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Using the Standard Solitaire Game to Sharpen Your Problem-Solving Abilities
In today’s fast-paced world, problem-solving skills are more important than ever. Whether it’s in your personal life or professional career, the ability to think critically and find solutions is highly valued. One way to enhance these skills is by playing the standard solitaire game. While many people may see solitaire as a simple card game, it actually offers numerous benefits for improving problem-solving abilities. In this article, we will explore how playing the standard solitaire game can help sharpen your problem-solving skills.
Enhancing Strategic Thinking
Playing the standard solitaire game requires strategic thinking and planning ahead. As you lay out your cards and make moves, you must consider various possibilities and anticipate future moves. This process encourages you to analyze different scenarios and make decisions based on potential outcomes.
Furthermore, solitaire also teaches you the importance of prioritization. You need to prioritize which cards to move first and which ones to leave behind. This skill translates directly into real-life situations where you must prioritize tasks or actions based on their importance or urgency.
By regularly engaging in strategic thinking while playing solitaire, you can develop a more analytical mindset that will benefit you in all areas of life.
Patience is a virtue that can greatly contribute to effective problem-solving. In the standard solitaire game, patience is key as success often requires multiple rounds of trial and error before finding the right solution.
The process of patiently trying different moves and experimenting with various strategies teaches valuable lessons about persistence and resilience. It trains your mind not to give up easily when faced with challenges but instead motivates you to keep trying until you find a solution.
Developing patience through playing solitaire can be a valuable asset when faced with complex problems that require time and perseverance to solve effectively.
In solitaire, every move you make is a decision that can impact the outcome of the game. The ability to make informed decisions quickly is crucial for success. By playing the standard solitaire game regularly, you can improve your decision-making skills.
As you become more experienced in solitaire, you will start recognizing patterns and developing strategies that maximize your chances of winning. This process trains your brain to analyze information efficiently and make decisions based on logical reasoning.
Moreover, solitaire also teaches you to evaluate risks and rewards. Some moves may seem appealing in the short term but could lead to unfavorable outcomes later on. Learning to assess potential risks and rewards helps you make better decisions not only in the game but also in real-life situations where critical thinking is required.
Enhancing Concentration and Focus
Playing solitaire requires concentration and focus as you need to pay attention to every card on the table and track their movements. Distractions can lead to mistakes that could cost you the game.
Regularly engaging in solitaire can help improve your ability to concentrate for extended periods. This skill is transferable to various areas of life where focus is necessary, such as work tasks or studying.
Additionally, solitaire can serve as a form of meditation by providing a momentary escape from daily stressors. It allows you to clear your mind, focus solely on the game at hand, and recharge your mental energy.
The standard solitaire game offers more than just entertainment; it provides an opportunity to enhance problem-solving abilities through strategic thinking, patience development, improved decision-making skills, and enhanced concentration/focus.
By incorporating regular sessions of solitaire into your routine, you can sharpen these essential skills that are valuable in both personal and professional settings. So next time you find yourself with some free time or need a break from work-related tasks, consider playing a round of solitaire – it might just give your problem-solving abilities a boost.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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15 Best Problem Solving Activities for Kids to Encourage Critical Thinking
1. Rolling Dice
2. build a tower, 3. tic tac toe, 4. scavenger hunt, 6. activity books, 7. board games, 9. human knot, 10. open-ended questions.
Problem solving activities for kids are a great way to teach them how to think critically and creatively, and how to develop a growth mindset . We’re sure you must have also played many educational games as a kid that helped you develop critical thinking or problem-solving- skills you’re using even today. These activities can be tailored to be fun and engaging, and they help kids understand that challenges and difficulties are opportunities to learn and grow instead of things to be feared.
By providing kids with problem-solving activities, we can give them the tools to develop their problem-solving skills and build the confidence to tackle difficult challenges, which will be valuable to them throughout their life. It will also help them understand that their abilities can be developed with practice and hard work, encouraging them to persevere through difficult tasks and not give up easily when faced with obstacles. If you’re looking for some fun and engaging problem solving activities for children to develop a growth mindset, we have curated a list of activities for you.
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15 Best Problem Solving Activities for Kids
Things you’ll need: A die or dice, some flashcards and a pen
How to do: You can play tons of different games with dice. Playing with two dice encourages kids to quickly add up numbers and learn math in a fun way . One fun game you can play with a single die involves flashcards. For this game, you can assign a category to each number on the die and when the kid rolls the die, they have to name any 3 examples from the category assigned to the number rolled. For example, if number 4 is assigned to animals and it is rolled, they will have to name any 3 animals.
Things you’ll need: Building blocks, lego, toilet rolls or anything that can be stacked
How to do: If you’re looking for problem solving activities for 5 year olds, this is for you. To play this game, just give the kids anything that can be stacked on top of the other. This can be building blocks, lego, Jenga blocks, toilet rolls, etc. The challenge is to stack one on top of the other and see how high a tower they can build. This game can be played in teams or individually as well.
Things you’ll need: A tic tac tow board or pen and paper
How to do: This is one of the most exciting problem solving fun activities for students. You can either play this game on a tic tac toe board or on paper. If you’re playing it on paper, draw a table so that you have 9 boxes. Now each player must choose X or O and try to make a continuous row of their chosen symbol. Whoever succeeds wins.
Things you’ll need: Small toys, stationery items, or anything you want to include in a scavenger hunt
How to do: Assign the teams or individual players specific items they have to find in a defined area. This can be an indoor or outdoor activity for kids . Give them a list of the things they need to find, and you can also give them hints on where to find these things. Whoever or whichever team finds all the things first wins.
Things you’ll need: A puzzle game
How to do: Get a puzzle set. This can be a regular cardboard puzzle or a wooden puzzle and ask the players or teams to arrange it. You can make this a timed challenge or just let the kids solve the puzzle in their own time and have fun.
