!
a) Billy’s mother had five children. The first was named Lala, the second was named Lele, the third was named Lili, the fourth was named Lolo. What was the fifth child named?
b) Choose the correct sentence: “The yolk of the egg is white” or “the yolk of the egg is white.”
c) It’s as light as a feather, but the strongest person can’t hold it for more than five minutes. What is it?
d) The more there is, the less you see. What is it?
e) What gets more wet while it dries?
f) You can find it in Mercury, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, but not in Venus or Neptune. What is it?
g) It likes food, but water kills it. What is it?
h) What’s full of holes but can still hold water?
i) Which is heavier, a pound of feathers or a pound of rocks?
j) How far can a dog run into the woods?
k) You’re driving a city bus. At the first stop, three women get on. At the second stop, one woman gets off and a man gets on. At the third stop, two children get on. The bus is blue and it’s raining outside in December. What colour is the bus driver’s hair?
l) There are three houses. One is red, one is blue and one is white. If the red house is to the left of the house in the middle, and the blue house is to the right of the house in the middle, where’s the white house?
m) It’s at the center of gravity and you can find it in Venus, but not Mars. What is it?
n) What goes on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon and three in the evening? (This is from the classic myth, Oedipus and the Riddle of the Sphinx )
o) What travels faster: heat or cold?
p) A man was walking in the rain in the middle of nowhere without a coat or an umbrella. He got soaked, but not a single hair on his head was wet. How can this be?
q) A cowboy rode into town on Friday. He stayed in town for three days and rode back out on Friday. How is this possible?
b) Neither. Egg yolks are yellow, not white!
f) The letter “R”
h) A sponge
i) Neither. Both weigh a pound!
j) Halfway. Once it reaches halfway, it’s running out of the woods.
k) Whatever colour your hair is. Remember, you’re driving the bus!
l) In Washington, D.C.
m) The letter “V”
n) A human. The times of day represent stages of human life. At the beginning of life, a baby crawls on four “feet.” As a person gets older, they walk on two feet. Later in life, a person will walk on three “feet” (two feet, plus a cane to help them walk).
o) Heat travels faster because you can catch a cold!
p) He was bald.
q) The horse’s name was Friday.
As a bonus, use these riddles to challenge preconceived notions and get students thinking about natural bias .
a) Two boxers are in a match scheduled for 12 rounds. (Pure boxing only - no kicking, UFC takedowns, or anything else). One of the boxers gets knocked out after only six rounds, yet no man throws a punch. How is this possible?
b) A father and son have a car accident and both are very injured. They are taken to separate hospitals for treatment. When the boy is taken in for an operation, the surgeon says, “I can’t do this surgery…. this boy is my son!” How is this possible?
a) The two boxers are women.
b) The surgeon is the boy’s mother.
2. Language associations
These brain teasers for kids explore the complexities of the English language. Use them to boost student knowledge of sounds, words, spelling, categorization and more.a) Word association : find a word that associates with the following sets of words.
- Cake, swiss, cottage
- Glasses, screen, day
- Cream, cube, cap
- Knife, fly, cup
b) Find the mystery word . Replace the third letter of each word with a new letter to create a different word. When read vertically, the new letters will reveal the mystery word.
For example, the word MA K E could become MA R E, MA L E, MA T E and so on. It’s your job to figure out which one works to create the mystery word.
Hint: It’s something you’ll find outside.
c) Find rhyming pairs . Unscramble the words below so that each pair of words rhymes.
- RBAE & HREAS
- WNROED & UTRHNDE
- TUGHAT & HBTUGO
- ODULC & ODOG
Mystery word: FLOWER
- BEAR (or BARE) & SHARE
- WONDER & THUNDER
- TAUGHT & BOUGHT
- COULD & GOOD
You can also use printable brain teasers for kids like this one:
Image source: Spelling Words Well
Answer: The “happy word” is SMILE.
3. Lateral thinking problems
Lateral thinking problems require creative thinking with an indirect approach.
These questions require logic and careful thought to solve. The most notable example of a lateral thinking problem is the classic Monty Hall problem .
Here are two examples of lateral thinking problems kids can try to solve.
a) The river crossing problem
Image source: Popular Mechanics
A farmer is travelling with a fox, a goose, and a bag of beans. During his journey, he comes across a river with a boat to cross it.
