Discovery Play with Littles

Discovery Play with Littles

2:01 pm ·

15 Powerful Problem Solving Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

I looked over to her table and she’s crying. Again. While everyone else is happily working away, she sat there, unable to move, just crying. 

Not asking for help.

Not trying to solve her problem.

Just crying.

I took a deep breath before heading over. We’ve already been at this for several months…isn’t it about time the problem-solving has kicked in yet?

One glance and I could tell what her problem was. She didn’t have her pencil.

Know how I knew?

It laid on the floor beside her. In plain sight.

As a kindergarten teacher, I don’t jump right in and solve problems for kids. It’s good for them to try to solve the problem themselves. This is something she struggled with. 

I reminded myself of the need for patience and empathy as I walked up to her. “What’s wrong, Amanda?” 

“I…can’t…find…my…pencil….” she sputtered out between sobs. 

“Ok, that’s a problem we can solve. What have you tried?” 

“I don’t know.” 

After a long time trying to first, calm her down, and second, come up with some strategies she could try, she finally found her pencil. At that point, everyone else had finished the project. 

Toddlers playing with wooden blocks

What is Problem Solving?

Problem-solving is the process of finding a solution to your problem . This can be quite tricky for some young children, especially those with little experience in finding more than one way to solve a problem.

Why is Problem Solving Important? 

Problem-solving skills are used throughout childhood into adulthood. As adults, we solve problems on a daily basis. Some problems we solve without thinking much- I wanted to make tacos for dinner but forgot to buy the ground beef. What are we going to have for dinner now?

Other problems are significantly more complicated. 

Problems for kiddos can be problems with friendships, the inability to find something that’s needed, or even what to do when things don’t go your way. 

Kids who lack problem-solving skills struggle to maintain friendships or even begin to attempt to solve their own problems. 

Children who lack problem-solving skills are at a higher risk for depression as well.

What Are Problem-Solving Skills?

Problem-solving skills are:

  • Breaking Down a Problem into Smaller Parts
  • Communication
  • Decision-making
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Perseverance

That’s a big list to teach toddlers and preschoolers. Where do you begin?

The Problem-Solving Steps

Sometimes kids are so overwhelmed with frustration that it affects their ability to solve problems.

Kids feel safe in routines, and routines help them learn and grow. After a few times of repeating this routine, you’ll find your kiddo starts to do this on their own. 

It’s important not to skip straight to solving the problem , because your kiddo needs to be in a calm state of mind to solve the problem, and also they need to know their feelings are valid. 

  • The first thing to do when your kiddo is struggling with problem-solving is to validate their emotions.

In doing this, they will feel more understood and learn that their emotions are okay. There are no bad feelings, and we must learn how to manage our emotions. 

This might sound something like “Oh, I can see you are really frustrated that the block won’t fit on there right. Let’s take some deep breaths to help us calm down before we think about what to do next.”

  • Next, work through your calm-down process . This may be taking some deep breaths together, hugging a stuffie, or giving your kiddo some quiet time to calm down their heart and mind.
  • Identify the problem . This sounds like something you may have already done (before the meltdown) but it’s important to be very clear on the problem you’re solving. Have the child tell you their problem out loud.
  • Move on to solution-finding . When your kiddo is ready, talk about what the problem is and three possible solutions. When possible, let your kiddo do all of the talking. This allows him to practice his problem-solving skills. It’s important to remind him that the first thing he tries may not work, and that’s ok. There’s always another way to solve the problem. If he’s prepared for this, solutions that don’t work won’t be such a frustrating experience. 
  • After you’ve done that, test your solutions one by one. See what works. If you haven’t found a solution yet, go back and think of different ways you might be able to solve your problem and try again.

problem solving video for preschool

Are you tired of hearing “It’s TOO HARD!” followed by a meltdown?

Using this one simple phrase you’ll get in this powerful lesson, you’ll not only be able to help your kiddo not give up but you’ll:

>Activate their superpower of perseverance so that they can turn around a meltdown and keep trying

>Inspire them to use perseverance …even when it’s hard

>Teach them to recognize the warning signs of giving up , and how to turn it around by taking control of their choices.

Grab your powerful FREE video lesson to teach your kiddo one of the most powerful keys to perseverance.

Powerful Activities that Teach Problem-Solving Skills to Toddlers & Preschoolers

These activities below may look simple, but don’t let that deter you from trying them. A lot happens in little developing brains and these powerful activities help toddlers and preschoolers make connections and develop {many} essential skills-more than just problem-solving.

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Puzzles are fun and a great way to encourage cognitive development in children. They are great for spacial reasoning and strengthening problem-solving skills. They also develop memory skills, critical thinking, and the ability to plan and execute the plan. Toddlers will enjoy the simple puzzles, and preschoolers will do great with floor puzzles with larger puzzle pieces.

problem solving video for preschool

Doing Simple Chores

Doing simple chores is a great way to teach children problem-solving skills, and it strengthens responsibility and perseverance as well. 

During the toddler years , you may start with just picking up their toys, or helping you put their dirty clothes in the hamper. 

Preschoolers can take their dirty dishes to the sink (or load them in the dishwasher), collect the trash, dust, wipe baseboards, and do their own personal care items like making their bed, taking care of their dirty clothes, and putting clean clothes away.

Stacking Rings

When watching a toddler play with stacking rings it doesn’t look like much is happening, but playing with these toys is full of ways to encourage development. It helps with visual and spacial perception and planning ahead, but it also with balance control, crossing the midline, creative play, and gross motor skills. Not to mention it’s a great opportunity to practice problem-solving. 

problem solving video for preschool

Playing Hide-and-Seek

Hide and seek has many surprising benefits for kids. Playing hide and seek is like a treasure hunt that helps develop gross motor skills and encourages physical development, as well as problem-solving skills. It also helps young children develop visual tracking, working memory, and social-emotional skills.

Preschooler playing construction worker

Imaginative Play

Imaginative play (also called role-play) builds important skills. Through pretending to be in different situations, kids develop social skills, emotional skills, better communication, and problem-solving skills. Imaginative play is a great idea for young toddlers all the way to older children.

Free Play 

Many young children don’t have {enough} time for free play. Free play is important for healthy brain development , not only developing imagination, cooperation, physical skills, and independence but also providing a great opportunity to strengthen problem-solving skills. 

Playing with Wooden Blocks

Building blocks are a fun way for children to develop creative thinking, imagination, problem-solving, fine motor skills, and if working with others, cooperation, communication, and friendship.

problem solving video for preschool

Playing Memory

Memory games improve attention, focus, visual recognition, and concentration. It helps children recognize details and of course, strengthens problem-solving skills. 

problem solving video for preschool

Ask Questions

When I see my son struggling with something, my first instinct is to give him choices or at least lead him in the right direction. The better thing to do is to ask very open-ended questions that lead his process, not his thoughts.

Questions like “What’s one way to solve your problem?” are much more effective in teaching problem-solving skills than “Well, where did you last see your stuffy?” 

Read Books and Social Stories

Reading books is one of my favorite ways to teach any skill. It’s extremely effective at teaching, and it’s also an amazing bonding time with kids.

When we read stories, our brain reacts as if we’re living in the story. This is why reading books about skills such as problem-solving is so effective. 

Kids of all ages learn from the people they love . (Yes, even those older kids who you don’t think are paying attention.) Often as adults, we’re too busy going through our daily routine to think about talking about the way we solved the problem at work that day.

Talking about how you use skills such as problem-solving, perseverance, and integrity is a great way to set an example, and an expectation that this is how we do things, and it will provide encouragement for your kiddo to do the same.

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are a great group activity that can strengthen your child’s logical thinking and problem-solving skills.

When Your Kiddo is Ready, Add These Activities

Preschoolers would benefit from all of the fun activities on the list above and when they’re ready, feel free to add in the following activities.   

Mazes are great for problem-solving and perseverance, but your kiddo will need to have decent fine motor skills to do these activities. Mazes are one of our favorite activities. We love to take our activity book of mazes in the car with us for road trips. 

problem solving video for preschool

Board Games  

Board games are a good way to strengthen problem-solving, teamwork, planning skills, patience, sportsmanship, and communication skills. They also strengthen family relationships by providing some intentional time of connection .

Any board game can also be turned into an academic game with just a deck of cards for whatever skill you’re working on. If you’re working on the alphabet, put one letter on each card. Before each player’s turn, they draw a letter card and say the letter’s name. (You may accidentally forget the name of a letter every now and then to see if your kiddo is really paying attention!) 

Allow Opportunities for Hands-On Investigations

Kids are tactile. They love to touch and explore things with their hands. This is a good activity for toddlers also, as long as they are out of the putting everything in their mouth stage. Hands-on exploration is great for language development, sensory exploration, and problem-solving.

Allowing kids to investigate with their hands allows them to see how the world works up close. It also gives them time and space to try to make things work…and problem-solve when it doesn’t go as they think it should.

The Most Difficult Way (and Most Important Way) To Strengthen Problem-Solving Skills

Watching our kids struggle is hard ! We don’t want to see them having a hard time…and most of the time we don’t want to deal with the impending meltdown. Standing back and giving our kids time and space to work through even simple problems is hard to do. It’s also the most important way to strengthen problem-solving skills. 

As parents, we’re like frogs in boiling water. When our kids are infants, they need us to recognize their needs and solve them immediately. As they get older, they can point to what they want, but we still have a lot of interpreting and problem-solving to do on our own. If we aren’t careful, we stay in this stage and don’t teach our kiddos the steps to problem-solving for themselves. 

The next most difficult thing? Allowing natural consequences to happen. (As long as your child is safe of course.) If your child saves their money for a long time to buy a new toy, but walks down the toy aisle and picks up something you know they’ll be disappointed with, let it happen. It will teach a valuable lesson that will last for years to come.

Another Essential Part of Problem-Solving

Perseverance is a big part of problem-solving. We are rarely able to solve problems the first time, and it’s essential that kids can find more than one solution to a problem. Studies have found that perseverance is actually the biggest predictor of success, even more than aptitude or raw talent. 

An entire module is dedicated to perseverance in our course for kids, Super Kid Adventures . Your kiddo will get 25 teacher-led lessons on character traits (perseverance, empathy, friendship, responsibility, and wellness) and activities that take their learning further. 

Super Kid Adventures

Want a free preview? Grab a FREE Perseverance video lesson that teaches your kiddo one of the most important secrets that help them use perseverance.

Want More? 

If you like this, you’ll love: 

The Ultimate List of Books that Teach Perseverance

7 Simple Ways to Encourage Independence in Young Children

How to Help Your Child Develop Self-Help Skills

Your Turn 

What are your favorite ways to teach problem-solving skills?

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About Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a mama of two boys, a former teacher, and the founder of Discovery Play with Littles. Her mission is to make raising kids with character simple and fun. Join us for our best learning through play ideas, character growth activities, and family connection ideas so you can watch your child thrive.

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As a SLP trying to guide parents as I work with their child. I would like to know what toys to recommend to my parents as I assist in guiding their child’s development in cognition and expressive language.

Free Perseverance Lesson

Perseverance is the biggest predictor of success, even more than raw talent or aptitude.

Grab a FREE lesson to teach your kiddo one of the keys to perseverance...which is how we talk to our brains.

They'll learn what to say when they encounter something difficult, and why it's so important.

PLAY is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood. -Mr. Rogers

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31 Best Wordless Videos to Teach Problem Solving

Wordless videos are a fun and entertaining way to get your students learning and talking. Using wordless videos to teach problem-solving is a great way to keep your students stay engaged all while working on their goals.

Who Could Benefit From Wordless Videos?

Students who struggle to solve social problems can benefit from first practicing problem-solving someone else’s problems in a wordless animation, for example, prior to having to solve the social problems in their own lives. It’s easier to identify problems in someone else’s life than it is in your own life.


Ways in Which to Use Voiceless Videos

  • Answering wh-questions: Have your students watch the animated short film and then ask them wh-questions.
  • Retell a story/sequencing: After watching the films have your students retell or sequence the short film.
  • Solving hypothetical problems: Use the following wordless videos to teach problem-solving. Stop the video throughout and have your students identify the problem and a possible solution to the problem. Then you can move on to practice solving problems in real life .
  • Predictions/inferences: Stop the video throughout and have your students make predictions and inferences about what might happen next in the film.

Don’t Forget to Grab your Freebie!

Be sure to grab the freebie that goes along with this bundle of wordless videos. The freebie comes with:

  • Problem-solving
  • A set of wh-questions
  • Story retell with predictions

There are 31 sets of the following worksheets.

problem solving video for preschool

Before you begin…

  • I have watched all of these short animations to make sure they are appropriate. However, please preview the entire video prior to showing your students as you know best what is appropriate for your level of comfort and for your individual students.
  • Almost all of these videos show ads prior to the start of the animation short. I suggest cueing up the video prior to showing the video to your students as some ads may not be appropriate.

31 Wordless Videos to Teach Problem Solving

1. t he small shoemaker: 5:32 minutes.

This short is about Mr. Botte’s shoemaker’s shop, and the passionate and skillful shoemaker’s daily life is about to be disturbed as another shoemaker creates a street vendor stall just in front of Mr. Botte’s store!

