Problem solving is a must! It not only helps us personally, but it helps us excel professionally. Creative problems challenge us to think and that is exactly what we would love our kids to do.
If you give them a problem and ask them for a solution, they will not think (or want to think!). Instead, engage them with activities that will force them to think and lead them to believe they gave you the answer.
Let’s discuss 5 activities which can help you imbibe problem solving nature in your kid
- Talk to them about your problems or create problems for them to solve
It might sound crazy at first but it will be helpful. Trust me! Ask your kids for solutions whenever you can.
“There is water in front of my room. How do I reach the room without stepping on it? Or what can I do to remove the obstacle?”
“There are so many bottles here and I have mixed up all the caps. Can you help me fixing the cap on the right bottle?”
“We do not have a soap to wash our face. What do we do instead?”
I am sure you understand what I am referring to. Even if you do not have a trivial problem to share with your kid, create one for them.
It will force them to think through their options and help you out.
- Obstacle race or situational setup
Create situations for them. Set up an obstacle for them to clear.
Mark out an area for a water body or a mountain in their room. Mark out area where they can walk using one leg. If you are passing through lane 2, you need to have a lemon in a spoon for 10 Mts. etc. Let your imagination run wild!
Now ask them to reach the main gate without falling into any trap or trouble.
It will be fun for you and your kid to figure out the best solutions to finish the activity.
- Treasure hunt
This is one of the best ways to build a problem-solving nature.
Place 5-6 clues around the house and let your kid solve it. You can have the clue in terms of a question, a riddle, story or a poem.
The clues should not be direct or easy to guess. You need to force your kid to be logical enough to figure out the underlying meaning of the clue.
- Let’s find out
Kids are curious by nature. They have so many questions sometimes that we might go bonkers.
When they come to you with a question or a problem, tell them “let’s find out” instead of giving away the solution.
Do not rescue them, reframe it for them. Ask them to
- Tell you more about the situation
- Tell you what they thought about it? What did they try to do or trying to do?
- What did they learn from it?
- Brainstorm a list of things you can do to solve the problem
- If you had a magic wand, what would you do to eliminate the problem? etc
Ask them all the questions (and more) to help them figure out the solution themselves. Give as many hints as possible to reach the “AHA!” moment!
- Cook and serve
There is so much to learn with cooking.
Create problems for them. Ask them questions like:
- I need to mash potatoes, how do I do it?
- I need to cut salad for 4 people but I only have 2 tomatoes. What can I do?
- The dough is too soft. What can I do to make it slightly harder?
- I need to measure the water before putting it in. How can I do that?
While these questions are related to cooking, you can have similar questions for serving.
- How do we serve 4 people when we have only two ceramic plates?
- We have guests over tonight. How can we distribute 16 chapatis amongst all?
- I do not have the same set of serving spoon for all dishes. What can I do?
Some of these are obvious (or stupid you may say!) questions. But, they are new to your kid. You can create similar questions and let your kid provide you the solution.
You will be surprised by the solutions they provide you sometimes.
There you go!
If you have any other activities, games or ideas which can help us imbibe problem solving nature in our kids, please comment below and let us know.
Chhavi Agarwal is a freelance tech and marketing writer and co-founder at Content Writer Guru. She works closely with B2B companies and help grow their online presence through content creation. You can email her at email@example.com