The farmer can only fit one thing in the boat with him at a time. If left alone together, the fox will eat the goose or the goose will eat the beans. How does the farmer get everything across the river safely?
b) The light bulb problem
There are three light switches outside of a room-- labeled number one, number two, and number three. The door to the room is closed and you can’t see in. All three switches are off.
You need to figure out which switch belongs to which bulb. You can use the switches however you want to, but can only enter the room once. How do you do it?
a) Here’s the step-by-step solution:
- The farmer brings the goose across the river first (if he leaves the goose alone, it will either eat the beans or be eaten by the fox).
- The farmer brings either the fox or the beans across and leaves the other one alone.
- Now the farmer has two items on the other side of the river, including the goose. If he leaves the goose again, the same problem will occur. So, the farmer must bring the goose back to the other side.
- The farmer brings the other item back (either the fox or the beans) and leaves the goose alone again. The fox and the beans are now on the other side of the river.
- The farmer returns and brings the goose across the river again.
b) Turn on the first switch and leave it on. Turn on the second switch for a few minutes, and then turn it off again. When you enter the room, one light bulb will be on. You’ll know it goes with switch one because you turned it on. Another bulb will be hot. You’ll know that goes with switch two because it was on for a little while. The bulb that’s off and cold goes with switch three because you didn’t touch it.
Like math puzzles , these brain teasers for kids can increase engagement with math content and inspire your students to work on math concepts and problems outside of regular lessons.
1. Math riddles
These riddles are just as amusing as the ones above, but they’re math-focused . Use them to give students some extra math practice and encourage resourceful thinking.
a) Divide 30 by ½ and add 10. What’s the answer?
b) A clerk at the butcher shop is six feet tall and wears size 10 shoes. What does he weigh?
c) A farmer has 19 sheep on his land. One day, a big storm hits and all but seven run away. How many sheep does the farmer have left?
d) Your sock drawer only contains 18 white socks and 18 blue socks. How many times do you need to reach inside the drawer and take out a sock to guarantee a matching pair?
e) You planted sunflower seeds in your back garden. Every day, the number of flowers doubles. If it takes 52 days for the flowers to fill the garden, how many days would it take for them to fill half the garden?
f) Using only addition, how can you use eight eights to get the number 1,000?
g) When Ashley was 15, her mother was 37. Now, her mother is twice her age. How old is Ashley?
a) It's 70. You’re dividing 30 by ½, not by two. Thirty divided by ½ is the same thing as multiplying it by two, which is 60. Plus 10 makes 70!
b) Meat. He works at the butcher shop, so he weighs meat for a living.
c) Seven. The riddle says all but seven run away, meaning there are seven left who didn’t.
d) Three times. On the third time, you’ll get either a white or a blue sock to match with one of the other two you’ve already grabbed.
e) It would take 51 days. If the number of flowers doubles every day, half the garden would be full the day before, on the 51st day.
f) 888 +88 +8 +8 +8
g) Ashley is 22. Her mother is 22 years older, so when Ashley is 22, she’s now half her mother’s age.
2. Pattern problems
These questions require students to identify a pattern before they can answer a particular question. Kids must use creative and logical thinking to find the answers.
4 + 4 = 168
5 + 5 = 2510.
b) What makes this number unique: 8,549,176,320?
c) Solve the pattern puzzle below. Find the missing number to replace the question mark.
Image source: Genius Puzzles
d) Solve the following:
Image source: AOL
a) The missing number is 3612. The answer is the number multiplied by itself and then the number added to itself. Six multiplied by six is 36, and six plus six is 12.
b) It contains each one-digit number, zero through nine, listed in alphabetical order.
c) The missing number is 17. Each number in the circle is the sum of the numbers in the opposite quadrant. In this case, the numbers are eight and nine — added together makes 17.
d) The answer is 14 (or 16), if you’re on the other side of the debate .
3. Prodigy Math Game
This math activity is a bit different from others on the list. It’s not a traditional brain teaser, but it can also be used as a fun, skill-building alternative to traditional math class.
Prodigy is a game-based learning platform that takes your students on an online fantasy adventure while they answer standards-aligned math questions. It’s engaging and effective at teaching necessary skills.
Prodigy's free teacher tools help you differentiate learning, send assessments in-game and even collect student insights!
Visual brain teasers for kids
1. spot the difference.
This ever-popular activity might remind you of your own childhood — and kids still love it! Spot the difference puzzles require lots of deduction and attention to detail.