2. The Sweet Cocoon: 5:57 minutes

End video by 4:55. Please preview the end of this video prior to showing it to your students. I have decided to end this video by 4:55 minutes to avoid the sad ending for some of my students.

This animation is about two insects that decide to help a struggling caterpillar in her metamorphosis process!

3. The Wishgranter: 4:48 minutes

This short film is about a world where wishes are granted by mythical beings that live under fountains. The wish granter is forced to go above ground in order to grant a wish of love.

4. Dustin: 7:45 minutes

This super cute animation is about a pug learning to have a new roommate of an automatic cleaning robot.

5. Rollin’ Safari: 2:01 minutes

Enjoy this fun short film about what the world would be like if animals were round.

6. Piper: 3:20 minutes

Watch a hungry sandpiper hatchling as she ventures from her nest for the first time to dig for food by the shoreline. However, the only problem is that the food is buried under the sand where scary waves roll up onto the shore.

7. Hola Llamingo: 3:52 minutes

Enjoy this film about the beautiful, fleeting friendship between a boy and his pinata which comes to life.

8. Soar: 6:14 minutes

This short film called Soar is about a young girl who must help a tiny boy pilot fly home before it’s too late.

9. Brush A Fox Tale: 3:37 minutes

A young fox who enjoys painting has a crush on his neighbor. When he tries to hide it his other paintings come to life to try to convince him otherwise.

10. Fishing with Sam: 5:53 minutes

A pesky little penguin keeps stealing all the fish from a bear, a seal, and two other penguins, but they disguise a plan to take care of that pesky little penguin.

11. The Box: 7:01 minutes

This animation is about an old man who finds a mouse in his house. He ends up taming the mouse he first wanted to get rid of.

12. Coin Operated: 5:14 minutes

Watch this short film about the life of a young man that spans over 70 years in the life of one naive explorer.

13. Partly Cloudy: 5:49 minutes

Enjoy this super cute film. Everyone knows that it is a stork that delivers babies, but where do the storks get the babies from? The answer comes from the clouds, where cloud people sculpt babies from clouds and bring them to life.

14. Lifted: 5:03 minutes

A cute animation about a young alien who is in training to capture a human but gets overwhelmed with all the switches.

15. Ormie The Pig: 3:52 minutes

This fun short is about a pig named Ormie. Ormie wants a cookie. But they are out of reach…or are they? See Ormie’s attempts to gain the warm sweet taste that is his obsession.

16. Embarked: 4:24 minutes

Watch this super cute short about a treehouse who follows his family even after the young boy moves away.

17. SpellBound: 3:06 minutes

A young girl who is jealous of her sister must save her after writing negative thoughts that unexpectedly transform into monsters.

18. The Birds: 3:25 minutes

An animated short about a group of small birds that make fun of a larger funny-looking bird, but when they try and get rid of the larger funny-looking bird their plan backfires and the large bird is soon laughing at his bullies.

19. A Fox and A Mouse: 6:23 minutes

Enjoy this sweet animation as a lonely fox hunts a mouse – and their relationship evolves as two owls begin to get in the middle of the fox’s hunt!

20. Pigeon Impossible: 6:15 minutes

A newbie secret agent is faced with a problem seldom covered in basic training: what to do when a pigeon gets trapped inside your multi-million dollar, government-issued nuclear briefcase.

21. The Children’s Tree: 1:58 minutes

This short film is about an imaginative little girl, a good-hearted old tree, and a helpful butterfly.

22. Hey Deer: 6:15 minutes

This fun short film is about an adorable, cocoa-drinking deer who is eager to tidy and shovel show in front of his house every day. However, there is a suspicious earthquake every night which causes the mess day by day. Between two cups of cocoa, the amazing truth reveals itself which changes the deer’s life forever…

23. Catch It: 5:25 minutes

A group of meerkats takes care of their beloved and unique fruit but a twist happens when a vulture comes and disturbs their peace of mind.

24. Mouse for Sale: 4:16 minutes

This short is about a lonely mouse in a pet shop, craving to be bought by someone. But he’s got one big problem: his huge ears. The kids entering the store keep laughing at him. Will Snickers find the buddy he so desires, someone who will take him for who he is?

25. One Man Band: 4:02 minutes

Watch this super cute short about a young peasant girl with one coin left when she encounters two competing street performers who’d prefer the coin find its way into their tip jars. The little girl is caught in the middle as a musical duel ensues between the one-man-bands.

26. Dust Buddies: 4:05 minutes

A story about the friendship between two dust bunnies who live peacefully under a couch. When an evil maid comes to clean the house and sucks Fuzz into her vacuum, Lint must overcome his fears and set out to rescue his friend.

27. The Stubborn Donkey: 4:25 minutes

The short film is all about a stubborn donkey who is difficult to move but a bit of greek music just could do the trick.

28. The Egyptian Pyramids: 3:36 minutes

This cute animation is about an archaeologist who is about to discover the secret of the Egyptian Pyramids.

29. Minuscule: 5:09 minutes

The short film revolves around the day-to-day existence of slugs and how a caterpillar tries to blend into the family.

30. Jinky Jenkins and Lucky Lou: 3:52 minutes

When the misfortunate Jenkins and the Lucky Lou run into each other one morning, they find a thrilling and fulfilling change of pace as they hurtle down the hills of San Francisco in an ice cream cart.

31. Can I Stay: 3:48 minutes

This sweet short animation is about an apprehensive homeless girl who must traverse a dangerous, wintry city in order to escape her adorable pursuers.

Get me my Problem Solving Wordless Videos Freebie!

Problem Solving Restorative Justice Graphic Visual :

Use this Flip Book Graphic Visual to help your students solve their conflicts with others and to make things right.


  • 1. Identify the Problem: Fill out the scenario by writing down what happened and drawing what happened.
  • 2. Have your Student Identify their Feelings: Draw their emotions and write down their thoughts in the thought bubble.
  • 3. Have the other Student Involved Identify their Feelings: Draw the other person’s emotions and write down the other person’s thoughts in the thought bubble.
  • 4. Make Things Right: Identify how to make things better.
  • 5. My Notes: Fill in any additional information you might find helpful to know or remember.

Get your students talking and problem-solving using these super cute wordless animation videos to teach them problem-solving skills. Also, you can use these short videos to teach story retell, sequencing, answering wh-questions, or inferences/predictions. Are your students ready to start solving real-life problems? Be sure to grab the 71+ problem-solving scenarios freebie to get additional problem-solving practice!

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

I have used this resource numerous times. This is amazing! I appreciate you taking the time to create this and for making it free. My students love them. you visuals and graphics are on point. Will you be making more. I would pay for it as I find it worth it and very useful. Some of the other Wordless Video I have seen that I like include: The Present, Snack Attack, Carrot Crazy, and The Bridge. There are others...Please let us know! Thanks again!

Melissa Berg

Wednesday 8th of February 2023

Hi Judith, Thanks so much for reaching out! I'm happy to know you like this resource. I currently don't have another set in the works, but since it is a fan favorite I can definitely add it to my list of ideas for the future. Thanks for the suggestion and additional videos to look into. All my best, Melissa

Monday 7th of November 2022

This is great for my high-functioning autism students!

The Best Handout for Phonological Processing Disorder Therapy - Speech Therapy Store

Monday 11th of May 2020


430+ Free Multisyllabic Words List Activity Bundle - Speech Therapy Store

Saturday 2nd of May 2020

108 Free Speech Therapy Wh Questions Printable - Speech Therapy Store

Friday 1st of May 2020

Empowered Parents

10 Simple Activities to Teach Your Preschooler Problem Solving

By: Author Tanja McIlroy

Posted on Last updated: 5 June 2024

Categories Activities for Preschoolers & Kindergarteners

During the first years of a child’s life, an important set of cognitive skills known as problem-solving abilities are developed. These skills are used throughout childhood and into adulthood.

Find out what problem solving is, why it’s important and how you can develop these skills with 10 problem-solving games and activities.

What is Problem Solving in Early Childhood?

So, what exactly is problem solving? Quite simply, it refers to the process of finding a solution to a problem .

A person uses their own knowledge and experience, as well as the information at hand to try and reach a solution. Problem solving is therefore about the thought processes involved in finding a solution.

This could be as complex as an adult working out how to get out of a financial crisis or as simple as a child working out how two blocks fit together.

Problem Solving Skills for Kids

Problem-solving skills refer to the specific thinking skills a person uses when faced with a challenge. Some problems require the use of many skills, while others are simple and may only require one or two skills.

These are some examples of problem-solving skills for preschoolers , as listed by .

  • Lateral thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Decision-making skills
  • Logical reasoning
  • Persistence
  • Communication skills
  • Negotiation skills

The Importance of Developing Problem-Solving Skills in Early Childhood

Problem solving is a skill that would be difficult to suddenly develop as an adult. While you can still improve a skill at any age, the majority of learning occurs during the early years.

Boy thinking about a problem

Preschool is the best time for a child to learn to problem solve in a fun way. The benefits of learning early will last a lifetime and the beauty of learning anything at a young age is that it is effortless .

It is like learning to play an instrument or picking up a new language – it’s just much easier and more natural at an early age.

Of all the many things preschoolers need to learn , what makes problem solving so important?

There aren’t many situations in life, at work or at school that don’t require some level of problem resolution.

Child’s play itself is filled with opportunity upon opportunity to solve all kinds of tricky situations and come up with solutions to challenges.

Problem Solving in Preschool

During the foundational years, children are constantly solving problems as they play .

Here are just a few examples of problem solving in early childhood :

  • Resolving a fight over the same toy
  • Reaching a ball that’s stuck in the tree
  • Forming a circle while holding hands
  • Making a bridge to connect two block towers
  • Tying or untying a shoe
  • Making up rules for a new game
  • Trying to get the consistency of a mud cake right so it stops falling over

The more creative play opportunities and challenges children are given, the more they get to exercise their problem-solving muscles.

During free play , there are non-stop experiences for this, and parents and teachers can also encourage specific problem-solving skills through guided activities .

Problem Solving for Older Children

During the grades, children experience problems in many forms, some of which may be related to their academic, social and emotional well-being at school. Problems may come in the form of dealing with life issues, such as:

  • Problems with friendships
  • Struggling to understand something during a lesson
  • Learning to balance the demands of sport and homework
  • Finding the best way to study for a test
  • Asking a teacher for help when needed

Problems will also form a large part of academic life as teachers will be actively developing this skill through various activities, for example:

  • Solving a riddle or understanding a work of literature
  • Working on projects with a friend
  • Finding solutions during science experiments
  • Solving mathematical problems
  • Solving hypothetical problems during lessons
  • Answering questions and completing exam papers

Children who have had practice during preschool will be a lot more capable when facing these challenges.

Solving Problems in Mathematics

Mathematics needs to be mentioned separately as although it is part of schooling, it is such a huge part and it depends heavily on a child’s ability to solve problems.

The entire subject of mathematics is based on solving problems. Whether you are adding 2 and 3, working out how many eggs will fit into each basket, or solving an algebraic expression, there is a problem in every question.

Mathematics is just a series of problems that need to be solved.

What we refer to as problem solving in Maths is usually answering word problems .

The reason many children find these so difficult to answer is that the question is presented as a problem through a story, rather than just numbers with symbols telling you what operation to use (addition, division, etc.)

This means a child is forced to think carefully, understand the problem and determine the best way to solve it.

These problems can involve various units (e.g. mass, capacity or currency) as well as fractions, decimals, equations and angles, to name a few. Problems tend to become more and more complex over the years.

My experience in the classroom has shown that many, many children struggle with solving word problems, from the early grades right into the senior years.

They struggle to analyze the question, understand it, determine what information they’ve been given, and what exactly they are required to solve.

The good news is that exposing a child to regular problem-solving activities and games in preschool can greatly help him to solve word problems later on in school.

If you need one good reason to do these kinds of activities, let it be for a smoother experience in mathematics – a subject so many children unnecessarily fear.

Problem Solving in the Workplace

Lady at work doing problem solving

Adults in the workplace seldom thrive without problem-solving skills. They are required to regularly solve problems .

As adults, employees are expected to independently deal with the frequent challenges, setbacks and problems that are a big part of every working environment.

Those who can face and solve their own problems will go further and cope better than those who seek constant help from others or cannot show initiative.

Some  career websites even refer to problem solving as a universal job skill. They also mention that many employees are not good at it. 

Again, although it may seem far removed, learning this skill at a young age will help a child cope right into adulthood and in the working world.

How to Teach Children Problem-Solving Skills

If early childhood is the best time to grow these skills in your young children, then how does one go about teaching them to toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners?

Mom and child constructing

Problem solving can be taught in such a way that you expose your child to various opportunities where they will be faced with challenges.

You would not necessarily sit your 3-year-old down and tell or “teach” him all about fixing problems. Instead, you want to create opportunities for your child to grow this skill .

Using the brain to think and find solutions is a bit like working a muscle over time. Eventually, your muscle gets stronger and can handle more “ weight. ” Your child will learn to problem solve in two ways:

  • Incidentally – through free play
  • Through guided opportunities provided by a parent or teacher

If you make a point of encouraging thinking through games and activities, your child will develop stronger skills than if you let it all happen incidentally.