Things you’ll need: Activity books and pencils
How to do: This is one of the best problem solving activities for kids. Activity books are great for children’s problem-solving skills to develop. Buy them activity books containing games like find the element, what’s wrong with the pictures, or hidden picture books.
Things you’ll need: Board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly Junior, and Go Fish
How to do: Give them board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly Junior, Go Fish, etc. These board games help kids to develop logic, think deeper, plan ahead and solve problems.
Things you’ll need: A chalk
How to do: Build a maze with chalk on the sidewalk. Make sure you add a few dead-end ways to make it more challenging for the kids. Once the kid is able to walk through and come out of the maze, take the game to the next level by adding even more dead-end ways and see how they overcome the challenge.
Things you’ll need: Just a playground or garden
How to do: This is a great group activity for kids that’ll also teach them lots of skills. Ask the kids to form a circle and raise their right arm up. Now ask them to reach out to someone standing opposite to them in the circle and hold their left hand with their left hand. Now ask them to raise their left hands up and repeat the process with their right hands. The objective is to entangle them completely and then ask them to detangle themselves without letting go of anyone’s hands.
Things you’ll need: Pen and paper
How to do: Once you’re done with an activity, ask kids open-ended questions. These are questions that have no right or wrong answers. Some examples of such questions are- “Did you find this activity easy?”, “What did you enjoy the most about this activity?”, “How would you make this activity more fun?”, etc.
11. Wool Web
Things you’ll need: Balls of yarn
How to do: This is one of the most exciting group problem solving classroom activities for kids . Divide the players into equal teams and ask them to form a circle. Hand them over one ball of yarn each and ask them to make a web of it amongst the teams. Set a time limit for this step, and once it is done, switch the webs so that none of the teams has their own webs. Now the teams will decide on one player from each team to be blindfolded. This blindfolded player will have to untangle to web assigned to their team with the help of verbal instructions from their teams. The team that untangles the web first wins.
12. Fingertip Hula Hoop
Things you’ll need: Hula hoops
How to do: Divide the kids into teams of 6-8 for this game. Each team will stand in a circle and then be asked to raise their hands up. Now, place a hula hoop on top of their fingertips and ask them to bring it down slowly and make it touch the ground without it falling down or leaving the fingertips. The team to finish the task first wins.
13. Obstacle Course
Things you’ll need: Pillows, blankets, mattresses, cones, balls, chairs, etc.
How to do: Build an obstacle course indoors or outdoors with whatever you can find. This makes for one of the most engaging problem solving games for kids. Ask your kids to cross the obstacle course as fast as they can. To make it a bit more challenging, you can also ask them to race against each other to cross the obstacle course.
14. Memory Games
Things you’ll need: Playing cards
How to do: For this fun cards game, place all the cards face down and take turns to turn 2-4 cards. If you are able to open two similar cards (in number), you get to keep the pair. The player with the highest number of cards with them in the end wins.
15. Impromptu Plays
Things you’ll need: A stage
How to do: This is one of the best problem-solving exercises for kids to play in groups. If you have a large group, divide the kids into teams of 6-8. If the group is smaller, just make the kids stand individually. Now make a few chits on a theme that has questions that form a difficult situation or a challenge. For example, you can put in chits with questions like “You just found your friend cheating in an exam. What do you tell them?” or “Your younger sibling just broke your favorite toy. How do you react?”. Each team must enact a scene that includes the situation their chit has. If the group isn’t that big, each kid must speak about the same chit but have different perspectives.
Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important for Kids?
Developing problem solving skills is extremely important for kids as it helps them to navigate easily around difficulties later on in life. As adults, we’re faced with challenging situations every day, and without our basic problem-solving skills, we wouldn’t be able to survive.
Problem solving skills also help kids to make effective decisions. It helps them resolve problems all at once without reducing them to smaller problems. Once kids develop problem solving skills, it is easier for them to develop other skills as well like critical thinking, cooperation and collaboration with others.
Having problem solving skills helps kids to become more creative and think differently than others and enables them to become independent. These skills also help kids develop decision-making skills and build their confidence along the way as they take the right decisions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the 5 problem solving skills.
The five problem solving skills are identifying the problem, producing possible results that might work, picking one solution from these, applying the chosen solution and evaluating the results.
What are some examples of problem-solving skills in kids?
Some of the problem solving skills in kids are research, creativity, team-building, communication, active listening, decision-making, and analysis. If you find some of these skills in a kid, chances are they’re great at problem solving.
What is problem solving learning?
According to cornell.edu, Problem solving learning is an approach wherein students are asked open-ended questions about a certain topic, and they must resolve and answer the same in groups.
At what age do children begin problem-solving?
According to a study by Shaffer , kids can start developing basic problem solving skills from the age of three. This further continues to develop as they grow.
What are three problem-solving techniques
According to deakin.edu , the three most basic problem solving techniques are defining the problem, listing out all the possible solutions, and evaluating the options.
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17 Fun Problem Solving Activities for Kids
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As a child, I would spend hours putting together puzzles… whether it was 3-D puzzles or figuring out a crossword. I also loved it when teachers would give the class an open-ended question and we had to work in groups to figure out the answer in our own way.
Even something as simple as playing checkers with my brothers gave me the chance to use strategy as a way to win the game. I honestly believe that it’s so important for kids to solve problems at a young age, as it helps them think critically and outside the box.
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So, Why Is It Important To Teach Kids Problem Solving?
I think these kinds of activities are so important for kids to do because it helps them learn how to think analytically and solve problems on their own. It's a great way to get kids to use their imaginations and be creative.
Rote memorization simply does not have the same effect. This type of learning is great for learning facts like historical dates, but it’s not going to help kids figure out how events in history happened and the results.
We take these problem-solving skills into college, the workforce, and travel . My ability to problem solve since childhood has certainly got me through many sticky situations while in a new city or country.