Here’s an example of a printable spot the difference activity.
Image source: Tim’s Printables
2. Rebus puzzles
A rebus is a visual word puzzle that uses lateral thinking to find its intended meaning. The word or phrase is depicted with a visual illustration, including letters and words. Students must think creatively to figure out the meaning from the clues they’re given.
Image source: Wikipedia
Image source: Stack Exchange
a) Top secret
b) Think outside the box
Visit the link below if you want more fun rebus puzzles for your students:
3. Optical illusions
Get tricky with your students! Optical illusions use visual tricks that alter the perception of what you’re really seeing. Students will love trying to figure out what’s really going on in these examples.
a) How many legs does the elephant have?
Image source: Optics For Kids
b) Are the two squares different colours?
Image source: Brain Den
b) They’re exactly the same colour. If you place your finger over the spot where the squares meet, you can see they’re the same. Try this impossible paper puzzle if you want a more hands-on optical illusion. You can make one to show your class, then have students make their own as a fun brain teaser to show friends and family.
4. Stroop effect test
The Stroop effect was discovered in the 1930s by John Ridley Stroop. During the test, you’re given a list of colour names, with each word being a different colour than what they describe.
The test involves saying the colour of a word, rather than reading the word itself. Your mind must process the two conflicting pieces of information, which slows down reaction speed and requires careful thought to get through.
Image source: The Crafty Classroom
Benefits of brain teasers for kids
You know your students enjoy them, but did you know there are plenty of additional reasons to make brain teasers a regular activity in the classroom?
A study on the attention spans of six-year-olds found children who were given brain teasers were more attentive than those who were not — showing brain teasers were effective at boosting children’s attention spans.
Brain teasers for kids can also:
- Strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills
- Encourage lateral thinking and build new perspectives
- Improve cognitive abilities like memory and processing speed
- Inspire teamwork and communication
- Engage students and motivate them to learn
- Provide necessary breaks from traditional class work
How to use brain teasers in the classroom
In addition to their many learning advantages, brain teasers are a great way to break up the day and engage your students. Here are just a few ways you can use brain teasers for kids as a teaching strategy and maximize the benefits in your classroom:
- Engagement-boosting activity before or after lessons
- Bonus questions in assignments and tests
- Optional “free time” activity
- Encourage team building — split students into groups to solve them together
- Supplement lessons — choose brain teasers about the subject you’re teaching
Final thoughts on brain teasers for kids
No matter what subject or skill you want to focus on, a brain teaser is a great addition to traditional teaching methods. Plus, it’s something students will actually be excited to do.
Remember that brain teaser are designed to be fun for kids. it’s not about finding the right answer, but the mental exercise they get from trying to find the solution.
Use any of the brain teasers in this list whenever you need a boost of energy in your classroom. Bonus points if you can stump any adults!
Create or log in to your free teacher account on Prodigy – a game-based learning platform for math that’s easy to use for educators and students alike. Aligned with standards across the English-speaking world, it’s used by more than a million teachers and 90 million students.
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Scan to get started.
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Problem Solving For Kids
Help your kid become an ace at solving problems with these problem-solving activities and games .
As children grow up they’ll be faced with several problems. These problems can be complicated, they’ll challenge the kids intellectually, physically and mentally and emotionally. Dealing with all of these can leave them feeling stressed and anxious. That’s why it’s important to equip children with problem solving skills. These problem solving skills will help the children deal with and tackle these problems without any stress or anxiety.
Teaching Problem-Solving For Kids
Problems aren’t something that only adults face. Kids have problems too, it could be a conflict over toys or candy, a math test or even negative peer pressure. As parents and educators, you can’t always be there to resolve conflicts and solve problems for them. A parent’s job is to raise a confident, independent, and successful individual, equipped with the right problem solving skills.
Young children often get frustrated and give up on things when they encounter an obstacle or a problem. With the right problem solving skills, kids learn to think creatively, and work persistently until they find a solution. This equips them with the tools to develop their cognitive abilities and face challenges without fear of failure. Here are some age-appropriate tips to teach problem solving for kids.
Problem Solving For Kids of 3 – 6 years
One of the most important parts of problem-solving for kids is emotion management. Often, when kids encounter challenges that frustrate them, they throw a tantrum. They won’t consider finding a logical solution to the problem in the middle of a tantrum. Teaching them to process and control their emotions helps them think and find a solution easily.