Problem-Solving Strategies and Steps

If we take a look at the steps involved in solving a problem, we can see that there are many layers involved and different types of skills. Here are the problem-solving steps according to the University of Ken. 

Step 1: Identify the problem

Step 2: Define the problem

Step 3: Examine the options

Step 4: Act on a plan

Step 5: Look at the consequences

Therefore, activities at a preschool level need not present complicated high-level problems.

  • A simple activity such as identifying differences in a picture can work on the first skill needed – identifying a problem.
  • Playing with construction toys can develop a child’s ability to try various solutions and examine the options when faced with a problem such as trying to find the best way to build something.
  • Playing Tic-Tac-Toe would make a child predict the consequences of placing their mark in a particular square.

The most basic of activities can work on all these skills and make children competent solution finders.

How to Teach Problem Solving with Questions

The language you use around your child and your questioning technique will also greatly affect their understanding of a problem or challenge as merely something waiting for a solution to be found .

While your child is playing or when she comes to you with a problem, ask open-ended questions that will guide her in finding a potential answer independently. Use the steps listed above to formulate your questions.

Here are some examples of questions:

  • What do you think made the tower of blocks fall down?
  • If we build it again, how can we change the structure so that it won’t fall down next time?
  • Is there a better way we can do it? If you think of a different way, we can both try it and see which works better.
  • Did that work? The tower fell again so let’s try another solution.

Resist the temptation to fix every one of your child’s problems, including conflict with friends or siblings. These are important opportunities for children to learn how to resolve things by negotiating, thinking and reasoning.

With time, your child will get used to seeing a problem, understanding it, weighing up the options, taking action and evaluating the consequences.

Problems will be seen as challenges to be faced logically and not “problems.”

10 Problem-Solving Activities for Preschoolers

Here are 10 simple, easy games and problem solving activities for kids at home or at school. Many of them are the kinds of activities children should have daily exposure to.

Puzzles are one of the best thinking activities out there. Each puzzle is basically one big set of muddled-up things to be sorted out and put back together again. Find out why puzzles are important for development .

Children should have regular exposure to puzzles. They are great for developing thinking skills.

The best types to choose are sturdy, wooden puzzles with a board. They last longer and the frame provides a structure to guide children when building.

2. Memory games

Memory games will develop your child’s memory and attention to detail.

Use pairs of matching pictures and turn them all face down, shuffled, on a table. Take turns choosing any two cards and turning them face up on the table. If you turn over a matching pair you keep the cards and if the pair doesn’t match, turn the cards back over until it is your turn to try again.

Encourage your child to concentrate and pay attention to where the pictures are and try to find a matching pair on each turn. 

(Get your own set of printable memory card games here!)

3. Building with Construction Toys

Construction toys such as engineering blocks, a proper set of wooden blocks or Legos (shown below) should be a daily staple in your home.

Everything your child builds is a challenge because it requires thinking about what to build and how to put the pieces together to get a design that works and is functional.

Leave your child to construct freely and occasionally set a challenge and ask him to build a specific structure, with conditions. For example:

  • Make two towers with a bridge joining them together
  • Build a creature that stands on its own and has 3 arms.

Then watch your child wracking his brain until he finds a way to make his structure work.

4.  Activity Books

These activity books are really fun and develop a child’s ability to identify problems and search for information.

problem solving video for preschool

5. Following Patterns

This simple activity can be played with a set of coloured blocks, shapes or counters.

Simply make a pattern with the blocks and ask your child to continue it. Vary the pattern by changing the colours, shapes or sizes.

This activity will train your child to analyse the given information, make sense of it, recognise the pattern and re-create it.

6. Story Time Questions

Get into the habit of asking questions during your daily story time that develop higher-order thinking skills . Instead of just reading and your child passively listening, ask questions throughout, concentrating on solving problems.

Here are some examples:

  • Why do you think the bear did that?
  • Do you think his friend will be happy? Why?
  • What would you do if you were the monkey?
  • How do you think Peter can make things better with his friend?
  • If the crocodile had decided not to eat the rabbit, how could the story have ended?

7. Board Games

Board games are an excellent way to develop problem-solving skills.

Start off with simple games like Ludo and Snakes and Ladders to teach the skill of following rules and moving in a logical sequence.

problem solving video for preschool

Card games like Go Fish are also great for teaching young children to think ahead and solve problems.

8.  Tic-Tac-Toe

This is a perfect game to teach decision-making skills , thinking before acting and weighing up the possible consequences.

Tic-tac-toe game

Use a Tic Tac Toe Board or d raw a simple table like the one above on paper or a chalkboard.

Take turns to add a nought or a cross to the table and see who can make a row of three first.

Your child will probably catch on in no time and start thinking carefully before placing their symbol. This game can also be played with coloured counters or different objects.

9. Classifying and Grouping Activities

This activity can be done with a tin of buttons or beads or even by unpacking the dishwasher. The idea is to teach the skill of classifying and categorizing information by learning with physical objects. Here are some other ideas for categorizing:

  • Separate the washing – mom’s clothes, dad’s clothes, etc; or socks, tops, shorts, etc.
  • Empty out the cutlery drawer for cleaning, mix all the utensils up and then sort into knives, tablespoons, teaspoons, etc.
  • Classify and sort out the toys in your child’s bedroom together – all books, construction toys, soft toys, etc.
  • Play category games .

Here are more button activities for kids .

10. Building a Maze

This activity is lots of fun and suitable for any age. It is also going to be way more fun than doing a maze in an activity book, especially for younger children.

Draw a big maze on the paving with sidewalk chalk . Make passages, including one or two that end in a dead-end. Teach your kids to find their way out .

As your child gets better at figuring out a route and finding the way out, make the maze more complex and add more dead-end passages.

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Wednesday 20th of May 2020

Very very useful content. Good work. Thank you.

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Teach your students how to solve problems using visual supports and techniques in your early childhood classroom. Teaching social skills (aka character education) is just as important as teaching letters.

Problem solving is challenging for young students (and many adults too)! To support my little friends, I teach them problem solving strategies that they can use when they encounter a problem. We want our students to become independent thinkers who can solve problems, control their emotions, express empathy, and help others.

I introduce the problem solving techniques a few at a time during a class meeting. Each week, I introduce three new problem solving techniques.  We then end up with nine to twelve techniques total based on what my students need that year.  I explain the technique to the students in concrete terms so they will understand what the technique is and what it can look/sound like.

We usually start with these four skills:  “please stop”, ask, get help, and say how you feel.  Many problems can be solved with those solutions, which is why I always start with those. Then, the following week, I introduce take turns, play together, trade, and share. Then, the last four solutions the next week.

Problem Solving Techniques

Teach your students problem solving skills using visual supports and techniques in your early childhood classroom. Teaching social skills (aka character education) is just as important as teaching letters.

Singing with puppets is a fun and active way to practice the problem-solving techniques .  Preschoolers LOVE puppets!  This technique also allows students to role play.  Some students will be more verbal if they can pretend to be someone else.  At the end of each verse, students act out the problem-solving technique with a buddy using the puppets!As a transition activity to lunch, students took turns sharing a way they have solved a problem. You can also play, “What would you do if….”. State a real problem that could happen and have students pick a problem-solving solution to solve the problem. Some examples would be, “What would you do if your friend took your book?”, “What would you do if you got sticky glue on your hands?”, or “What would you do if you needed the red marker and your friend was coloring with it?” Once they have learned the strategies, stand back and let students try solving their own problems independently. Just a warning: this can take some time with lots of practice and support. As long as the student isn’t frustrated, let them try before you jump in to help. You will be amazed at the problems your child can solve given the opportunity to.

At first, you will be giving students lots of support and giving them the words to use to solve a problem.

  • Always approach students at their level, in a calm supporting way.
  • Ask, “what’s the problem?” If they don’t respond, comment on what you see such as “I see you have glue all over your hands and it looks sticky.”
  • Restate the problem. “So the problem is ….”
  • Brainstorm solutions and choose one together. This is the perfect time to use problem solving card visuals! “How can we solve this problem?” Flip through the solution cards and ask “Could we ….?”
  • Praise and observe! Cheer on the students for solving the problem and stay close just in case they need more support.

Throughout the day, try to make EVERYTHING a problem to solve.  Then model, talk through your thinking out loud, and use visuals to support students as they try to solve a problem. For example, I may put out a big ball of playdough in the center of the table as a small group activity. Students have to problem solve so each student has play dough to play with. It only takes few extra minutes to sneak in problem-solving situations throughout the day. Each time students help solve a problem or observe a friend solve a problem, they learn to self-regulate, express emotions appropriately, develop empathy, and develop problem-solving skills.

State problems for students who look stuck. If a student is just standing there, they need support, but don’t solve the problem for them! It’s so easy to do. Simply state their problem or what you see and ask a probing question. For example, if a student is standing with an empty bowl in their hand, you could say “Your snack spilled on the floor. How can you solve the problem?”

Problem-Solving Necklace or Mini Book!

I hole punched the small cards, put them on a book ring and keep them on a lanyard I wear every day.  This way I can support students’ solving problems without having to go to the safe place where they are posted.  I can just show the picture cards as a visual on my necklace.  The mini book in the safe place works the same way.

Teach your students how to solve problems using visual supports and techniques in your early childhood classroom. Teaching social skills (aka character education) is just as important as teaching letters.

Safe Place!

I keep my techniques posted in my circle area at the beginning of the year AND in my safe place. My safe place is a small spot in my classroom where students can go when they are upset, need to calm down, want to be alone, or have a problem.

Teach your students how to solve problems using visual supports and techniques in your early childhood classroom. Teaching social skills (aka character education) is just as important as teaching letters.

Once I see students using the problem-solving techniques independently, I remove them from my circle area.  They are posted in my safe place ALL YEAR LONG for students to use when they are struggling to solve a problem.  In my safe place, you will find a mirror, feeling chart, bean bag, sensory bottles, calm down choices, a stuffed animal, problem solving mini book and problem-solving techniques chart. You can read all about how to set up a safe place in your classroom HERE . Children’s Books!

These are some of my FAVORITE children’s books to teach all about problem-solving.  As we read the book, we talk about how the character is or isn’t solving the problem, how it makes the character and others feel, any natural consequences that could occur, and which one of our problem-solving strategies the character could use to solve the problem.

Teach your students how to solve problems using visual supports and techniques in your early childhood classroom. Teaching social skills (aka character education) is just as important as teaching letters.

Do you want to use them in your classroom?  You can!  I did the work for you.  Grab them from my TPT store HERE .

LOVE it? Pin this image!

Teach your students how to solve problems using visual supports and techniques in your early childhood classroom. Teaching social skills (aka character education) is just as important as teaching letters.

hey, i’m jackie!

I’m Jackie, your go-to girl for early childhood inspiration and research-based curriculum. 

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Problem Solving Activities for Preschoolers

Colleen beck otr/l.

  • by Colleen Beck OTR/L
  • October 22, 2021

It can be frustrating when children act without thinking of the consequences. In this blog post, you’ll learn about the development of problem solving in specific parts of our brain, discover important aspects of executive functioning that impact problem solving abilities, how to teach problem solving to preschoolers, and problem solving activities for preschoolers and young children so they can use words instead of the preschooler’s behaviors  or tantrums.

Best of all, many of our favorite fine motor activities for preschoolers support problem solving skills in early childhood.

Problem solving skills in preschool

Problem Solving Activities for Preschoolers

Before we get into the problem solving activities for preschoolers, and specific strategies to use in early childhood, it’s important to understand the development of the problem-solving process in kids. Supporting small children by giving them the skills to be problem solvers takes time and practice. We’ll get to those specific strategies below.

But first, does this scenario sound familiar at all…

I just don’t understand why Johnny keeps throwing the ball in the house. Doesn’t he realized that he could break the window? Johnny is three and he loves to play with his tennis ball in the house. Even though I have told him over and over again that we don’t throw them in the house, I still catch him sneaking them indoors at least once a week. 

Before we can address problem solving by helping kids look at the big picture and coming up with creative solutions for problem solving issues, we need to understand what is happening developmentally. Self-reflection is a challenging cognitive skill, and for young learners! 

Let’s take a better look at the development of problem solving skills…

Development of problem solving skills in preschoolers

Development of Problem Solving Skills

It’s through play, observation of others, and practice that young learners are developing problem solving skills in early childhood .

Problem solving, rational thinking and reasoning are all skills that are controlled by a part of our brain called the prefrontal cortex. Our brains grow exponentially over the first five years of life, but not the part of our brain that helps us with critical thinking and problem solving skills. This part of our brain, called the prefrontal cortex, isn’t fully developed until we turn 25 years old! 

As babies, we are exposed every day to new experiences, but at this age we don’t comprehend how these experiences affect us and those around us. If only children could think through their problems. This resource on executive functioning skills offers more information.

Have you noticed that it can be a bit scary when teenagers get their drivers licenses? They don’t always think of “what might happen.” This is due to their prefrontal cortex not being fully developed. 