Additionally, problem-solving helps children learn how to find creative solutions to challenges they may face both in and out of the classroom . These activities can also be fun and used in cohesion with school or playtime.
17 Fun Problem-Solving Activities for Kids
1. marble mazes.
This activity was selected because it requires them to think spatially. Spatial learning will benefit kids when they start driving, riding a bike, playing sports,etc.
To do this activity in its simplest form, you will need a piece of paper, a pencil, and some marbles. First, draw a maze on a piece of paper using a pencil.
Make sure to create a start and finish point. Then, place the marbles at the start of the maze. The goal is to get the marbles from the start to the finish by tilting the paper and using gravity to guide the marbles through the maze.
Another example of a marble maze can involve using toilet paper rolls taped together to create a three-dimensional maze. The larger the maze, the harder you can make it.
Check Price on Amazon!
If you are not into the DIY method, you can always buy a toy maze on Amazon. A good 48 piece puzzle is the Melissa & Doug Underwater Ocean Floor puzzle.
2. The Tower Challenge
Building a tower gives kids the chance to think about gravity, structure, and balance.
To do this activity, you will need some building materials like legos, blocks, or even toilet paper rolls. The challenge is to see how high they can stack the materials without the tower toppling over.
This can be done individually or in teams. An activity like this is good for younger kids and is the building block to learning about harder topics like engineering.
3. The Egg Drop Challenge
The egg drop challenge helps kids learn how to engineer a solution that prevents something from breaking. It requires them to think critically about which materials will best protect something fragile like an egg when dropped from a height.
To do this activity, you will need some eggs and various materials such as straws, cotton balls, bubble wrap, etc. The goal is to construct a device that will protect an egg from breaking upon impact.
This can be done individually or in teams . Teams can even have a competition for the best egg drop device.
As children begin handling, shopping for, and cooking their own food, activities like this will help them understand how to handle breakable items like bottles, eggs, delicate fruit,.etc. Ideally, this is best for age groups 8 and up.
4. The Penny Drop Challenge
This activity was selected because it requires kids to think about physics and how different materials affect sound.
To do this activity, you will need a penny ( or another coin), a cup, and various materials such as paper towels, cotton balls, etc.
The goal is to drop the penny into the cup without making any noise. Begin by placing different materials into the cup and then drop the penny into it. The children should also drop the penny from different heights into the same material to see if/how the impact from a higher drop affects sound.
Group kids into teams or let them try it on their own.
Kids should make note of what type of sounds are made when the penny hits different materials. This is a great activity for kids who are interested in science and physics.
5. The Balloon Race Challenge
This activity was selected because it helps kids learn about aerodynamics and Bernoulli’s principle . It also requires them to think creatively about how to design a balloon-powered vehicle.
To do this activity, you will need balloons, straws, masking tape, and markers. The goal is to design a balloon-powered vehicle that can travel a distance of at least 10 feet. Kids can begin this activity by sketching out their designs on paper.
After they have a basic design, they can begin building their vehicle from various materials. Then kids can explain why they think the balloon traveled or did not travel as far as it did.
6. The Marshmallow Challenge
Marshmallows are not only delicious, but they are also soft and malleable. So kids can have fun using it for some construction projects.
This activity was selected because it requires kids to think creatively about how to build a structure using limited materials. It also helps them learn about engineering and work as a team.
To do this activity, you will need marshmallows and spaghetti noodles. The goal is to build the tallest free-standing structure possible using only marshmallows and spaghetti noodles. If you don't have spaghetti noodles, use something similar like pretzel sticks.
You may even want to establish certain rules like each team can only use a certain number of marshmallows or noodles. A time limit can also make it more fun and challenging.
For more fun activities, check out our post on problem solving exercises for team building .
7. The Balloon Pop Challenge
If you remember your childhood, you probably remember popping balloons for fun at times. But this activity is different because it requires kids to use strategy and critical thinking.
This activity was selected because it helps kids learn about patterns and problem-solving. It is also a lot of fun for kids who like popping balloons. The goal is to create a device that will allow them to pop a balloon without using their hands.
To do this activity, you will need balloons and various materials such as straws, string, paper clips, etc.
8. Picture Pieces Puzzle Game
As mentioned earlier, puzzles are a great pastime – especially in childhood. Kids must think critically about how to put the pieces together to create a certain picture. It also helps them learn about shapes, colors, and other concepts.
You can take a medium to large picture and cut it into pieces. If you have younger kids, you may want to make the pieces larger. However, if you have kids closer to the 8-11 age range, you should be able to provide a challenge and make the pieces smaller.
9. Copy the Block Model
For this challenge, you can build a model out of blocks for the kids to copy. Put kids into groups and make sure each group has the same number of blocks you used for your model.
Make your model block as simple or complex as needed for your child's age group.
Set a time limit and make sure each group starts at the same time.
10. Team Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is great for kids because they have to search for items and use investigative skills. It is also a lot of fun and can be done both indoors and outdoors .
To do this activity, you will need to create a list of items for the kids to find. The items can be anything from common household items to things you would find outside.
These types of activities can also revolve around a theme like a holiday, movie, or book. For example, if the kids are fans of “Harry Potter” you can make a list of items to find that are related to the movie.
11. Obstacle Course
This activity requires kids to think creatively about how to get from one point to another while maneuvering around obstacles. If you have outdoor space, this can be done with common objects such as hula hoops, cones, etc.
If you don't have access to an outdoor space, you can use common household items to create an indoor obstacle course. For example, you can use chairs, blankets, pillows, etc.
Begin by setting up the course and then timing each child as they complete it. You can also have them race against each other to make it more fun.
Obstacle courses are also great because kids get to be physically active while they are thinking critically.
12. Reading Storybooks
There are many great benefits for kids that read storybooks. One of the excellent benefits is the ability to problem-solve. When they read the stories in the books, they see scenarios that cause them to be attached to the various characters they read about.