Once they are calm, help them brainstorm solutions by asking leading questions. Once they learn this process, you’ll find that they tend to practice problem solving skills rather than throwing a tantrum.
Problem Solving For Kids of 6 – 9 years
By the time they are six years old, kids learn to control their emotions better. But they still can get frustrated when faced with challenges they cannot overcome. It’s a great idea to help kids find the root of the problem. This makes it less intimidating and helps them understand the problem, which makes it easier for them to solve the problem.
Kids at this age are quick learners. Help them learn problem-solving skills using stories, creative play and activities. Teach them some problem solving strategies for kids by acting out scenarios.
Problem Solving For Kids of 9-11 years
Children at this age are better equipped to solve problems on their own. However, problems only get bigger as we grow older and their solutions become equally complex too. One great way to solve a difficult problem is to break it down into manageable steps or smaller chunks.
For example, if your child has a low grade in history, find out why? Maybe they didn’t submit the assignments on time. So help them make a list of assignments and tackle them one by one.
Reading stories and crafting are great activities to instill problem solving skills in a child. Often, children tend to give up if they find a problem too challenging. The characters of a story and their trials and the end product of crafting teaches them to embrace the challenge and persevere until they finish. Here are some great ideas for crafts for kids to teach problem solving for kids.
Benefits of Performing Problem Solving For Kids:
- Problem-solving activities build self-confidence and self-esteem in a child
- Problem-solving games help children to develop a positive attitude towards life
- Problem solving for kids is necessary to build solid social and emotional skills in the kids
- These problem solving games and activities improve the child’s confidence, critical thinking skills, logical reasoning skills and perseverance.
Problem-Solving Activities And Puzzles For Kids:
- Introduce Problem Solving For Kids Using Rubix Cubes : Rubix cubes are one of the best ways to introduce your child to problem solving for kids. As they patiently align the multicolored blocks, children learn a few key problem-solving skills. Rubix cubes are square-shaped, 6 sided blocks with multicolored cubes. These blocks come in 3×3, 6×6, or 9×9 grids. Rubix cubes are available in stores and online. The cubes and different grids are twisted and turned in different directions to ensure all the colors are aligned. This can be a little challenging initially, but once your kid gets a hang of it, they can easily solve the Rubix cube in a couple of minutes. Solving Rubix cubes enhances the child’s brain activity and boosts their logical thinking skills.
- Crossword Puzzles Are One Of The Best Problem Solving Activities for kids: Crossword puzzles are a brilliant vocabulary game that helps children improve their vocabulary skills along with problem-solving skills. Crossword puzzles are available in books, newspapers and online. These Word Search Puzzles for Kids contain square-shaped blocks that are horizontally and vertically aligned. Some of the blocks may be filled with letters while the rest of the blocks are empty. These puzzles are solved with the help of the hints that are given alongside the puzzle. Crossword puzzles for kids help children find the solution on their own to a particular problem by looking at the hints.
- Jigsaw Puzzles To Help Children Learn Problem Solving In A Creative Way : Solving jigsaw puzzles are a very popular activity to build problem-solving skills in kids. These puzzles are available for kids of all age groups ranging from 3-12. Jigsaw puzzles contain several wooden or cardboard pieces along with a board and an image for reference. Kids should connect the puzzle pieces to create a replica of that reference image. Solving jigsaw puzzles is a fun and engaging activity to enhance your kid’s problem-solving skills. To make this activity more interesting and challenging, ask your child to solve the puzzle in a certain amount of time. This activity boosts the child’s critical thinking, logical reasoning skills and builds their patience.
- Learn Problem Solving By Navigating The Maze: Navigating or finding the best route through a maze is a wonderful game to stimulate your child’s brain. This game involves a maze with many routes to reach the destination. The child should navigate through the maze and find the best route to reach the destination. For example, the rabbit wants to eat the carrot but there is an impossible maze between the hungry rabbit and the carrot. Your kid must help the rabbit find the easiest and quickest route to his carrot. Children can use pencils or crayons to trace the route through the maze. Some of these routes might be blocked or have an obstruction. In such situations, they have to start all over again to find the best route. This activity can get frustrating at times, but it is one of the best ways to enhance your child’s problem-solving skills. Additionally, this problem solving activity helps boost the child’s logical thinking skills and build patience. It also teaches them to not give up and try again until they succeed.