But what about our three and four year olds? We know they can count, ask questions and get the cookie off the counter in a very sneaky way when we aren’t looking. In the Early Years study of 2011 called Making decisions, Taking action , they describe the prefrontal cortex entering a rapid period of development, making critical interconnections with our limbic system. (link: )

This study states “The prefrontal cortex pathways that underlie these capacities are unique to human brains and take a long time to mature. Early connections begin in infancy. Between age 3 and 5 years, the prefrontal cortex circuits enter a rapid period of development and make critical interconnections with the limbic system. During adolescence and early adulthood, the neural pathways are refined and become more efficient.”

What is so great about this part of the brain anyway? 

As the prefrontal cortex (that is located behind out eyes) develops over the years, we are able to engage with situations differently, assessing our surroundings in a new way. As we develop these new executive functioning skills, we are able to keep ourselves safe, build friendships and become successful in our careers.

Related, these friendship activities for preschoolers offers ideas and strategies to support social emotional development.

This peer reviewed report competed by Merve Cikili Utyun, called Development Period of Prefrontal Cortex, discusses how amazing this part of our brain is, and how each of the three sections control different aspects of our functioning. It states that: 

“ PFC includes the following Broadman Areas (BA): 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 44, 45, 46, 47. “The dorsolateral frontal cortex (BA) 9/46 has been functioned in many cognitive process, including processing spatial information, monitoring and manipulation of working memory, the implementation of strategies to facilitate memory, response selection, the organization of material before encoding, and the verification and evaluation of representations that have been retrieved from long-term memory. 

The mid-ventrolateral frontal cortex (BA 47) has implicated cognitive functions, including the selection, comparison, and judgment of stimuli held in short-term and long-term memory, processing non-spatial information, task switching, reversal learning, stimulus selection, the specification of retrieval cues, and the ‘elaboration encoding’ of information into episodic memory.

BA 10, the most anterior aspect of the PFC, is a region of association cortex known to be involved in higher cognitive functions, such as planning future actions and decision-making. BAs 44 and 45, include part of the inferior frontal and these regions’ functions are language production, linguistic motor control, sequencing, planning, syntax, and phonological processing.

Finally, the orbitofrontal cortex mostly (BA 47, 10, 11, 13) in the orbitofrontal cortex has been implicated in processes that involve the motivational or emotional value of incoming information, including the representation of primary (unlearned) reinforcers such as taste, smell, and touch, the representation of learnt relationships between arbitrary neutral stimuli and rewards or punishments, and the integration of this information to guide response selection, suppression, and decision making.” 

Wow! No wonder it takes so long for this part of our brain to fully develop. Problem solving skills in preschoolers take time to develop!

When Johnny is throwing the ball inside the house, he is thinking about what is happening now, in the present. Not what has happened in the past (when he broke the window at grandmas house a year ago) or that breaking a window might happen in the future. 

What are some problem solving techniques?

Solving problems is a skill that all preschoolers need support with. This critical skill doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and practice to become second nature.

It’s hard for us, as adults, to remember that children ages 3-5 (preschool-aged) don’t yet have the brain capacity to problem solve on their own, or remember what they learned from a situation a week ago. 

Just like when Andrew was painting at the easel and his paintbrush got stuck in the container. Instead of asking for help or trying to “unstick” the brush, he screamed.  Or when Sally and Samantha ran outside to grab the red bouncy ball, Samantha screamed when Sally grabs it first. She didn’t see the other red bouncy ball in the bucket next to the bikes. 

Try some of these problem solving activities for  kids :

Observation- Children need problem solving strategies that they can observe, and then practice in their everyday lives. Let kids see you talk through problems as you “figure out” a solution. This gives children a chance to see a problem-solving approach in real life situations. They get to see problem solving scenarios in action.

Repetition- Repetition supports brain growth in every area of development including problem solving, executive functioning, motor development, language skills and social development.

Multisensory Activities- Children learn best with multi-sensory cues, learning new skills through seeing, touching, hearing and experiencing the skills they are learning. In 2013, the US National Library of Medicine published an article titled  Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat.  stating “The prefrontal cortex acquires information from all of the senses and orchestrates thoughts and actions in order to achieve specific goals.” (link:

Creative Activities- Solving problems is a skill that all preschoolers need support with. It’s hard for us, as adults, to remember they don’t yet have the brain capacity to problem solve on their own. The best way to teach children how to problem solve, it to create activities that support these new skills in a positive way, that their developing brain understands. This letter to future self is one activity to work on goal achievement even at a young age. Preschoolers can draw a picture of what they would like to do or be as an older child or as a teenager or adult.

Problem Solving Activities for Preschool

Here are 3 Simple Ways to Teach Preschoolers to Solve Problems

1.Teaching executive functioning and problem solving skills in everyday situations will support the growth of a child’s prefrontal cortex. For example, these activities that teach executive functioning at the beach show how much thought and preparation goes into building a simple sand castles.

  • Children have to think about how much sand to use, how to keep it standing, how to prevent sand from getting into their eyes and how to create another one if the one they are building falls down.
  • They must create, plan ahead, problem solve when things get tough and communicate to adults and peers for help.

What other activities does your child do on a regular basis that requires all areas of the prefrontal cortex to activate?

2.When children become upset, their emotions become so overwhelming that they can’t think. In order to calm down and problem solve, they need to access a multi sensory way to help them remember how to do that.

Soothing Sammy gives children tactile and visual cues that remind them how to calm down and problem solve in a developmentally appropriate way. They can be reminded of this positive reinforcement with two words “Sammy Time!”

By reading the book about the sweet golden retriever, who understands that everyone feels upset sometimes, children are encouraged to use all of the sensory strategies to calm down. They can talk to Sammy about what is happening and think through their problem to create a solution.

Ashlie’s four year old daughter did just this. She reports: “When Molly was having some big emotions about coloring a picture and needed to calm down, she visited Sammy and returned with a solution to the problem she came up with all on her own (well with Sammy’s help).”

Click here for more information on the Soothing Sammy resources .

3.Problem solving requires us to remember what just happened, what is happening now and what do we want to happen next. A preschoolers brain tends to blend all three of these situations together, not able to communicate any of them until prompted by an adult. And as an adult, we are left “guessing” what our children are thinking about. Visual cues are a wonderful sensory communication tool to support both children and adults in the realm of solving problems.

Using tools like “First/Then” cards to support routine and common situations like transitions and completing tasks. Using visuals clearly communicates what needs to be done, especially if using pictures of real children doing these tasks.

A Final note about problem solving skills in preschool

Solving problems are hard for young children, even teenagers, as their prefrontal cortex isn’t fully developed yet. Using multisensory teaching tools to support brain development, practicing tasks that teach executive functioning skills and using developmentally appropriate tools to help children calm down, will help even the most frustrating moments become a bit less stressful for children and adults. 

As we learn to be more patient with children, understanding that the part of their brain needed to solve problems is just beginning to develop, repeating the same directions over and over again may not be so frustrating. Our children are doing the best they can. It’s up to us to provide them with experiences to help their brains grow and develop. 

problem solving video for preschool

Jeana Kinne is a veteran preschool teacher and director. She has over 20 years of experience in the Early Childhood Education field. Her Bachelors Degree is in Child Development and her Masters Degree is in Early Childhood Education. She has spent over 10 years as a coach, working with Parents and Preschool Teachers, and another 10 years working with infants and toddlers with special needs. She is also the author of the “Sammy the Golden Dog” series, teaching children important skills through play.

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Speech is Beautiful

10 Wordless Videos that Teach Problem Solving

Education · Tips

I work in teletherapy, which means that I use a computer to display my materials and activities for my students. I have a couple extremely quiet older elementary students and I decided that video was a way to engage and encourage them to answer questions and retell events. In particular I wanted them to think about solving hypothetical problems. I found 10 WORDLESS videos on YouTube that show interesting problems and make kids think about how to solve a problem — and they have to provide the language!

problem solving video for preschool

10 Wordless Videos I Love

  • Piper Short Movie — A baby bird finds a way to survive a big wave. 
  • Ormie the Pig — A pig attempts to get a jar of cookies off of the top of the fridge. 
  • Let Me In! — Simon’s cat wants to come inside and makes some bad decisions!
  • Sweet Cocoon — Figuring out how to fit in your cocoon is hard work.
  • Rollin Safari  — What would animals be like if they were round? 
  • Embarked — Should a tree house follow its friend? (minimal English words at the end)
  • TV Dinner — What should you do if your cat won’t leave you alone? (Simon’s cat)
  • Playmate — An old robot toy wants to play. Will the boy play with it? 
  • Birds on a Wire  — Learn how you should treat others (that are different than you)
  • Sticky Tape — What should the cat do when tape is sticking to him? (Simon’s cat)

Since it’s YouTube, so you must preview each video and usually there is an ad in front of it. I would get each video cued up (after the ad) and then share it with students. You will be surprised how much language you will get from your quietest kids as they figure out how to solve the characters’ problems. Enjoy!

If you LOVE wordless videos, check out my other post:

  • 10 Absurd Wordless Videos that Teach Describing .
  • 10 Wordless Videos for Speech Therapy that Teach Inferencing .

Additionally, I created a line of wordless videos focused on life skills. Check it out here:

  • Wordless Life Skills: Recipe Video Series

Can you tell how much I like using video, specifically wordless videos, in my speech therapy sessions? They are a terrific, engaging therapy tool.

problem solving video for preschool

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March 30, 2017 at 7:54 am

Dear Sarah I really find this interesting nd liked it lot thnx for u to sharing with us I m also teacher nd from Pakistan

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April 5, 2017 at 8:40 am

Thank you for sharing this Sarah! I teach in a dual language program and these videos are exactly what I was looking for.

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April 5, 2017 at 10:52 pm

Thank you for letting me know! 🙂

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April 5, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Just wanted to point out that the movie “Fat” might not be too appropriate for kids if you pay attention to the details….

Thank you for commenting. The title is off-putting, but when viewed the short, I saw that the animals turn into balloons and float around. If you feel like that is not appropriate for your students, you can omit sharing that with them.

April 7, 2017 at 9:08 pm

I wasn’t meaning the title. I was meaning the part where the cow he was milking floats away and then he ‘milks’ a bull…

22 Problem Solving Activities for Preschool

Problem-solving activities can help children build resilience, think critically, and develop confidence in their ability to tackle challenges.

But it can be challenging to find engaging and age-appropriate activities that promote problem-solving skills in preschoolers.

We will share Problem Solving Activities for Preschool at home or in the classroom.

From simple puzzles to complex challenges, these activities will help your child develop problem-solving skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Shape Sorters :

20 Problem Solving Activities for Preschool

Shape sorters are one of the best problem-solving activities for preschoolers. They are simple yet effective tools that help children develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Shape sorters come in different shapes and sizes, and they are designed to help children sort and match different shapes and colors.

Playing with shape sorters helps children develop their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and cognitive abilities. As they fit the different shapes into the corresponding holes, they learn about shape recognition, spatial awareness, and cause-and-effect relationships.

Related: Free Printable Math Worksheets for Preschoolers

Building Towers with Blocks:

problem solving video for preschool

Building towers with blocks is a classic activity that encourages children to problem-solve as they work to create a stable structure. Children must figure out how to balance and stack the blocks to create a tower that won’t topple over. This activity helps children develop their spatial reasoning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills as they adjust their approach to create a more stable structure.

Related: 20 Best Pre-Writing Activities for Preschoolers

Treasure Hunts:

problem solving video for preschool

Treasure hunts are an exciting way to encourage children to solve problems and work collaboratively. Parents or caregivers can create a series of clues and riddles that lead children to a hidden “treasure.” Children must use their problem-solving skills to decipher the clues and find the treasure. This activity promotes critical thinking, spatial awareness, and teamwork.

Memory Games:

problem solving video for preschool

Memory games are a great way to challenge children’s cognitive abilities and improve their problem-solving skills. These games involve laying out a set of cards face down and having children flip over two cards at a time to try and match pairs. This activity helps children develop their memory, focus, and attention to detail.

Related: 20 Winter Math Activities for Preschoolers

problem solving video for preschool

Puzzles are a fantastic way to promote problem-solving skills in young children. These activities require children to use their critical thinking and spatial reasoning skills to fit puzzle pieces together. Puzzles can range in difficulty from simple shapes to more complex scenes, and they can be adjusted to fit the child’s developmental level.

Obstacle Courses:

problem solving video for preschool

Obstacle courses are a fun and engaging way to encourage children to solve problems and work on their motor skills. Parents or caregivers can create a series of obstacles that children must navigate to reach a specific goal. This activity promotes critical thinking, spatial awareness, and coordination. Obstacle courses can be adjusted to fit the child’s age and developmental level, making them a versatile and effective tool for promoting problem-solving skills in young children.


problem solving video for preschool

Storytelling is an excellent way to promote problem-solving skills in preschoolers. By listening to stories, children are exposed to different scenarios and situations that require problem-solving skills. Parents or caregivers can encourage children to think about how the story’s characters solve their problems and ask them to come up with solutions to hypothetical problems.

problem solving video for preschool

Cooking is a fun and interactive way to promote problem-solving skills in preschoolers. Children must follow recipes, measure ingredients, and work collaboratively with others to create a finished dish. This activity helps children develop their critical thinking, math skills, and ability to follow instructions.

problem solving video for preschool

Role-playing is an excellent way to encourage problem-solving skills in young children. Children can pretend to be doctors, firefighters, or police officers and work together to solve problems and complete tasks. This activity promotes critical thinking, teamwork, and imagination.