So, when they encounter a real-life problem, it is often productive to ask a child how their favorite character would solve that problem. Your kids can also be encouraged to come up with various options and possible outcomes for some of the situations they may encounter.
This not only helps kids solve various problems but become more independent as well.
13. Ask Them Open-Ended Questions
A good way to improve a child's ability to think critically and creatively and improve their ability to solve problems is by asking open-ended questions. It also helps them to develop healthy personalities .
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. In addition, the solution requires more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Furthermore, it allows kids to put some extra thought into their responses.
Here are some examples of open-ended questions you may want to ask.
- What did this experience teach you?
- Was this easy? What was easy about it?
- What this difficult? What is complicated about it?
- What may happen next in this situation?
- How did you come to this solution?
- What, if anything, would you do differently next time?
- What can we do to make things more fun next time?
14. Build Various Structures with Toys
Whether wooden blocks, LEGO blocks, or engineering blocks… giving your kid blocks to build whatever their minds can dream up is fun. In addition, it requires them to think about how they will make a structure, put the pieces together, and creatively ensure the building's function and design.
You may also want to challenge them to build something more complicated and watch them use their brain power to make it happen.
15. Acting Out Skits
Impromptu activities like acting out skits help kids identify problems, develop solutions, and execute them. This process works with multiple kids being divided into teams.
First, you will want to write down different situations, such as resolving a disagreement between siblings or dealing with bullying on the playground on a piece of paper. Second, you will fold the paper and place it in a hat or bowl.
Third, each team will pick a scenario out of the hat. Finally, you can give the kids a few minutes to discuss their solution and act out.
16. Solving Moral Dilemmas
In this simple game, you will help your kids solve simple dilemmas they may find themselves in. You could write down a situation your child may find themselves in and help them learn the moral way to solve the problem.
For instance, “The cashier gave them an additional $5 change back on my purchase. What should they do?” Another scenario could be, “I saw my friend cheating on a test. Should I tell on them or let it go?” A third one could be, “I caught my friends stealing some gum from the store. What should I do?”
After writing down the dilemmas and placing them in a bowl, get each child to select one and read it aloud. Finally, you will help them devise morally correct solutions to the moral dilemma.
17. Animal Pairing Game
This is a fun and creative game to help your kids with focus, critical thinking, and team building skills . In addition, this activity requires an even number of players to participate (4, 6, 8, etc.)
Before starting the game, you will want to write the names of different animals twice, each on a separate slip of paper. Then pass out the slips of paper to each individual or team member, instructing them not to share with anyone the name of the animal they received.
Then the children will perform activities the animals might do without talking or making sounds. Some of these activities might include:
- The way the animal cleans or grooms itself
- The way the animal sleeps
- The way the animal fights
- The way the animal eats or drinks
- The way the animal walks or runs
The goal is for each child to successfully pair up with the other child who has selected the same animal.
How Problem Solving in Childhood Helps in Adulthood
Children are not born with problem-solving skills. It is something that needs to be learned and developed over time .
From babies who learn how to communicate their needs to toddlers who figure out how to get what they want, to children who are starting to understand the consequences of their actions – problem-solving is a process that begins in childhood and continues into adulthood.
Some of the benefits of teaching problem-solving skills to children include:
- Improved critical thinking skills
- Better decision-making skills
- Enhanced creativity
- Improved communication and collaboration skills
- Increased confidence
There are many ways to teach problem-solving skills to children. The activities mentioned above are just a few examples. It is important to find activities that are appropriate for the age and abilities of the child.
With practice, children will develop these skills and be better prepared to face challenges in both childhood and adulthood.
Final Thoughts About Fun Problem Solving Activities For Kids
These are just a few ideas to get you started on teaching your child crucial problem solving skills. Perhaps they’ve inspired to come with some of your own, or seek out others? The important thing is to make sure the activity is age-appropriate and challenging enough to engage the kids.
Problem-solving skills are important for kids to learn because they can be applied to various situations in life. These skills also promote critical thinking, which is an important life skill.
There are many other problem-solving activities for kids out there. In time, you’ll find the ones that work best for your child. And be sure not to forget about your own needs and self-improvement, both of which will make you a better parent and mentor. Here are some useful activities for adults to get your started.
Finally, if you want to level up your parenting skills, then check out this resource that will show you how to get your kids to listen WITHOUT yelling, nagging, or losing control .
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10 Problem Solving Games for Kids
Playing board games is one of the best ways to spend time with your children. Why? Board games offer ample ways for kids to build their brains. Not only does playing games with your children improve family relationships and give opportunities for caring adults to help nurture good sportsmanship but the best games build kids' critical thinking and problem solving skills.
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We've composed a list of problem solving games for kids that help develop the following critical skills:
- Advance planning - what steps do you need to make in order to reach your goal?
- Decision making - evaluating the benefits of multiple choices
- Drawing conclusions and inference - how will your opponent respond to your choice?
- Reevaluation - how you respond when the result is unexpected
Games work on all these skills while also being fun. What could be better? Here are our favorite 10 problem solving games for kids and families!
A note regarding age recommendations. I've included the manufacturer's recommendation, but most games can be played with younger kids, provided an adult is at the ready to assist.
Every time you play Battle Sheep the playing space is different! That's because players start with 4 pasture boards that they take turns placing down to create the playing field. Kids are using advance planning and reevaluation right off the bat! Each player begins with 16 sheep and aims towards occupying as many pastures as they can. Players must chose between placing sheep or strategically blocking their opponents. We love this game that engages players' abstract thinking, strategic, and visual perception skills. Ages 7 and up. 2-4 players.