- Teach Problem Solving For Kids With Simple Coding Games: Coding for kids is a great tool to teach problem solving for kids. It is not just an activity meant for adults or older kids anymore, younger kids can learn the basics of coding too. Coding games are great tools that improve the child’s problem-solving skills. You can choose from the myriad simple coding games and activities available online for young kids to learn the basics of coding. These coding games for kids mostly involve the fundamentals of math, which also boosts their mathematical skills. Kids can also learn different computer languages like HTML, X, C++, Java, Python, etc. If your child is a computer geek, then look no further. Coding games are a great way to turn your kid into a computer whiz to improve their coding and problem solving skills.
Kids are taught to solve simple puzzles and games from a young age. These simple learning activities are great tools to build a solid foundation for problem-solving skills. Not only are they fun to play with, but they also teach children to find an optimum solution to a particular problem. These games and puzzles also help in enhancing their logical reasoning and critical thinking skills. These skills are necessary to build problem-solving skills in kids.
Problems are aplenty in our lives. From math problems to emotional problems, we all have them. The best thing we all can do is learn to tackle them efficiently so that they don’t affect us.
Osmo has a wide variety of activities for kids to do at home, games and worksheets for kids , alphabet coloring pages on several topics to aid in your kids learning – math activities for toddlers.
Frequently Asked Questions on Problem Solving For Kids
What are the advantages of problem solving for kids.
The advantages of Problem Solving For Kids are that it helps them to improve their social and emotional skills, develop their critical thinking skills, confidence, logical thinking abilities,and determination.
What are the activities that help kids to solve the problems?
The activities that help kids to solve the problems are solving crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, learning problem solving by working on the maze, solving simple coding games, solving rubix cubes, etc.
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Unlock your child’s problem-solving potential with these engaging critical thinking questions.
- Updated: March 17, 2023
- Category: Education
- March 17, 2023
- , Education
Critical thinking questions for children are more important than ever in today’s rapidly changing world. Critical thinking includes making informed decisions based on evidence and information analysis.
It’s a useful skill that can be applied in various situations, including relationships, school, and potential employment . As parents, you can help them develop critical thinking skills by challenging their preconceptions and encouraging them to reflect thoroughly on their surroundings.
In this article, we’ll look at some hypothetical and factual Critical Thinking Questions and Answers for kids. This will tell you how to formulate questions and assist children in improving their analytical skills and sharpening their minds.
Q1: Do you need teachers at school, or can you just learn from computers?
Computers can be a valuable tool for learning, but they cannot replace the role of teachers in education. Computers can enable interactive learning experiences and deliver knowledge, but they cannot replace that comforting human touch because teachers can listen attentively to students and assist them as per their needs. They provide personalized feedback and support.
Q2: Is there life on other planets?
The likelihood of planets outside our solar system sustaining life is considerable. Astrobiology and astronomy are constantly researching the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Scientists employ a variety of methods to look for evidence of life on other planets, such as examining the atmosphere of the planet or looking for traces of water.
However, no concrete proof of extraterrestrial life has been discovered so far. It remains a mystery for the world and inspires speculative thinking.
Q3: Should zoos be banned since they are unfair to animals?
Some argue zoos are unjust to animals because they are kept in cramped quarters and denied the chance to live in their natural environments. They may be subject to stress, illness, and mistreatment, impacting their health and general well-being.
The other school of thought supports it because it is important in research, education, and conservation. Endangered species can seek refuge in zoos because they may be unable to survive outside of habitat loss and other factors.
Q4: Should children be rewarded if they get good grades?
Some say rewarding children for getting excellent grades will motivate them and instill a sense of duty and accountability, as well as the value of hard work and achievement.
Others feel it may yield negative results. They argue rewarding students for good grades conveys the message that learning is only worthwhile if there is a monetary incentive, which may be harmful to the student’s long-term motivation and interest in the subject.
Q5: How would you describe a car to an alien?
This is a contentious issue. There are several theories. Some argue that the automobile is a human-made invention designed for efficient transportation on Earth. It’s a mechanical device that runs on electricity, internal combustion, or both. Its essential components are four wheels, an engine, a chassis, and a body.
To drive a car, the driver sits in the seat and uses the controls like a steering wheel and pedals, while the engine powered by gasoline or other sources propels the vehicle forward.
All of this is presumptively based on the assumption that aliens understand our language.