Guessing Games:

problem solving video for preschool

Guessing games, such as “I Spy” or “20 Questions,” is an excellent way to encourage problem-solving skills in young children. These games require children to use their critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills to guess the answer correctly. This activity promotes memory, concentration, and attention to detail.

Science Experiments:

problem solving video for preschool

Science experiments are an engaging way to encourage problem-solving skills in young children. These activities require children to observe, hypothesize, and test their theories. Parents or caregivers can conduct simple science experiments, such as mixing baking soda and vinegar, to teach children about cause and effect. This activity promotes critical thinking, experimentation, and curiosity.

Sensory Play:

problem solving video for preschool

Sensory play is an excellent way to promote problem-solving skills in young children. By playing with different textures and materials, children can explore cause-and-effect relationships and develop their critical thinking skills. Parents or caregivers can set up sensory bins with materials such as rice, sand, or water to encourage children to explore and problem-solve.

Board Games:

problem solving video for preschool

Board games are a great way to promote problem-solving skills in preschoolers. These games require children to use their critical thinking and strategic planning skills to win the game. Games like Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, and Connect Four are excellent choices for young children.

Scavenger Hunts:

problem solving video for preschool

Scavenger hunts are a fun and interactive way to encourage problem-solving skills in young children. Parents or caregivers can create a list of items for children to find and encourage them to work collaboratively to solve clues and find the items. This activity promotes critical thinking, teamwork, and spatial awareness.

Creative Building:

problem solving video for preschool

Creative building activities, such as using play dough, clay, or craft materials, are an excellent way to promote problem-solving skills in young children. Children can use their imagination and creativity to problem-solve and create their structures and designs. This activity promotes critical thinking, spatial awareness, and creativity.

Sensory Bins:

problem solving video for preschool

Sensory bins are a fun and interactive way to promote problem-solving skills in preschoolers. Parents or caregivers can set up a bin filled with different materials, such as sand, rice, or beans, and hide different objects or toys within them. Children have to use their problem-solving skills to find and identify the objects hidden within the bin. Sensory bins also promote fine motor skills, sensory exploration, and creativity.

Art Projects:

problem solving video for preschool

Art projects are a great way to promote problem-solving skills in young children. By encouraging children to create their art projects, parents or caregivers can help them develop their problem-solving skills by encouraging them to think creatively and find solutions to design challenges. This activity promotes critical thinking, creativity, and fine motor skills.

Cooking and Baking:

problem solving video for preschool

Cooking and baking are great activities to promote problem-solving skills in preschoolers. Children can measure ingredients, follow directions, and problem-solve how to mix ingredients together properly. This activity promotes critical thinking, math skills, and following directions.

Outdoor Exploration:

problem solving video for preschool

Outdoor exploration is an excellent way to promote problem-solving skills in young children. Parents or caregivers can take children on nature walks or hikes and encourage them to explore and problem-solve by finding different types of plants, animals, and natural landmarks. This activity promotes critical thinking, creativity, and nature appreciation.

Science Kits:

problem solving video for preschool

Science kits are a fun and interactive way to promote problem-solving skills in preschoolers. There are many science kits available that are age-appropriate and designed specifically for preschoolers. These kits provide children with hands-on opportunities to experiment and explore scientific concepts, which promotes curiosity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Some science kits may include materials for making slime, growing crystals, or exploring the properties of magnets.

Dramatic Play:

problem solving video for preschool

Dramatic play activities provide opportunities for preschoolers to use their imaginations and problem-solving skills.

Related: Examples of Dramatic Play for Preschoolers

Parents or caregivers can set up a pretend play area with costumes, props, and toys that encourage children to use their problem-solving skills to navigate different scenarios and situations.

For example, children can play doctor and use problem-solving skills to diagnose and treat a patient, or they can play chef and use problem-solving skills to plan and prepare a meal. Dramatic play promotes creativity, social-emotional development, and problem-solving skills.


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Sohaib Hasan Shah

Sohaib's journey includes 10+ years of teaching and counseling experience at BCSS School in elementary and middle schools, coupled with a BBA (Hons) with a minor in Educational Psychology from Curtin University (Australia) . In his free time, he cherishes quality moments with his family, reveling in the joys and challenges of parenthood. His three daughters have not only enriched his personal life but also deepened his understanding of the importance of effective education and communication, spurring him to make a meaningful impact in the world of education.

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problem solving video for preschool

10 Ways to Strengthen Your Preschooler’s Problem-Solving Skills

As an adult, you make many decisions throughout your day without even thinking twice about some– from setting up the coffee machine at home to avoiding the long line at the drive-thru that can make you late to work to having a difficult but necessary conversation with your partner about finances. These are just a few examples of problem-solving skills and how you adapt to the situations around you and use your skills to exist on personal, professional, and social levels. 

While some problem-solving skills are innate, your ability to access a situation and take a course of action is based on the fact that when you were a child, the adults around you taught you problem-solving skills. Our Raleigh early-childhood development center is sharing our best advice for anyone looking to strengthen their pre-schoolers problem-solving skills. 

How to teach problem solving skills to preschoolers in Raleigh, NC.

What is Problem Solving in Early Childhood?

Problem-solving refers to the ability to find a solution to a problem. For preschool-aged children, this can be difficult to learn if not modeled for them through the appropriate ways to react to the issues they face. 

For instance, if two children are playing with a toy and one pushes the other in an effort to take the toy, this is clearly an inappropriate way to react to the problem. Furthermore, screaming or yelling for the child to give them the toy is also not a proper way to solve the issue. To model mature and proper problem-solving skills, adults around the child should be practicing the concept of sharing, patience, and communication while avoiding physical and emotional reactions when they don’t get what they want.

When the child learns that they can ask the other child, “Can I play with the toy next?” or understand the concept that another child was playing with the toy first, they are exhibiting the ability to problem solve. 

Why is it Important to Develop Problem Solving Skills in Early Childhood?

Children aged 3 to 5 are developmentally experiencing growth in the following areas: 

  • Cognitive 
  • Emotional 
  • Language 
  • Sensory 
  • Motor 

Because this time for preschoolers is so substantial to their intellectual, emotional, and social development, the world around them can seem overwhelming, unfair, intimidating, and even confusing. By modeling and teaching problem-solving skills to preschoolers , they can learn how to react logically, think creatively, communicate their needs, and assess how best to react to a situation at hand. 

How Can You Teach Problem Solving Skills to Your Children?

It is the responsibility of the adults who raise and teach children to provide kids with opportunities to strengthen their problem-solving skills in early childhood. If you are a parent, guardian, childcare provider, or early-childhood educator, it’s important to consider the best strategies for helping little ones adapt to the world around them and learn problem-solving skills. And remember, it can be frustrating when things do not work out as expected for anyone at any age, particularly for preschool-aged children who are just learning to adapt to their surroundings. 

When teaching your preschool-aged child how to problem solve, consider these four steps that are used in early-childhood classrooms : 

  • Identify the problem
  • Brainstorm solutions to the problem
  • Choose and implement one of the solutions
  • Evaluate how that solution resolved the problem

Following this four-step guideline can help the adults in a preschooler’s life address how a child acquires problem-solving techniques to help them navigate through the difficult and everyday situations that arise. 

When teaching problem-solving, focus on developing these key skills that relate to problem-solving: 

  • Lateral thinking
  • Decision-making
  • Communication
  • Persistence
  • Negotiation
  • Logical thinking
  • Analytical thinking

10 Problem-Solving Activities for Preschoolers

You know that you want to guide your child through developing and strengthening strategies for problem-solving, but where do you begin? Our early-childhood development school is sharing some of our favorite ways to incorporate problem-solving activities into your life so that you can teach your child to grow on a personal and social level. 

#1 - Use Everyday Moments

You do not need a textbook or outline of how to teach your preschooler problem-solving. Simply using everyday moments to demonstrate problem-solving techniques is more useful than any “how to” book or homework assignment can teach your child. 

Going to the grocery store, driving in the car, making dinner at home, and cleaning the house are all everyday opportunities to present your child with decisions related to problem-solving. Having your child put ingredients away in the pantry while you cook, asking your child what aisle at the supermarket they think you can find a particular item, or seeing that there is a mess of toys and supplies and directing the child to initiate where they should be placed prior to starting a new activity are ways to integrate problem-solving into everyday moments. 

#2 - Look to the Child for the Solution

As your child grows up, they will not always have you by their side to solve each and every problem that arises. From issues with friends, future relationships, and future careers, the child you raise will one day become an independent adult who needs to problem-solve on their own. 

Asking children to weigh in for solutions to problems as they arise is one way to get them thinking critically early on in life. When a child is taught to not only assess an obstacle but to trust their own decision-making abilities to resolve a problem, they will be better equipped for success as they get older. 

problem solving video for preschool

#3 - Solve Mathematical Problems

Mathematics is a great way to engage children at an early age in problem-solving and solution-making activities. Math is logical and non-emotional, having very clear set rules and boundaries with a single solution is one prime example of problem-solving. When children are given age-appropriate mathematical problems and math word problems, they are given opportunities to troubleshoot and follow an order of operation that leads to a solution.

#4 - Ask Open-Ended Questions

As adults, we often find that the most convenient way to get through the day when caring for a preschooler is to complete tasks for them so that we can get on with our busy day. However, it’s important to pause and present your child with the opportunity to find their own solutions to problems they are faced with by using open-ended questions. 

For instance, your child cannot find their favorite pair of shoes. Rather than tear the house apart on your own looking for them, present the child with a question: “Where did you last wear those shoes?” or “When did you last see your shoes?” This requires your child to consider where they last may have placed them. Additionally, a question like, “If we can’t find those shoes right now, you’ll need to choose a different pair to wear so we aren’t late.” guides them toward finding an alternative solution to the problem. 

Giving children the opportunity to find their own solutions to issues that arise by asking open-ended questions equips them with problem-solving skills they will need throughout life when things do not always go as planned. 

problem solving video for preschool

#5 - Puzzles and Board Games

Puzzles and board games, much like math equations, allow children to use their cognitive problem-solving abilities to complete tasks in a fun and unique way. Pre-schoolers are often drawn to images and visual learning components as well as interactive play. Putting puzzles together allows for pattern recognition, while board games allow for interactive problem-solving techniques to be utilized through a set of rules. Incorporating puzzles and games into the lives of children are excellent ways to get them to think critically and find solutions that offer immediate results. 

problem solving video for preschool

#6 - Read Books and Tell Stories

Books and storytelling are always exceptional ways to build vocabulary and introduce kids to characters and situations outside of their own. When children are given the opportunity to relate to characters and situations, and then address how those characters can react and engage in their conflicts and interpersonal relationships, it not only fosters imagination and creativity but also problem-solving skills. 

#7 - Center Emotions

As adults we understand that while reacting emotionally to a situation is sometimes natural, it does not get us very far when it comes to solving a problem. Children should be taught how to center those emotions, without shame or guilt by providing an alternative to emotional responses. This is often in the form of learning communication and language. 

If your son’s best friend hurt his feelings, he should not be made to feel that he shouldn’t feel how he is feeling. Having your feelings hurt, particularly by a friend, is, well, hurtful, and there should be no shame attached to that feeling. However, when it comes to addressing those hurt feelings to the friend, it would be inappropriate to shout, “I hate you!” or “I don’t want to be your friend anymore!” Rather, providing your preschool-aged child with words and phrases for when their feelings are hurt is essential to emotional and social development. 

Teaching your son to tell his friend, “It hurts my feelings when you say that” or “I get sad when you are mean to me” are great ways to help children not only process their emotional feelings but express them in appropriate ways that lead to a resolution. 

#8 - Model Problem-Solving Behaviors

Children look to the adults in their lives for how to handle the problems they face in the world. If your child sees you politely ask a waiter to return a plate of food that was incorrectly served, they will learn that proper communication, respect, and patience lead to resolution. In contrast, if a child sees their parents speak rudely and blame a waiter for an incorrect order, they will learn that emotional reactions are the way to address problems. As a parent and caretaker, it is your responsibility to use mistakes, obstacles, and hardships as learning opportunities passed on to your preschool-aged children, demonstrating first-hand that non-emotional responses, kindness, and communication are the keys to getting most issues resolved. 

#9 - Break Down Problems into Chunks

As an adult, one of the ways to get through major projects at work is to set up a schedule that breaks down a large-scale project into smaller portions. Using this technique in childhood education and development is a successful way to teach children how doing one small task can lead to an overall greater, larger picture in the long run. Since a large task can seem overwhelming or even impossible, breaking it down into smaller, easily achievable pieces that will eventually lead to the full, complete picture is a wonderful way to help children of any age, but particularly preschool-aged, tackle large issues without feeling the weight of the big picture.

#10 - Utilize Natural Curiosities and Interests 

Using natural, organic opportunities for learning and problem-solving is always one of the best ways to foster creativity as well as logical and analytical thinking. All children are naturally drawn to some interest– whether it’s unicorns, dinosaurs, airplanes, trucks, or the color blue… every child has something that they become naturally drawn to, often to the surprise of their parents. 

