A: Problem solving is the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues. Children learn to problem solve at an early age. Toddlers problem solve when they are learning to maneuver about in their world. From how to hold a spoon, or stack blocks, or putting their arms into sleeves, children begin the process of finding solutions when they are small. As we grow we begin to look for ways to solve, or complete, more complicated tasks. In order to help your child with problem solving during their school years, try these ideas:
Pre-k and Kindergarten: provide opportunities for hands on learning, promote investigation and questioning about the world around us, ask open ended questions to guide curiosity.
Early elementary: provide activities where children can brainstorm, ask questions related to science or math, and allow them to use manipulatives to help formulate an answer.
Older elementary and middle school: offer brain teasers, puzzles and games that require critical thinking and logic, begin critical analysis of real world problems and hypothesize solutions.
Upper middle school and high school: question them about lab experiments, discuss current social or political situations, analyze steps required to solve a math problem.