Find it: Amazon
The board changes every time you play, keeping players on their toes and constantly reassessing their strategy. Players use tiles to create paths along which they move their tokens. The objective is to create paths in such a way that keep you moving but force your opponents off the board. Players must anticipate other's moves and problem solve in order accomplish both goals. Tsuro is also surprisingly easy to learn! Ages 8 and up. 2-8 players.
MORE : Our favorite tile-based games
Players make their way through an ever-shifting maze in pursuit of treasure. Each player begins with a set number of treasure cards and the player who collects all their treasure first, wins. The board consists of moving panels and on their turn, a player shifts the panels in an effort to further their own progress or hinder that of others. Ages 7 and up. 2-4 players
Kingdomino is a tile placing game in which players must make choices regarding how to build their kingdom. The objective of the game is to score as many points as possible by matching tiles based on terrain. But some terrains score more than others. Players must decide if they want to build a lot of low scoring terrains, or fewer high-scoring terrains. Your tile choice also affects the order of play for the next round so it's important to be thoughtful. We've throughly enjoyed this game. An expansion pack is available. Ages 8 and up. 2-4 players
Find it: Kingdomino | Expansion pack | Queendomino
Photosynthesis from Blue Orange Games has an environmental theme. Players focus on growing trees through their life cycle from seed to maturity. Players strategize to "plant" their seeds where they will receive the most light, without being blocked in the future by other, maturing, trees. Successful game play requires planning and analysis. The artwork is beautiful and adds to the unique game play. We have enjoyed playing this game! Ages 8 and up. 2-4 players.
Azul's stunningly colorful game design was inspired by azulejos , a type of decorated ceramic tile introduced to Spain by the Moors and made popular in Portugal by King Manuel I. Players transform into tile laying artists, and must strategize over three phases of game play: choosing tiles, laying them and prepping for the next round. The object is to collect the most points by creating lines of 5 consecutive tiles. Each line of tiles must contain only one of each type of tile. The game ends when one player has completed a row, but that player is not necessarily the winner. Strategic problem solving and planning are required because players can lose points in the wall-tiling phase for any remaining, unused tiles. Ages 8 and up. 2-4 players.
Gobblet looks like Tic Tac Toe but players have large, medium and small pieces that nestle inside each other like Russian dolls. Players attempt to get four in a row by "gobbling" up smaller pieces. The game relies on advance planning, anticipating your opponent's moves and memory skills since you have to remember which Gobblets have been gobbled without peeking! Ages 7 and up. 2 players. A version for ages 5 and up is available as Gobblet Gobblers.
Find it: Gobblet | Gobblet Gobblers
Logic games are the ultimate problem solving entertainment! We love single player logic games and probably own an unhealthy number of these brain boosting puzzle games.
The following are some of our top favorites:
- Cat Crimes , ages 8 and up ( pictured above ) - see it as our game of the month feature
- Code Master , ages 8 and up - see it as our game of the month feature
- Castle Logix , ages 3 and up - see it as our game of the month feature
Mancala is a classic game every family should have. The board has two rows of depressions, plus end "home" bowls. The goal is to transfer the most stones from the rows into your home. A set of rules govern how you deposit and capture stones. You must use strategy to capture stones and ensure you do not leave them vulnerable to your opponent's greedy, greedy paws. Playing Mancala improves memory and observation skills. You must engage your strategic thinking skills to make sure you don't inadvertently give your opponent the opportunity to thwart you. Ages 8 and up. 2 players.
There's a reason the classic detective board game, Clue, remains so popular. I loved it when I was a kid and I bet you did, too. Players race to be the first person to solve the mystery of the who, what and where of a murder. Clue requires deductive reasoning and logic skills to narrow down the possibilities. Players must also vigilantly observe the actions of other players to help them make logical decisions. Ages 8 and up, 2-6 players ( much better with 3 or more players ).
- 6 games that improve visual perception
- Best award-winning games for each ages
- 12 best family games for all ages and skill levels
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20 Awesome Problem-Solving Activities for Kids
Kids are natural problem solvers. But if you don’t help them to cultivate this skill, it will become harder for them to solve problems as they grow older. According to Marlborough , problem-solving is undoubtedly one of the most critical skills that children need to develop. And they learn best by trying things out and exploring their environment. As parents, it is our job to foster this natural curiosity and help our children develop the skills they need to solve problems effectively. This blog post will share 20 fun problem-solving activities for kids ! These activities will help your child develop critical thinking skills, creativity, and perseverance.
20. Scavenger Hunt
One of the best ways to encourage problem-solving is to set up a scavenger hunt. According to Scholastic , scavenger hunts have a myriad of benefits. It is an activity that can be done indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference. You can hide clues around the house or backyard and have your child solve them to find the next clue. Your kids will have to think outside the box to solve the clues, and they will have a blast doing it. If you want to make the scavenger hunt more challenging, you can give your child a list of items to find instead of clues.
19. Jigsaw Puzzles
Sometimes the simplest ideas help sharpen your child’s problem-solving skills the most. Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to do just that. These puzzles are available for children of all ages. However, their complexity varies. You can start with a simple puzzle with just a few pieces for younger children. And as they get better at it, you can gradually increase the number of pieces. The key is finding a challenging but not too difficult puzzle for your child. As your kids learn to solve them, they’ll also develop incredible problem-solving skills.
18. Treasure Map
Another fun problem-solving activity for kids is to create a treasure map. This great activity is ideal for kids who love to explore. You can create a simple map with clues leading to a treasure. The ultimate goal is to encourage your kids to use problem-solving skills to navigate the map and find the treasure. While at their critical thinking skills will undoubtedly improve.
17. Obstacle Course
An obstacle course is a great way to encourage problem-solving and physical activity. You can create an obstacle course using everyday objects. For example, you can use chairs, cushions, and blankets to create a course in your living room. Or you can use cones and balls to create an outdoor course. The key is to be creative and have fun with it. As your child navigates the course, they must consider the best approach to overcome each obstacle. And this will help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It is also great to get your child moving and burn off some energy.