For example, maybe every time your daughter sees the mailman drop off the mail, she is fascinated. Maybe her face lit up with interest and excitement to check what was left in the mailbox today. This is an opportunity to ask questions that lead to analytical thinking and problem-solving. Inquiring, “what does the mail carrier drop off at other houses?” or teaching the concept of writing a letter to grandma and how it goes through the mail can continue to foster interests while teaching logical steps, planning, and problem-solving techniques. 

Enroll Your Child in an Interactive Preschool Care System 

It’s no secret that when a child is at preschool age they are naturally curious and soak up all the information around them. By teaching your child problem-solving skills, they are better equipped to handle the everyday struggles the world has to face. However, the professionals at our preschool development center understand that busy working schedules, multiple children, and life’s responsibilities do not always make it easy for parents to dedicate time to fostering and strengthening problem-solving skills in their children. 

If you have a preschool-aged child who will benefit from emotional, social, and personal development related to problem-solving, contact Primary Beginnings to enroll your child in our 5-star preschool program in Raleigh. 

Contact us today at 919-790-6888 for our Spring Forest Rd. location or 919-785-0303 for our North Hills Dr. location, or fill out our contact form below. 

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How to Teach Kids Problem-Solving Skills

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  • Steps to Follow
  • Allow Consequences

Whether your child can't find their math homework or has forgotten their lunch, good problem-solving skills are the key to helping them manage their life. 

A 2010 study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy found that kids who lack problem-solving skills may be at a higher risk of depression and suicidality.   Additionally, the researchers found that teaching a child problem-solving skills can improve mental health . 

You can begin teaching basic problem-solving skills during preschool and help your child sharpen their skills into high school and beyond.

Why Problem-Solving Skills Matter

Kids face a variety of problems every day, ranging from academic difficulties to problems on the sports field. Yet few of them have a formula for solving those problems.

Kids who lack problem-solving skills may avoid taking action when faced with a problem.

Rather than put their energy into solving the problem, they may invest their time in avoiding the issue.   That's why many kids fall behind in school or struggle to maintain friendships .

Other kids who lack problem-solving skills spring into action without recognizing their choices. A child may hit a peer who cuts in front of them in line because they are not sure what else to do.  

Or, they may walk out of class when they are being teased because they can't think of any other ways to make it stop. Those impulsive choices may create even bigger problems in the long run.

The 5 Steps of Problem-Solving

Kids who feel overwhelmed or hopeless often won't attempt to address a problem. But when you give them a clear formula for solving problems, they'll feel more confident in their ability to try. Here are the steps to problem-solving:  

  • Identify the problem . Just stating the problem out loud can make a big difference for kids who are feeling stuck. Help your child state the problem, such as, "You don't have anyone to play with at recess," or "You aren't sure if you should take the advanced math class." 
  • Develop at least five possible solutions . Brainstorm possible ways to solve the problem. Emphasize that all the solutions don't necessarily need to be good ideas (at least not at this point). Help your child develop solutions if they are struggling to come up with ideas. Even a silly answer or far-fetched idea is a possible solution. The key is to help them see that with a little creativity, they can find many different potential solutions.
  • Identify the pros and cons of each solution . Help your child identify potential positive and negative consequences for each potential solution they identified. 
  • Pick a solution. Once your child has evaluated the possible positive and negative outcomes, encourage them to pick a solution.
  • Test it out . Tell them to try a solution and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, they can always try another solution from the list that they developed in step two. 

Practice Solving Problems

When problems arise, don’t rush to solve your child’s problems for them. Instead, help them walk through the problem-solving steps. Offer guidance when they need assistance, but encourage them to solve problems on their own. If they are unable to come up with a solution, step in and help them think of some. But don't automatically tell them what to do. 

When you encounter behavioral issues, use a problem-solving approach. Sit down together and say, "You've been having difficulty getting your homework done lately. Let's problem-solve this together." You might still need to offer a consequence for misbehavior, but make it clear that you're invested in looking for a solution so they can do better next time. 

Use a problem-solving approach to help your child become more independent.

If they forgot to pack their soccer cleats for practice, ask, "What can we do to make sure this doesn't happen again?" Let them try to develop some solutions on their own.

Kids often develop creative solutions. So they might say, "I'll write a note and stick it on my door so I'll remember to pack them before I leave," or "I'll pack my bag the night before and I'll keep a checklist to remind me what needs to go in my bag." 

Provide plenty of praise when your child practices their problem-solving skills.  

Allow for Natural Consequences

Natural consequences  may also teach problem-solving skills. So when it's appropriate, allow your child to face the natural consequences of their action. Just make sure it's safe to do so. 

For example, let your teenager spend all of their money during the first 10 minutes you're at an amusement park if that's what they want. Then, let them go for the rest of the day without any spending money.

This can lead to a discussion about problem-solving to help them make a better choice next time. Consider these natural consequences as a teachable moment to help work together on problem-solving.

Becker-Weidman EG, Jacobs RH, Reinecke MA, Silva SG, March JS. Social problem-solving among adolescents treated for depression . Behav Res Ther . 2010;48(1):11-18. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2009.08.006

Pakarinen E, Kiuru N, Lerkkanen M-K, Poikkeus A-M, Ahonen T, Nurmi J-E. Instructional support predicts childrens task avoidance in kindergarten .  Early Child Res Q . 2011;26(3):376-386. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2010.11.003

Schell A, Albers L, von Kries R, Hillenbrand C, Hennemann T. Preventing behavioral disorders via supporting social and emotional competence at preschool age .  Dtsch Arztebl Int . 2015;112(39):647–654. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2015.0647

Cheng SC, She HC, Huang LY. The impact of problem-solving instruction on middle school students’ physical science learning: Interplays of knowledge, reasoning, and problem solving . EJMSTE . 2018;14(3):731-743.

Vlachou A, Stavroussi P. Promoting social inclusion: A structured intervention for enhancing interpersonal problem‐solving skills in children with mild intellectual disabilities . Support Learn . 2016;31(1):27-45. doi:10.1111/1467-9604.12112

Öğülmüş S, Kargı E. The interpersonal cognitive problem solving approach for preschoolers .  Turkish J Educ . 2015;4(17347):19-28. doi:10.19128/turje.181093

American Academy of Pediatrics. What's the best way to discipline my child? .

Kashani-Vahid L, Afrooz G, Shokoohi-Yekta M, Kharrazi K, Ghobari B. Can a creative interpersonal problem solving program improve creative thinking in gifted elementary students? .  Think Skills Creat . 2017;24:175-185. doi:10.1016/j.tsc.2017.02.011

Shokoohi-Yekta M, Malayeri SA. Effects of advanced parenting training on children's behavioral problems and family problem solving .  Procedia Soc Behav Sci . 2015;205:676-680. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.09.106

By Amy Morin, LCSW Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.

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Mastery Motivation: Persistence and Problem Solving in Preschool

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Mastery motivation is persistence—continuing to do or to try to do something that is difficult—at mastering challenging tasks or activities.

Problem solving is natural for preschoolers. As teachers know, everyday routines can bring difficult challenges, like learning how to zip up a coat or ask for help before frustration sets in. Each challenge builds children’s skills in different areas of development: language, social and emotional, cognitive, and physical. But sometimes a problem can seem too challenging.

You may have seen this scenario play out in your classroom: Two preschoolers are trying to solve the same puzzle. Both make a mistake, but while one child gives up, the other child keeps trying different ways to solve the puzzle. Early childhood researchers call this persistence at mastering challenging tasks  mastery motivation , and it plays a key role in children’s learning and in their later academic achievement. Early childhood teachers are in a great position to help children foster this important skill.

Here are five ways to support mastery motivation:

  • Provide lots of different types of challenging activities, like math games that have more than one way to solve a problem.
  • Support children’s independence and let them make their own choices in activities or during play.
  • Try to resist the urge to fix the problem—it can take away children’s sense that they are capable problem solvers.
  • Do provide gentle guidance when frustration starts to set in, such as holding the puzzle board steady while a child adds a puzzle piece or offering a well-timed, “What if you turned that piece the other way?”
  • Give children positive feedback by praising the problem-solving process and encouraging them to keep trying.

We know that children who are not provided with challenging activities or who receive negative or harsh feedback tend to show less mastery motivation. The same holds true for children receiving praise like “You’re so smart” and children whose environment is overly controlling.

When teachers appreciate children’s efforts, children learn that working hard and persisting are positive behaviors. As children grow, they will face more and more difficult problems. They need to know that it’s okay to struggle—it’s part of the learning process.

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Jessica Mercer Young  is a research scientist and developmental and educational psychologist specializing in early learning at Education Development Center.

Kristen E. Reed,  project director at EDC, has worked as a teacher, curriculum developer, professional development facilitator, and researcher. For more ways to make math engaging, challenging, and fun, visit .  [email protected]

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Problem-solving and Relationship Skills in Preschool

Woman: Places, everyone. Are the lights ready? Three, two, one.

Saameh Solaimani: Hi, everyone. I'm Saameh Solaimani. Welcome to "Teacher Time.” Thank you so much for being here with us today.

Gail Joseph: Hi, everyone. I'm Gail Joseph, and I'm so excited to be joining you on "Teacher Time" today. Now, Saameh, I always think it's better when we start with a song, so shall we?

All: [Singing] "Teacher Time.” "Teacher Time.” "Teacher Time.” "Teacher Time.” "Teacher Time.” "Teacher Time."

Gail: Here we are. I love your puppet moves. You've got some really good moves.

Saameh: Thank you. I worked hard on this.

Gail: Well, hi, everyone, and welcome to our third preschool episode of "Teacher Time" this program year. I'm Gail Joseph.

Saameh: I'm Saameh Solaimani, and we're from the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning.

Gail: We are so excited to have you here with us today. We have been focusing on positive behavior supports this season of "Teacher Time.” Hopefully, you've joined us for some of the previous episodes. So far, we've talked about the importance of relationships and how to support emotional literacy. And today, we're going to be focusing on problem-solving and relationships, and friendship skills in preschool.

I want to draw your attention to the viewer's guide. I've printed mine out here. It's beautiful. You can find it in the resource widget. If you haven't looked at our viewer's guide for a while, I strongly encourage you to. This season, our viewer's guide is a viewer's guide for birth to five, including specific age group information for infants and toddlers and preschool children. It is packed with information about development, about teaching practices. There are quick tips in here. There are reminders. There are things you can cut out and post and put up in your learning space. There are spaces for notetaking.

On the last page is just an extensive resource list that you are going to love. You can download the guide and use it throughout our time together for taking notes, for reflecting, planning how you might use some of the "Teacher Time" practices we're going to talk about in your own settings. And please share your viewer's guide with colleagues. Also, we want your ideas in the next issue of "Teacher Time.” You can see on the back that we ask you to submit some of your own strategies and tips, and then you'll be published in the "Teacher Time" viewer's guide.

Saameh: That would be awesome. We always love to hear from you. Thank you so much, Gail. During our time together, we're going to be discussing teaching practices that support positive behavior. We're going to take some time to promote your wellness with our It's All About You segment. We're going to connect effective practice to brain development in our new segment, which some of you may have seen in our last episode's Neuroscience Nook.

We're going to discuss small change, big impact, and in our focus on equity segments, individualized strategies that build a sense of belonging and promote social and emotional skills with all children, including children who have a variety of learning characteristics. And we're going to wrap up our time together, as we always do, with our BookCASE, where we connect our topic to books that you can share with children and families.

Gail: We love the BookCASE and our "Teacher Time" librarian. Like we do at the beginning of most "Teacher Times," we want to check in with how you're feeling, such an important thing to do periodically throughout the day. Look at our "Teacher Time" feeling tree, find a feeling creature. They all have little numbers on them.

And post in the Q&A which number creature you most relate to at the moment and why. We want to hear from you. We have our amazing Q&A team there, ready to see your input. I'm going to go ahead and start. Now, every time I look at — what I love about our little "Teacher Time" tree here is that I always think a little bit differently about how these creatures are feeling, which is fun. It helps children do that, too.

Saameh: Right.

Gail: I think the little guy that is swinging from the tree there. I'm just pretty excited to be here. I've been on some travel. I'm excited to be back with you and back with our "Teacher Time" viewership. How are you feeling, Saameh?

Saameh: I actually was thinking about this. And I think number 12, sitting on the leaf, surrounded by friends, by community, by all of you. Yeah, I'm feeling very part of this learning community.

Gail: I love it. And our viewers are checking in. Five, a rough week. Some weeks are like that. I hope it gets better for you, Amy. We've got a 12. Somebody is feeling like you. One, five. Our viewers are all over the tree, checking in. I feel like number five, pretty rough afternoon. My goodness. We hope that spending some time today thinking about your own professional development might feel a little bit uplifting for you. But we definitely know how it feels when you're not having a great week, too. Just hanging in there. Thank you so much for sharing.

Saameh: Yes, yes.

Gail: Thank you. Keep it going. Keep it going.