Q6: Is social media a good or a bad thing?
There are two schools of thought. One feels social media is a powerful tool for connection, communication, teamwork, and social activism. It enables global connections, idea exchange, and community building around shared interests.
However, others believe social media can encourage harmful behavior like cyberbullying and hate speech and can cause addiction and distraction from real-life responsibilities.
Q7: Should every child have a personal mobile phone?
The decision to give a child a mobile phone is a personal decision influenced by factors such as age, maturity level, and the family’s values and priorities. Some parents decide to give their children cell phones for convenience and safety. The good part is that children can use mobile to access educational materials and entertainment and to stay in touch with friends and family.
However, it comes with risks and negative consequences, such as exposure to cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and screen addiction, all of which can harm mental and physical health.
Q8: What would happen if it never rained?
This is an intriguing question that can make children think more deeply. Rain is essential to the entire ecosystem. From humans to animals and plants, no rain would have a significant and far-reaching impact.
One of the most immediate consequences of no rain would be a lack of fresh water. Many rivers, lakes, and groundwater sources would dry up if rain, the primary source of fresh water, did not fall.
This would make it difficult, if not impossible, for people and wildlife to get to the water they need to survive. The lack of rain would have a significant impact on plant life.
These are some examples; you can create your list of questions and share them with children. Allow them to think and answer without prompting, as this will defeat the purpose.
Parents, teachers, and others should encourage children to ask questions, seek knowledge, and think critically about their surroundings. Children can learn to think independently and make sound decisions by asking the right questions, assessing facts, and weighing multiple points of view.
They can improve their critical thinking skills over time with practice and supervision,
Moonpreneur understands the needs and demands this rapidly changing technological world is bringing with it for our kids. Thus we are on a mission to educate and ignite the flames of entrepreneurship through our holistically created online STEM programs, which will help kids master the futuristic sciences such as Robotics , Game Development , App Development , Advanced Math , and much more!!
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Home » Kid » Development
15 Fun Activities To Teach Problem Solving To Kids
Problem-solving skills help children efficiently manage difficult moments in their lives.
Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri MD
Specialty: Psychiatrist, motivational speaker, writer
Experience: 15 years
Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri, popularly referred to as ‘The Celebrity Shrink,’ is an award-winning neuro-psychiatrist and mental health advocate with over 15 years experience.She is the medical director and psychiatrist-in-chief at Pin... more
advaitaa ravi BBA
Specialty: Kids Fun and Activities
Experience: 7 years
Advaitaa is a digital marketing and content writing specialist with around seven years of experience. She’s worked on a variety of genres including travel, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and health and w... more
Children receive numerous opportunities to learn about the world as they get older. However, they also regularly encounter problems, whether it is peer pressure, difficult arithmetic calculations, or disagreements with their peers. The benefits of problem-solving skills for kids are numerous and can help them effectively deal with such situations.
They will learn to find practical solutions independently without relying on an adult. Further, when they encounter difficulties, they will be more confident in their ability to employ their problem-solving skills and develop innovative solutions on their own.
Read this post to know the importance of problem-solving abilities for children, how to inculcate this skill in them, and for some exercises to help them develop this essential skill.
Importance Of Problem-Solving Skills For Kids
Problem-solving benefits children in numerous ways. It helps them
- Cope with challenges in everyday life.
- Make effective decisions.
- Pick up other skills, such as cooperation , critical thinking, and collaboration along the way.
- Resolve problems without breaking them down.
- Think outside the box.
- Become more independent.
How To Inculcate Problem-Solving Skills In Children
Here are a few ways to encourage your child to utilize their problem-solving skills.
1. Test it out
Whenever your child encounters a problem, ask them to acknowledge it and embrace the challenge. If the outcome is not effective, they can try out different approaches. This will encourage your child to look at a problem from different angles .
2. Ask for advice
Sometimes, you may struggle to make decisions in your everyday life. For instance, you might struggle to decide what to cook for dinner or what to wear to the movies. Ask your children to help you make these simple decisions . When you ask them for their advice, it teaches them that they’re not the only ones who face problems. When you value their ideas, it will give them the confidence to solve problems independently.
3. Take a deep breath
One of the first steps to effective problem solving is remaining calm. Even with youngsters, when their emotions go out of hand, it’s difficult to look at things rationally, and the tendency to make impulsive decisions becomes higher. It’s important to teach your child to take deep breaths every time they feel they’re losing control of their emotions . Once they’re calm, they can assess the situation better.