16. Building Towers
Most kids love to build something using different items. According to Raisingchildren , building blocks impart critical skills in kids. For this reason, building towers is an excellent problem-solving activity for kids. It helps them use their imagination and be creative. You can give your child different materials to build a tower, such as blocks, Lego, or even toilet paper rolls. The taller the tower, the better. This activity will help your child develop problem-solving skills as they learn how to balance the materials to create a stable structure.
15. Card Mix Up Games
Cards are versatile playthings that offer many opportunities for problem-solving fun. For example, you can play the classic card game Solitaire. Such a game demands patience, strategic thinking, and problem-solving skills. You can also try a memory game using cards. It is an effective way to improve your child’s memory, as well as their problem-solving skills. Many other card games offer a challenge and help kids sharpen their problem-solving skills. So, next time you are looking for a fun activity for your kids, consider playing a card game.
14. Board Games
Board games are quite challenging and stimulating for the brain. They help develop decision-making, strategizing, and critical thinking skills in children. But most importantly, board games are available in a wide range of difficulty levels. So, you can find the perfect game to match your child’s skills and abilities. Checkers, chess, and backgammon are excellent board games that help kids develop problem-solving skills.
13. Science Experiments
Science experiments are another option for problem-solving activities for kids. It helps them learn about cause and effect. And it also allows them to be creative as they try to figure out how to make the experiment work. There are a variety of simple science experiments that you can do at home with your kids. For example, you can try the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment. Or you can try the popular Mentos and Diet Coke experiment. These are just two of many possibilities. However, these activities may not be the best for younger children, as they might not understand what is happening.
I spy is an exciting and challenging activity. And for this reason, it is a perfect problem-solving activity for kids. It helps them improve their observation skills and learn to pay attention to detail. I spy also great for developing memory skills. To play, you will need to choose an object in the room. Then, give your child clues about the object until they can identify it. For example, you might say, I spy with my little eye something red and round. The clues should get progressively harder as the game goes on. This will help to keep your child engaged and challenged. The best part is that kids can play this game anywhere. All you need is your eyes and some objects. The game’s objective is to find an item the other person is thinking of.
11. What’s Missing?
What’s missing is a fun and simple game that most kids enjoy. To play it, you can start by putting a bunch of objects on a tray or in a box. Then, please have your child close their eyes while you remove one of the objects. When they open their eyes, they must use their problem-solving skills to determine which object is missing. As you can see, this activity keeps kids on their toes. And it helps them refine their problem-solving skills as they learn to pay attention to detail.
10. Simon Says
Simon Says is a classic game that most people know. But if you have never played it before, it is simple. One person is Simon, and the other players must do what Simon says. For example, Simon might say, Touch your nose. The other players would then have to touch their noses. However, if Simon does not say the word Simon before the command, the players do not have to do it. According to Emergepediatrictherapy , other Simon’s benefits include motor and sequences skills.
9. Memory Games
Memory games are excellent activities to nurture your kid’s problem-solving skills. A memory game requires players to remember where certain items are and then retrieve them. Depending on your child’s ability, these types of games can be simple or complex. You want to consider your child’s age as you decide their best difficulty level. Once you identify the level of difficulty, you can start the game. The game’s objective is to remember where the objects are and then find them. You can offer a reward for the child who can find the most items.
8. Move an Object
Moving an Object may sound like the most straightforward activity for kids. However, it is an invaluable problem-solving training tool. You ask your kids to move something. It could be a toy, a chair, or even themselves. But there’s a catch. Give them restrictions on how to move the object. For example, you might say, You can only use your left hand, or You have to move it without touching it. These restrictions force kids to think outside the box and create creative solutions.
7. The Alphabet Game
The Alphabet Game is an incredible tool to help kids learn and refine their problem-solving skills. To play, you will need a list of items that start with each letter of the alphabet. So, how does it work? Well, you can either give your child a list of things, or they can make their own. Once they have the list, they have to find an object that starts with each letter of the alphabet. For example, if their list includes A for apple, they would need to find an apple. This game can be played alone or with a group of people. And it can be as easy or difficult as you make it. If you want to make it more challenging, you can give your child a time limit to find the objects.
6. Role Play with Prompt
Role play with a prompt is a challenging activity that requires kids to use their problem-solving skills. To play, you will need a list of prompts. These can be anything from What would you do if you were stuck in a room with a lion? To What would you do if your best friend was moving away? The key is to choose open-ended prompts that allow for multiple solutions. Once you have your list of prompts, give each child a turn to choose one. Then, they will have to role-play the situation. This activity is superb for shy or introverted kids because it allows them to solve their problems safely and in a controlled environment.
Whether on paper or in a digital format, mazes are excellent problem-solving activities for kids. Mazes require players to find their way from start to finish without getting lost. To make it more challenging, you can add obstacles or time limits. Although mazes can be played alone, they are also ideal for groups. When played in a group, mazes require kids to communicate and work together to find a solution. They provide a superb opportunity to problem solve.
4. Free Play
Free play is an important problem-solving activity for kids. It allows them to explore their environment and find creative solutions to problems. Free play can be anything from playing with blocks to exploring the backyard. The key is to let kids direct their play. They will attempt to do many different things in the process, and some will fail. But that is okay. Failure is an important part of the learning process. Free play allows kids to try new things, make mistakes, and learn from them. According to Unicef , free play promotes imagination and creativity among kids.
Crafts are wonderful for problem-solving. And kids love them. They want to try different types of crafts and all times. So, how can crafts help kids with problem-solving? Well, first of all, they require kids to think about what they are doing. They have to plan and execute their craft project. As different challenges arise, they must figure them out and achieve their objectives. Secondly, crafts often involve following instructions. This is another excellent opportunity for kids to practice their problem-solving skills.