Saameh: We're very excited to be focusing on positive behavior supports this season, as you know. And social and emotional development. As you may know, is one of the domains in the Head Start ELOF, which stands for Early Learning Outcomes Framework. The practical strategies we're going to be discussing today are going to be focusing on the relationships with other children subdomain of social and emotional development. And you can see that highlighted here.

Gail: I love that. Now, like we said last month, this season of "Teacher Time" is focused on working our way through the Pyramid Model. Some of you might be really familiar with the Pyramid Model. Maybe your program is participating in a pyramid training. But if you're not familiar with it, the Pyramid Model is really a model or a framework of positive behavioral support for proactively addressing the social and emotional development. And for preventing and addressing challenging behaviors of young children. The framework offers a continuum of evidence-based teaching practices that are organized into four levels of support. And you can see those there.

At the foundation, it's all about nurturing and responsive relationships. Not only between the teacher, the educator, and the children but between children and between educators. It's all about these relationships. And we want them to be nurturing and responsive no matter what relationship they're in. That's the foundation. The next are high-quality supportive environments. How can we create both the physical and temporal structure of the environment to support positive behavior?

Then we level up and go to social and emotional teaching strategies. That's where we're at right now, is going to dig into some of those social and emotional teaching strategies. Then at the very top, when all of the bottom three pieces are in place, there might still be some children that have some behaviors that could require a little bit more intensive intervention. And we're going to talk about that in May. Be sure to come back.

But if you want to learn more about the Pyramid Model, you can check out the resource list in the back of your viewer's guide for a lot more information about it. Now, we would love to hear what strategies and practices you have in place to support young children's problem-solving and their friendship skills with children that you're working with.

Go ahead and start entering those in the Q&A. And our Q&A team, we've got, like, the star Q&A team today. They're going to start sending those out, too. We're going to be tracking them, but they're also going to be sent out so other people can see them as well when you share what strategies you're using. We always learn so much from our viewers. And there's always something that we're, like, a gem out there in how you're supporting young children's problem-solving.

Saameh: Such a wealth of resources out there.

Gail: Absolutely. Now, as a reminder, positive behavioral support, or sometimes called PBS, sometimes you might hear it called PBIS. Sometimes you might even hear it called a multi-tiered system of support. But positive behavioral support is a positive and proactive approach to preventing and addressing challenging behavior. It focuses on using very intentional teaching strategies to proactively, that's such a big part of it, proactively build all social and emotional skills. And today we're specifically thinking about building problem-solving skills and relationship skills for young children. Now, positive behavioral support recognizes that all behavior communicates a message or a need. And some behaviors, as they're trying to get their needs across, we might find challenging.

Once an educator understands the meaning, what is the message that the child is trying to send with their behavior? What's the meaning? They want something. They want to get away from something. They're not sure how to play with their friends, but they're trying in the way that they can. Once you know what the meaning of that challenging behavior is, then we can figure out how to teach the child a more effective way to communicate their needs and problem-solve with support.

Saameh: So important to keep in mind. Now what we're going to do is we're going to turn our attention to you in our All About You segment. We know that we do our best caregiving and teaching when we feel well ourselves. Engaging in self-care practices can help educators build greater social and emotional capacity to work through problem-solving together. And our ability to support children with problem-solving and relationship skills starts with our ability to center ourselves by noticing and observing what's happening with as little judgment as possible.

We can help young children work through challenges with peers from a more grounded, soft, and objective place, naming what we see happening calmly without so many of the other things going on when we're feeling stressed and overwhelmed. What we're going to do is a little body scan. Before we can support the children in our care with problem-solving and relationship skills, it's important to find ways to regulate our own feelings throughout the day.

Taking a minute to do something like a body scan like we have here to notice what's happening in our own bodies is softening in the moment. We can slow down and center ourselves throughout the day. This practice supports our own well-being first, enabling us to hold a non-judgmental space, as we were saying, respond intentionally to children's cues, behaviors, and communications as we support them in building healthy relationships with each other.

Here we go. Start with a deep breath. Okay, I noticed as I was saying that I was holding my breath. Breathe. Okay, so we're going to start in a seated position or laying down, whatever is comfortable for you. And now you can bring your attention to your body, and you can close your eyes if that's comfortable for you. And you can notice your body wherever you are.

As you exhale, you have a sense of relaxing, and you can notice your feet or body on the floor. You can notice your back against the chair or maybe on the floor. Bring your attention into your stomach area. If it feels tight, let it soften. Notice your hands, arms, shoulders, and let them be soft. Let your jaw and facial muscles be soft. Notice your whole body present, and take one more deep breath. Okay.

Okay, we would love to hear how you were feeling during that or feel now or after the body scan. What do you notice? And let's see. And I noticed like I was saying, that I was holding my breath.

Gail: I feel like we should do that right before "Teacher Time.” It would be really helpful.

Saameh: That's right.

Gail: I felt so calm and centered.

Saameh: We'd love to hear from you how that experience was. Thank you so much for taking the time to take time for yourself. Calm. Self-aware. Conscious. More relaxed.

Gail: It doesn't take very long too, and I know that when I was teaching on a regular basis, just having those moments where I could just feel that tension in my body, and it just takes a moment to take a breath before I interact.

Saameh: It is amazing how much one minute of breathing can do. Yes. It’s not something that requires a lot of time, which I know we don't necessarily have as teachers sometimes.

Social competencies like self-regulation, empathy, perspective-taking, and problem-solving skills are key to foundational healthy social-emotional development. And these include positive interactions and friendships and relationships between peers, as we know. Educators can help children learn the skills necessary to develop healthy peer relationships and find ways to work through social conflicts with adult support.

And that's where we come in. And teaching and modeling problem-solving skills early on with preschool children builds a foundation of problem-solving and relationship skills that most children can access with adult support and start to use independently as they continue to develop. The more we can support young children in developing problem-solving skills in their learning environments, the less we'll see some of those challenging behaviors that oftentimes arise from not having the resources, the tools to work through the problem as they come up, which they will because that's life.

It's important to note that there might be some children in your care who don't readily learn these skills through foundational teaching strategies. This might include children with disabilities or suspected delays. It's important to be aware of the progress for all children and use more individualized practices to work on these skills with children who need a little more support. That’s what we'll be doing today, sharing some strategies to do just that.

Gail: Some key ideas and practices for supporting problem-solving and peer relationship skills with preschool children are the first little slide that you see there or picture that you see there is about promoting healthy relationships. Preschoolers are increasingly interested, as our viewers know, in developing friendships with one or two preferred peers, like we see in the photo on the left. They're able to engage in group play and independently initiate interactions with peers, which is so fun to see develop.

Preschoolers might suggest something to do, like let's play a restaurant or let's build a swimming pool for our animals together or join in an existing activity. Hey, can I play too? Educators can support preschoolers in promoting healthy friendships in quite a few ways that I'm sure our viewers are already doing. But just to name a few, one is that you can help children plan what and how they will play together.

One thing that I always like to, I'm going to go off for a moment, is that one thing that I think about a lot as a preschool teacher is thinking about materials and resources and activities that require two children to play together so that you set the stage for children to interact with each other. Things like those teeter-totters or rowboats in classrooms is just one obvious idea that takes two children.

Another thing is providing suggestions for initiating interactions with other children. And a quick tip there too is right before children go to play, if there's a child that you think could use a little bit more support, is to do a little priming and say, “hey, point to two or three things that you could play with a friend,” and you'll see that they can increase their initiations with other children.

Then, encouraging children to consider other ideas. I don't know if anybody out there is a big puppet user, but I used a lot of puppets when I was teaching at Head Start, and this was a great way to model like at a circle time, model with a puppet and other children role-play how I could consider somebody else's idea. Lots of ways to do that.

Saameh: This is a great time for us to pause and think about what value do I place on peer relationships, and how do I expect peers to act with each other? Sort of that, taking a moment to think about our own ideas because we're subjective beings, and we have our own experiences. It's really important to just take a moment. And awareness of our responses to these questions is supportive of our equitable practice. I do have to say I love what you said about puppets, and we're going to be seeing a little bit of puppet work later on in our episode today. I am also a fan of puppets.

As you see, the second photo you see is representing teaching problem-solving steps, which is so important. Preschoolers are willing to try different strategies to solve problems and show flexibility in their actions and behavior, and they can plan ways to solve a problem and evaluate solutions with our support. In a minute, we're going to hear from Dr. Angel Fettig, Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Washington, who will share strategies to support problem-solving in preschool classrooms. She's going to talk about the steps.

Gail: That's great. Of course, another way that we can support children, which you probably feel like you're doing all the time, is teaching problem-solving in the moment. One is to proactively teach, which we're going to hear about strategies for doing that. But the other thing is then supporting that problem-solving as it occurs in the moment. There are a few steps that educators can do to work through that. One is anticipating that social conflicts are going to happen, and you try and anticipate it before they happen.

You might notice a child that's coming into the classroom or into the learning setting feeling a little bit tired, maybe something upsetting happened before, maybe you have some communication with the family and understand that something troubling has just happened at home, and the child is coming into the space. Maybe they're not usually having a difficult time with problem-solving, but today they might be.

But another thing that you can do is anticipate, did you introduce a new toy into your learning space? Maybe you introduced some new props in the dramatic play area, and you know that a lot of children are going to want to use them. You're anticipating that probably in that space, there's going to be a little bit more need to support problem-solving in the moment. You want to anticipate social conflicts before they happen.

Another thing that's so important is being close and helping children manage their feelings. If I'm anticipating that there might be some problem, maybe an individual child might need some more support, or there's an area in the classroom that I think, oh, I'm probably going to want to be close there, is to get close because children will, as they get excited or upset, that fight or flight comes in. You want to be there to support them to help remember some of the problem-solving steps that you've provided.

Now, providing support and reminders of problem-solving steps would be next. I'm going to be close with them, and then I'm going to provide support, and that support could be verbal like I could remind them of the problem-solving steps. It can also be visual, and we're going to talk about some of the visual supports you can have in your classrooms.

Some people in our Q&A have already talked about ways that they've used visuals with problem-solving solution kits, et cetera. We can encourage children to generate and evaluate multiple solutions. I'm going to say that this is really where it's at for preschool children, is to encourage them to generate as many different solutions to a problem as they can. When children have a restricted number of solutions they can try, they're bound to run out of things that are working for them. We want to encourage them to keep being really creative and generating so many different solutions.

Last but not least, when children do problem-solving, find some way to celebrate that. It might be a thumbs-up. It might be a high-five. It might be with a super friend cape or with some other type of big celebration because this is hard work, and it's really hard work when you're a young child just figuring it out. We want to make sure that we're celebrating that. We're going to remember that we always want to individualize the strategies that we're going to use to provide support based on the skills of the children that you're supporting.

Some children might need some additional amount of language that needs to be modified. Some children might need visual cues or gestures paired with verbal language. Some children might need some specific feedback on the consequences to help them learn the effect of their behavior on the environment. Stay tuned for BASICS where we're going to share about some more strategies for providing feedback.

Saameh: I love that. I love what you said about anticipation. I think it goes such a long way. Also, what you were saying about problem-solving and the children coming up with the solutions, generating the solutions, and I keep thinking about how problem-solving is also play in a way.

Gail: Yeah.

Saameh: It's exploration. It's play. In a way, it's fun. It's not necessarily a negative thing. Sometimes we think problem as negative, and it doesn't have to be.

Gail: It can be like a fun challenge. I would support children, and I'd say, “are they making it tough on you?”

Saameh: Exactly.

Gail: And they'd be like, yeah. But then they'd be encouraged to keep going. Sometimes I'd say, let me look. Let me look. I think you've got more solutions in there. I'd peer into their ear, and they'd think that was really fun. You can just really be fun and encourage them to be creative and think of more solutions.

Saameh: I love that one. We’re going to hear from Dr. Angel Fettig, who we were talking about earlier, as she discusses strategies to teach problem-solving skills.

[Video begins]

Angel Fettig: I think in early childhood settings, I think the best thing is to think about simple steps to teach kids. So simple, concrete strategies they can use in the setting. My favorite is to really think about the four-step problem-solving technique. Step one is, what's my problem? Really being able to know that there's a problem here, and this is the problem. Being able to identify it.

Angel: And then step two is helping them brainstorm. What are some things I can do to solve this problem? Guiding them in understanding, How do you brainstorm for solutions?

Gail: Okay.

Angel: And then the next step, step three, is to think about evaluating the solutions you came up with. Do I think using this step is going to be fair for my friends? Is it a safe solution?

Gail: Right.

Angel: Am I going to feel good? Is my friend going to feel good?

Angel: And then step four is guiding them to try it out.

Angel: You try it, see if it works.

Angel: If it doesn't work, then encourage them to try a different strategy, try a different skill. Those are the four steps. And it's really important that we teach those steps systematically and with visuals, just like how we will typically teach any content in early childhood classrooms.

Angel: I think as early childhood educators, we need to plan these into our curriculum in teaching problem-solving skills.

Gail: Great.