4. Verbalize the problem
It would help your child if they verbally express how they feel and what they’re struggling with after calming down. It helps them gain perspective and makes it easier for them to come up with potential solutions.
5. Don’t provide “the answer”
While it’s difficult to watch your children struggle with an issue, do not give them the answer outright. Instead, give them hints to help them solve the problem independently. This way, they can learn to come up with creative solutions independently .
6. Lead by example
Children are like sponges and pick up things very quickly. So, when you confront a problem and come up with an effective solution, they’ll notice how you address issues and try to emulate you.
7. Allow natural consequences to unfold
Sometimes, letting the problem run its course is the best way to deal with it. So, when your child is faced with a problem, let them be. Let’s suppose your child spent all their weekly allowance in a day or two; let them go the entire week without allowance. This will set them up to make better choices in the future.
15 Problem-Solving Activities For Kids
There’s no better way to learn than through play. The following activities are quite fun and require children to display their problem-solving skills.
One of the best problem-solving activities for children is puzzles. They come in various difficulty levels. Based on your child’s age, you can pick the appropriate one. Give them a puzzle, and they will learn to analyze the problem/question, find different ways of solving it, and arrive at the solution .
Additionally, the activity will help improve their critical-thinking skills, gross motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.
2. Scavenger hunt
One of the educational activities that every parent should introduce to their children is scavenger hunt. It is an inexpensive, easy, fun activity that can be done both indoors and outdoors and requires nothing more than the items you already have at home. The activity allows children to think outside the box. Without being aware, they’re learning problem-solving skills in a fun way.
Reading offers a plethora of benefits. One of them is problem-solving. When children read stories , they come across various characters and the roles they play. Most often, children get attached to these characters. So, when they come across a problem, ask them how their favorite character would have solved it. Encourage them to come up with a variety of solutions and discuss the possible outcomes of each.
Engaging them in arts and crafts is another excellent way to teach children problem-solving skills. Give your child a variety of materials lying around the house. Let them come up with all sorts of exciting creations or repair broken toys or gadgets. Allow them to work independently, and guide them only when they are out of ideas.
5. Open-ended questions
Asking open-ended questions is an excellent way to improve your child’s ability to think creatively and critically and improve their problem-solving skills . With these questions, there’s no right or wrong answer, and the answer goes beyond a simple ‘no’ or ‘yes.’ They have to put some thought into their answers. Here are a few questions you can ask after each session.
- What was difficult? What was easy?
- What did you learn?
- What do you think will happen next?
- How did you arrive at the solution?
- What would you do differently the next time?
Mazes are fun and safe for all age groups. When they work on mazes, it makes them think. The activity also improves their motor skills, observational skills, sense of direction, and problem-solving skills. Think beyond book mazes – you can find many maze games on the web. With practice, they’ll get better at finding their way out. Eventually, you can give them more complex mazes to solve.
7. Mini treasure hunt
Treasure hunt is one game that can get the entire family involved. You can keep their minds at work, especially if they know they’re going to win something in the end. Give them clues that encourage them to think outside the box and use their problem-solving skills to find the treasure in the end. Here are a few hints you could use to let them find the treasure:
- My job is to put an end to your sleep. I do so with a beep, buzz, or music. (Ans: alarm clock)
- I don’t have a face or arms, but I have hands that move at a steady pace. (Ans: Clock)
- I’m filled with soft feathers, and it’s quite impossible for you to sleep without me. (Ans: Pillow/blanket)
- Use me to clean your car in a jiffy or to give plants a drink. (Ans: Water hose)
8. Building with toys
Give your children LEGO blocks, wooden blocks, engineering blocks, etc., and make them build whatever they wish. Building with toys requires your child to think about what to build and how to put the pieces together and come up with creative solutions to ensure it’s a functional design. You can once in a way ask them to build something challenging, such as a creature with three arms or two towers with a joining bridge. Watch them rack their brains as they try to come up with a structure.
9. Wool web
Give the children a multi-colored yarn and ask them to stand in a circle. One person loops the ball of yarn across a finger and passes it to another person. Once every person gets a chance to hold the ball and loop the yarn across their finger, a web would be created.