2. Reading Story Books
Most storybooks are thoughtfully written for entertainment and fun. They are also known to subtly impart moral and social values to children through the various characters in the story. However, storybooks can also be used as problem-solving activities for kids. They often present the main characters with a problem they must solve. As children read along, they will have to think about it. Look for stories with characters who face challenges and have to figure out solutions. As you read, discuss the characters’ different options and what might happen if they choose each. It will help kids understand that there are often multiple ways to solve a problem.
1 . Penny Drop Challenge
The Penny Drop Challenge is one of the kids’ most challenging and fun problem-solving activities. It requires them to use their logic and reasoning skills to figure out how to drop a penny into a glass without touching the sides of the glass. The game is also quite competitive, which makes it even more exciting. You will need a clear glass, a piece of paper, and a penny to play. Fold the paper into a funnel and place it over the top of the glass. Then, drop the penny into the funnel. The game’s objective is to get the penny into the glass without touching the sides. And children have to be skillful and quick to figure it out.
We must foster problem-solving skills in our children. These 20 awesome problem-solving activities for kids are the perfect way to do it. They will feel a sense of accomplishment and build confidence in their abilities. Choose one or two activities to implement today and watch your child’s problem-solving skills soar.
Janine is passionate about parenting. As a mother of 5 she knows a thing or two about how to raise children. She has a love for food, travel, and making sure her children stay on the right path.
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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
The Importance of Problem Solving Skills in Children
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.
15 Problem Solving Activities for Kids
There is no better way to learn than by playing. The following exercises are enjoyable and challenge youngsters to demonstrate their problem-solving abilities.
Riddles for kids 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. Also, if your kids have a way with words then what better than to engage them in wordle for kids !
- 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. Undoubtedly, stories for kids are great resources to stimulate their minds!
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. Also checkout art hub for kids that can provide an immersive experience to your little ones!
Give them complete freedom to do their task and only offer guidance when they are running out of ideas. And if your kids like to be more hands-on then check out crafts for kids !
- 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. There are many programs for kids .
- 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.
Are you interested to know more about kids coding languages ? Checkout here!
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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15 Fun Activities To Teach Problem Solving To Kids
Problem-solving skills help children efficiently manage difficult moments in their lives.
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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. It will help hone their analytical and reasoning skills. If the outcome is ineffective, they can try different brainstorming approaches to find a practical and effective solution. It will nudge your child’s creativity and encourage them to look at problems 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. Besides, it will churn their thinking and analyzing skills, which will eventually help them in decision making.
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, using their logic and creativity.
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 in a fun way, using their exploration skills.
Korbalagae, a former preschool through grade one teacher, shares an exciting idea for a problem-solving scavenger hunt. She narrates, “One of my favorite low prep lessons was the gingerbread man. I mostly needed buy-in from my colleagues and some cookie dough. Once we had read the book, I would have my students make gingerbread cookies, but as in the stories, ours would go missing.
“Our head cook, Mr Patrice, came to give us some terrible news that our cookies had disappeared when he went to look in the oven. This started our problem-solving. We had to figure out where our cookies had gone and how to get them back… We then had to come up with a plan of how to find them and where to look… My students had a chance to solve a problem. We had different theories of how our cookies went missing and where they could be, and for each idea, we examined it as a group. What was always wonderful to see was how one student’s idea would be picked up by another student and expanded upon ( i ).”
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 and let them unleash their imagination. 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, which help enhance their problem resolution skills.
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 analysis 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 provides ample experimentation opportunities that require children to think and develop creative solutions to ensure 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 and communication 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, who 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. So how will you create a shelter for yourself with items around you?” Thinking about solutions to such situations will take a child’s innovation and imagination skills to the next level.
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. This fun activity will help children in problem identification and resolution, using contemplation.
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
3. What are the most common mistakes children make when solving problems?
One common mistake is children rushing to solve the problem out of excitement without understanding the problem. They may not try to comprehend the wording of a problem, which prevents them from identifying the facts. The urge to complete one question quickly and move to the next also makes them give the wrong answers.
4. What are the potential challenges of teaching problem-solving to kids?
Some of the challenges that educators face when teaching problem-solving is the developing cognitive skills in children that may prevent them from understanding specific concepts. The absence of background knowledge to solve a particular problem also hinders the process. In addition, children tend to have limited attention affecting their focus on solving a complex problem. Finally, a lack of appropriate materials and resources can also challenge teaching problem-solving.
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 problem structuring skills.
Infographic: “IDEALS” – A Method Of Problem Solving
Illustration: Momjunction Design Team
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- 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.
Personal Experience: Source
i. Simple problem solving activities | how to teach problem solving skills in kindergarten; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auo-bxKk3gc
- ACADEMIC AND FUNCTIONAL LITERACY Outcome Component 2: Demonstrates Competence in Problem Solving; https://cales.arizona.edu/sfcs/cyfernet/nowg/academic_component2.html
- Problem Solving; https://opentext.wsu.edu/psych105/chapter/7-4-problem-solving/
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As a toddler, my daughter once got stuck in an opened cardboard box. She climbed in all by herself, but once inside she couldn’t figure how to maneuver her way out.
Like any good mom, I helped by handing her a crayon and allowing her to spend the next 15 minutes inside the box scribbling her little heart out so I could power clean the living room until she remembered she was stuck.
It’s true, I may have been taking slight advantage of her not-yet-fully-developed problem solving skills, but as a mom of a toddler tornado, you take what you can get 🙂
She’s now a preschooler and her problem solving skills have improved since daily life has provided her with ample opportunities (darn those jacket zippers!).
That said, I also believe that presenting her with social problem solving games and activities to utilize her thinking cap has been an important part of her pre-operational development.
I’ve compiled this list of 8 creative activities to assist in developing those skills that are needed when she hits those frustrating preschooler obstacles.
