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.
Problem-solving benefits children in a number of ways. It helps them:
- Cope with challenges in everyday life
- Think outside the box
- Make good decisions and/or work through challenges in those decisions
- Develop other skills, such as cooperation, critical thinking, and collaboration
- Become more independent
5 MORE ACTIVITIES FOR TEACHING PROBLEM SOLVING
Free play provides plenty of opportunities to navigate and creatively solve problems. Children often learn best through play. Our children need to have hours each day where they can play. Playing can teach your child the process of problem-solving. Don’t you want to give them the freedom to explore and discover?
Here is a video on play based learning.
We love arts and crafts in our family. Barely a day goes by where something crafty is done.
We have been having a lot of fun with not following instructions, but rather printing out a picture and then letting the girls try and recreate it on their own. They have to find the materials. And, if there are things missing, work out what could be substituted? They are then to try and make it on their own. Of course, I am there to assist but only if they ask and explain what they need and why.
It really is a good idea to allow your children to work independently, and guide them only when they are out of ideas. Try to let them make the changes and tweaks they desire. What do they see? What do they want to change?
Mazes are fun and safe for all age groups. When you work on mazes, it makes you think. It also improves motor skills, observational skills, and sense of direction, not to mention problem-solving skills.
There are many great maze books or ones you can print out from online. You don’t even have to use paper mazes. When the season is right, why not do a corn maze? Or a garden maze? They all use the same principals and you have to problem solve your way to the finish.
Here is one example of a good maze book you can purchase.
LEGO AND BLOCKS
Give your children LEGO blocks, wooden blocks, foam blocks, etc. Let 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 working design.
You can make it a friendly competition. Or you can build up to something challenging, like making bridges or tall towers. Watch them rack their brains as they try to come up with something that works.
This is fun to do and can be done in a variety of ways. You can even play it at the dinner table.
We still play a game with the girls called “Mean or Nice”. I give them a situation and they have to say whether it is mean or nice. For example: You took a girl’s lollipop. Was that mean or nice?
You can get them to also provide scenarios. It is often fun to see what they come up with as “mean” or “nice”.
For older children you can present scenarios 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?’ They then have to come up with creative solutions on the spot to handle the situation.
You can 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 efforts will help your children grow independent and confident in their skills.
Skills based learning is so much fun. It is a blessing to see how children respond to it and the skills they develop through it.
Here are other posts on skills based learning and activities for teaching the skills:
4Cs and Skills based learning – How does it work?
4Cs and Skills based learning – How do you teach it?
Activities for problem solving
8 Activities for communication
Activities for planning
Activities for collaboration
More activities for teaching communication