Now, blindfold one member and ask them to follow the verbal instructions of the others to unwind the web. This group activity involves teamwork, focus, patience, coordination, concentration, and problem-solving skills to figure a way out.
10. The human knot
It is a simple game that’s extremely fun. In this game, you need a group of children. Make the children form a circle and raise their hands. Start with one player, who has to use their right hand to hold onto a player’s hand from across the circle and their left hand onto someone else’s hand. Check if everyone has held both hands with different players. Now, without breaking the circle, they must untangle themselves. The challenge is complete once everyone’s hands are free and they are back in the circle.
11. Impromptu skits
Divide the players into teams. Write down different scenarios, such as dealing with bullying in school or resolving a fight between siblings, on pieces of paper, fold them, and place them in a bowl. Each team/player picks a chit and acts out the scenario. You can give them a time limit to prepare. Such impromptu activities help children identify a problem, formulate a solution, and execute it.
12. Group drawing
Another excellent team-building activity for sharpening children’s problem-solving skills is group drawing. Divide children into teams of three. Each of the three players in the team has a role to play .
One person is the drawer, who takes directions from the instructor to attempt to create a design. They should stand with their back to the instructor and viewer and must not talk.
Next is the instructor. The instructor is the one who gives out verbal instructions as to how the drawer must draw a particular design.
The viewer looks at the design. But, they’re not allowed to talk and can only communicate with the instructor via gestures.
You have a winner when the viewer is satisfied with the drawer’s picture. You can let the children take turns playing different roles.
13. Clue me in
Clue me in is a fun detective game that encourages cognitive development, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Start by selecting five to six target answers, such as a public figure, animal, historical event, social trend, or profession. Now, collect five to ten items associated with each target answer. They can be pictures from the Internet too. Place them in different bags.
Now decide how many clues a child can pick before making a guess. If it’s two, let the child pick up two clues from a bag and make their first guess. See who’s able to answer the quickest.
14. Survivor scenarios
Here’s another game that doesn’t require any items. In this game, you have to create pretend-play scenarios for children, and they have to analyze and think out of the box to solve. For instance, give them this scenario, “You’re stuck on an island, and you know help will not come for two days. How will you create a shelter for yourself with items around you?” This encourages them to think about different scenarios and find solutions to get out of the situation.
15. Moral dilemma
Children often find themselves in a dilemma. This simple game, without their knowledge, will help them cope with such scenarios. On pieces of paper, write down different dilemmas, such as ‘The cashier gave me $1 extra in change; what should I do?’ or ‘I saw my friend bullying someone at school. Should I stop them or let them be?’ Then fold it up and place it in a bowl. Get each child to pick one piece of paper, read it aloud, and come up with creative solutions on the spot to handle the situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. At what age do children begin problem-solving?
Children are believed to acquire the basics of problem-solving by age three. But it is not refined since it is intervened by short attention span and difficulty in understanding the problems on their own. Their problem-solving skills develop as they grow up (1) .
2. What are three problem-solving strategies?
The three common problem-solving strategies are (2) :
- Trial and error: Trying different ways to solve a problem until it is resolved
- Algorithm: Following a step-by-step formula to solve the problem
- Heuristic: Following a problem-solving framework such as breaking it into steps
Problems are a part of life, and the sooner children learn to tackle them, the better. Problem-solving for kids is an important skill because it helps them cope with everyday difficulties, challenges them to think differently and learn more critical thinking skills. You may teach problem-solving skills to your children by encouraging them to share their problems, driving them to find their answers, or setting a good example. You can also involve them in problem-solving activities, such as puzzles, scavenger hunts, and mazes. Your focused efforts will help your children grow independent and confident in their skills.
Infographic: “IDEALS” – A Method Of Problem Solving
Illustration: Momjunction Design Team
Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.
- Problem-solving skills teach kids to think out of the box and independently cope with life’s challenges.
- Guiding them to acknowledge the problem and letting them solve the problem themselves could teach problem-solving skills in children.
- Puzzles, scavenger hunts, mazes, and many more fun and engaging activities to hone your child’s problem-solving skills as you scroll down.
- ACADEMIC AND FUNCTIONAL LITERACY Outcome Component 2: Demonstrates Competence in Problem Solving; https://cals.arizona.edu/sfcs/cyfernet/nowg/academic_component2.html
- Problem Solving; https://opentext.wsu.edu/psych105/chapter/7-4-problem-solving/
Advaitaa Ravi BBA
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