I believe in keeping things fun for the child and easy for mom, so these problem solving activities for preschoolers are simple to set up and many require only your child’s own creativity!
1. Make it Move
For this activity, you’ll need some masking tape and a crumpled ball of paper.
The challenge comes when you place the ball of paper in between two lines of masking tape and ask your preschooler to move it outside the lines — without touching it.
Some preschoolers can’t get enough of this experiment and figure out several ways to move the paper. Others can get frustrated easily and want to give up.
Remember, this is supposed to be fun, so don’t let your child get discouraged. Hints are fully ok; just try to wait until they are absolutely needed.
We want them to stretch their problem solving muscles, but not feel defeated.
2. Fit the Top
This is one of my favorites because it’s a delicious learning mix of fine motor, spatial awareness, problem solving and pantry clean-out skills!
For Fit the Top you will need to dig out your entire mess of a Tupperware collection from that forgotten kitchen cupboard.
Or, if your Tupperware is unusually orderly (round of applause from us!), grab a large collection of different sized plastic water bottles and their lids.
Water bottles are probably more fun, but using Tupperware does double duty of getting you organized, so maybe a combo of both is best.
Lay out all Tupperware and water bottles in one pile and put lids in another. Ask your preschooler to help you organize by finding the right lids to go with the right container.
Popping and screwing the lids on their correct containers exercises those fine motor muscles.
Ensuring the right size/shape lid goes with the right container helps practice both spatial awareness and problem solving skills.
Pro Tip: Help Your Child Become Better at Problem Solving
Enroll your child for the Atlas Mission and let your child play with this award-winning educational program. Your child will become better at problem solving without even realizing it!
3. I’m Being Silly
I’m Being Silly is an on-the-fly story telling game. The parent starts off with a simple story and the preschooler has to stop them when they’ve said something silly. Here’s an example:
Johnny was a four-year-old boy on his way to school. As he left, he grabbed his car keys and buckled himself into the driver’s seat.
If they don’t stop you here at the silliness of Johnny driving the car himself to school, just keep going. Maybe Johnny gets to recess and all the teachers are playing on the slides and swings while Johnny has playground duty.
When he gets home he might first take off his socks and then his shoes.
Customize the difficulty of the hidden sillies to the level of your child’s problem solving skills. Chances are they will love this game enough to turn the tables and see if you can catch the silliness in their own stories!
4. Pattern Blocks
Pattern blocks or tangrams (the colorful blocks that come in different geometrical shapes) provide fun problem solving activities simply by being played with.
If you want to increase the challenge, a quick google search will pull up hundreds of patterns to print and copy. Your preschooler will be proud of the intricate designs he can create just by following the cards.
This is a great independent activity when you need some quiet time for yourself or you can build something and ask your child to copy it. Take turns trying to stump each other with your designs.
5. Fort Building and Escaping Lava Alligators
Every child must build a fort in their living room. It’s a rite of passage.
Equally, they must pretend the living room floor is lava filled with alligators and use your couch cushions to create a safe route around them.
Whether you set out materials or just consciously ignore your urge to remind your preschooler that the couch cushions are not trampolines, this creative game is an exercise in solving problems — albeit imaginary ones.
The easiest materials for fort building are sheets and clothespins, but anything your child finds is fine.
To escape Lava Alligators, the appropriate tools are (unfortunately) your favorite couch cushions, but Lava Alligators can also be rehomed to the driveway with hand drawn sidewalk chalk squares working as the safety stones if necessary.
6. Build a Maze
Using blocks, chairs, cardboard boxes, or masking tape you can create a maze for your preschooler to get lost in while working on his critical problem solving skills. It can be small enough for his cars to drive through or big enough for him to walk through.
Be warned, giant cardboard mazes in the backyard have a tendency to attract all the neighborhood kids for a full afternoon of problem-solving fun.
You may end up being forever known as the Coolest Mom on the Block.
We hope you can handle that.
7. Pack my Bag
With Pack my Bag, your preschooler can prepare for a real trip or an imaginary one. Have him help you prepare for the day’s activities by asking him questions.
What does the weather look like outside? What clothes should we wear? Will we need an umbrella, sunscreen, or a parka?
After we get out of the pool, we will want to get dry, so what will we need? I think we will be gone a while, do you think someone will get hungry?
My example questions might be too direct or just enough depending on your preschooler’s current problem solving skills. The trick is to ask questions that lead him just enough, but still give him some thinking work to do on his own.
8. Preschool Detective
This game can be done with or without the detective hat and magnifying glass. In this game, Mom gives a clue about an object, then preschooler makes a guess.
Likely she will guess wrong after just one clue, so Mom will provide another one and she can guess again. This keeps going until the preschooler has guessed correctly. Here’s an example of how this game could go:
Mom: I’m thinking of something big and soft
Preschooler: A bear?
Mom: Nope, it’s something you keep in the house.
Preschooler: The rug?
Mom: Not quite. It’s something that you use at night and should be in right now, but you’ve left it three times to ask for another glass of water.
Preschooler: My bed?
Mom: That’s right! You win!
As her problem solving skills increase, the clues can be made harder encouraging her to ask more questions.
This is a fun game as is, or can be played with a point system where the preschooler gets a point for each incorrect guess. Each time she plays, she can try to finish with fewer points than the last time.
Usually, no prize is needed for this game, but if this exact scenario arises, a one-way trip back to the above-mentioned bed with one last Mom tuck-in is a fantastic grand prize for guessing.
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About the Author
Jodi Burnett creates educational content for the Atlas Mission . In an earlier life, she used to write the parenting column for a leading regional newspaper, the Tremonton Leader. She now spends her days researching educational methods, playing with microscopes, homeschooling her 4 children, and having a crazy time learning out in the world alongside her kids. She lives near the gorgeous Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City with her husband, 4 children, and a chubby snorting pug.
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