[Video ends]

Saameh: So wonderful. As we saw, Dr. Fettig outlines four important steps to go through with preschool children to help teach problem-solving skills. First of all, helping children identify what the problem is in the first place. Next, inviting children to generate and evaluate multiple solutions through brainstorming, as you were sharing, Gail, and then evaluate the solutions. How are these solutions working out? Lastly, we can help children select a solution and try it out and see how it works. We'd love to hear from you in the chat. What are some ways that you support problem-solving with children in your care? Please share in the chat.

As you're doing that, I wanted to share something I remember being surprised to learn early on in my career as an early childhood educator. It was just, like, what a big part of our job supporting children and problem-solving is. It's a huge part. I mean, it was most of the day. It was really doing that, and I was in for a surprise. But, getting down on the children's level, taking the time to be present and understand what's happening, how we can support children to work through the problem in that moment, which I'm sure you all experience many times a day. And the solution kit. We will be talking about that.

Gail: That's right. Owl's Pals, that's a great social and emotional curriculum. I see that one coming up. Tucker the Turtle, we know about that. That's a great one. Trying to hang in there. Sarah, yes, that is so important. It's just that trying to hang in there, taking those deep breaths, getting centered, and getting back into it and knowing that this is part of the job.

Saameh: It truly is.

Gail: What a great job it is to help build this, like, social and emotional foundation for young children so that when they're entering into even larger group settings, they're going to be really successful. Yes, trying to hang in there but knowing you've got a great purpose.

Saameh: Absolutely. What we're going to do now is we're going to take another moment to pause and reflect, a reflective moment, on questions that will support equitable teaching practices. We're going to invite you to reflect on the following questions. How do I expect peers to act with each other? How do I feel about conflict? Do I listen openly to all children when there is a problem? To just take a moment and think about those things. We're going to revisit these questions in our Focus on Equity segment. We thought it would be nice this time to weave throughout.

Gail: I love it. Those are such good questions. I'm just thinking about it myself, like, what was I expecting?

Saameh: Right. Now for our Neuroscience Nook segment. Research tells us that the early years are foundational for brain development. And adults play an important role in supporting healthy brain development connections and architecture.

In this segment, our Neuroscience Nook, we are excited to connect this research to everyday teaching practices. I'm going to just take a moment for this side note. As questions are coming up for you, we want to hear them. Please put them in the Q&A or post them in the "Teacher Time" Community in MyPeers. Just wanted to say that.

What we're going to do is we're going to shift our focus. We're going to talk a little bit about executive functioning, which is a very important brain function. The prefrontal cortex begins to develop very early in life. This area of the brain is responsible for what are called executive functioning skills, which some of you may have heard of. They're essential for development of strong and healthy relationships.

This is a really great graphic here, as you can see. It includes what are some of the main functions of executive functioning and executive functioning skills. What are they? Attention, that would be being able to stay focused on a task. Working memory, which is being able to remember rules and procedures. Self-regulation and the ability to control impulses.

Right there, you can see how important that would be for developing strong and healthy relationships. Organization, things like switching between tasks, that would be called flexible thinking. Problem-solving, planning, behavior, decision-making, and motivation. As you can see, hopefully, you're convinced that executive functioning skills are very important indeed. You can see how all these skills are important.

Gail: Absolutely.

Saameh: Also are interrelated in a lot of ways. What we can do is help young children start to develop these critical relationship building and problem-solving skills. I know what all of you are doing every day, through responsive caregiving and effective teaching practices that are responsive to an individual child's needs. In our most recent episodes of "Teacher Time," those were building relationships and emotional literacy in preschool, we've talked about ways that you can support executive functioning through things like serve and return, and the flipping your lid, the hand model.

Gail: Yes, I remember.

Saameh: Yes. From Dr. Dan Siegel. I practiced that a lot before, by the way.

Gail: Yeah, it was good.

Saameh: We also encourage you to look back at the last two viewers guides, that would be building relationships with children, birth through five, and emotional literacy with children, birth through five, to see more about the importance of nurturing and responsive relationships on the developing brain. What we're going to do is we're going to hear — now we're going to hear from Dr. Juliet Taylor, as she describes the development of executive function.

Juliet Taylor: I'm going to show you a graphic of how executive function develops over time. Here's sort of a graphic representation. And one thing to point out is that we are not born with executive function skills in place. We're born with the potential to develop them, or not, depending on our experiences, our neurophysiology, and the interactions between those things.

This graph shows that on the horizontal axis you can see this is ages birth to 80, and notice that there's not an even distribution between the ages. And that is because there are particular peaks in executive function development. You can see skill proficiency on the vertical axis. And I'm going to highlight a couple of areas where you see tremendous growth in executive function skills, and that is really in the preschool ages, between three to five, and then in early adolescence to early adulthood, there's another spike in development.

The foundations of executive function are laid down in the earliest months and years of life, and that really happens through basic sort of serve and return, it's sometimes called, or those basic interactions between child and adult that happen over and over and over again. And that spike really does happen in the preschool years after children have verbal language.

Saameh: As you can see, that graphic, it's just so helpful to see the development pattern. And we see that we aren't born with executive function. We are, however, born with the potential to develop them, and why our support as educators is so important. We know that the foundation of executive function skills are laid down in the first months and years of life. And what we heard and saw, the yellow highlight, is a spike in executive function development between three and five years old after many children have developed verbal language.

Gail: I love that, and I saw the other spike was like that, like, early or later teen years.

Saameh: I noticed that.

Gail: I've got two of those at home. I feel like I see that on a regular basis. Yeah, very true.

Saameh: It resonates.

Gail: It really resonates, both as a preschool teacher and as a mom of adolescents. That's so great. And, like, looked like some declines as we get older. It's not fun.

Saameh: A little less fun.

Gail: We're going to get to the "Teacher Time" BASICS, and we're going to talk about how we can use BASICS to support problem-solving and relationship skills. If you haven't joined us before, let's just go through really quickly what BASICS is. It's an acronym that helps us remember some really powerful teacher-child or adult-child interaction moves that we can make that can support children's growth and development in any area.

The "Teacher Time" BASICS are B is for behavioral expectations in advance. It is always helpful to tell a young child what you're expecting from them before you start a new activity. A is for attending to and encouraging positive behavior, which is so relevant to the topics that we're talking about now. S is for scaffolding with cues and prompts.

Those can be verbal cues, visual cues. You're going to see some of that today. Increasing engagement is the I. C is for creating and adding challenge. Young children grow when we add some challenge to, whether it's intellectual challenge or social and emotional challenge, that creates some growth for young children. And S is for that specific feedback.

If you've joined us for other webinars, you know that we only take two of these letters to focus on. It's too much to do all of them in one episode. We've focused on different letters at different episodes. You'll see that if you want to go back and look at some prior episodes. You'll see some of the other letters.

But today we're going to focus on the C and the S, create or add challenge, and the second S, which is about providing specific feedback to support problem-solving and relationship skills. We're going to jump to it. We're going to start with creating or adding challenge. This is one of my favorite things.

One fun way that we can create or add challenge to problem-solving and relationship skills is to create a friendship kit and invite children to use it when they notice that another child is upset. You can see on the screen that the friendship kit can have lots of little things in it. Really it could be like a shoebox. It could be a file folder. It could be any way that you can contain it. It could be a lovely basket.

But the idea is that in this friendship kit, there are things like maybe a pack of tissue if somebody is crying. Maybe there's a soft toy for someone to cuddle with if they're feeling like they're missing somebody. Maybe there's a pack of bandages to not only help with a small cut, but maybe if your feelings are hurt. We've had children also apply bandage. Very sweet. A sheet of stickers. Maybe a sticker would help someone.

There can be visual support cards of simple problem-solving solutions and things that you can do when a friend is in duress. Things like giving a gentle hug. Maybe saying, I'm sorry. That is certainly a challenge that we offer to young children is to provide a genuine apology, which is a great repair strategy for them to learn. That's one thing. I'd be curious to see if people are using friendship kits. You can enter that into the Q&A.

I've had lots of lovely experiences in my classroom with these friendship kits where children go to them when another child is upset. I had one experience. Well, I'll tell that story in a little bit. But they're just such great, lovely stories about how young children will use it. It's just like a physical reminder of what it takes to develop those special friendships. Now, there's another way that we can create or add challenges. Thank you for advancing that. That was a nice thing to do from our friendship kit.

Gail: Thanks for advancing the slide.

Saameh: Of course.

Gail: Is to actually create a problem-solving solution kit or problem-solving basket. We have already had viewers tell us that they're using these out and about. You'll see lots of resources for supporting those in your viewer's guide. But this is to add a bunch of visuals about supporting problem-solving. Remember we said that one of the more difficult things for young children to do is to generate multiple solutions that are different from each other.

I do always remember when I started doing a lot of social and emotional development, problem-solving in a classroom, in my preschool classroom, I had a student in there, a child in my classroom named Freddy. I loved that. It was the only Freddy I've ever had. Freddy ran up to me on the playground and he said, "Teacher Gail, I've got a problem.” I was like, "Perfect, so excited about this problem.” I said, "What is it?” "Jordan took the ball and won't give it back.”

Now, that is a real problem that happens on a regular basis in preschool classrooms. I said, "Well, what solutions did you try?” Because we were working on solutions. He said, "I tried five.” I was so excited because that's a lot. I said, "What were they?” He said, "I said, 'Please, please, please.'"

One of the things that this problem-solving basket or solution kit can provide for young children are different solutions. You want children to understand that it's not just trying the same solution over and over again or louder. But it is actually trying different solutions, like wait and take turns, hardest solution. I think to try, make another choice, play together. We could ask an adult if it becomes a big problem.

Gail: Just take a break. Lots of things that can be in there. And check your viewer's guide out because there's lots of visuals that you could cut out and use in your own classrooms and learning settings. We're on to the next. We are going to watch one of our favorite teachers ever. Teacher Heather is going to introduce the problem-solving solution basket to preschoolers in her care. And just pay attention. What do you notice? Share those in chat as you take a look.

Heather: We've been working really hard with the problem-solving basket. I think I'm ready. I'm still mad, but I'm ready. I'm going to use that problem-solving basket you guys told me about. Is that a good idea?

Child: Yeah.

Heather: No, no, no. We got it right here. Remember, guys, we planned it this time. Oh, Eddie, hey, I just happen to have it right here. OK, wait. Here's my mad card because I need to breathe some more. I feel better now. I'm going to get one of those books you guys told me about. Teacher, will you help me? I will. It's hard for Eddie to hold the book, huh? I'm going to find an idea because that's what you guys told me last time. Find an idea in my book. And I don't have to read it, right? We have to look at it, right, Marilyn, because there's pictures, right? Pictures for Eddie. Oh, yeah, I remember. We've been practicing a long time, ever since we started school. Okay, here we go. Sharon, can I trade a block with you? Say no.

Heather: Uh-oh, she said no. I'm so disappointed. I don't know how to fix this. What should we help Eddie say? Hey, Eddie, you know what? Our class does something funny when we feel disappointed. You guys want to help him again? Ready? We say, oh, pickle. And then we try another idea. I'm going to try another idea from a different book because that book didn't have the idea I wanted. Let me see. I'm going to share. Jocelyn, can I have one of your blocks? Great, great, great. Sharon, say yes this time. Can I give you this block and you give me back my three blocks?

Saameh: Love it.

Gail: So great. Oh, pickles.

Saameh: I told you about the puppets.

Gail: Yes, exactly.

Saameh: The puppets showed up.

Gail: Exactly. Puppets are so great for supporting and role-playing social and emotional problems because you can control their —

Saameh: Totally.

Gail: I mean, in a helpful way. You can control what they're saying and experiencing, and the children can help the puppet out. It's really great.

Saameh: I love that.

Gail: She does a great job of that, and our viewers agree. They are commenting that they're loving that, and hopefully we'll share that video with others.

Saameh: I just love that. It's sort of just a way of children stepping outside of the scene and being able to see what's happening.

Gail: It’s like a little fishbowl in a way.

Saameh: When you're in it, you're feeling so many feelings, so many things happening, it's hard to use those executive functioning skills around it. You're actually developing those executive functioning skills when you're like, okay, I wonder how I can support these puppets and planning and working it out and da-da-da. It's really wonderful. It's a great way. Very powerful.

Gail: Yes. Huge puppet family.

Saameh: Yes, we can do so much.

Gail: We're going to have to have a whole episode on puppets.

Saameh: Puppet Time. Yeah, both you and I. Great. We have our S now from our BASICS, and that is specific feedback. Providing specific feedback is another way educators can support problem-solving and relationship skills, and that's naming and acknowledging when we see a child engaging and building relationships. It's really important to be specific about what you see, and we have some examples here.

Like, you're helping me put Natalie's coat on, or I saw you get a tissue for Kai, which was so kind. And I can see that you were both feeling frustrated, and let's get the solution kit and get some ideas of how we might solve the problem. Noticing and acknowledging goes a long way. It's I see you, I hear you, and right there you have buy-in. It's like, OK, let's work together. I think all of us, children, and adults alike.

Educators can provide specific feedback to a child when they see them taking turns, sharing, trying to solve problems, or helping a friend. I can see you being a helpful friend and working with Isaiah to get his mat set up for nap time. That's probably a typical one. Nap time is a big one. Setting up for nap time is a big one. That itself is a whole thing. A lot of ripe opportunities for problem-solving.

Saameh: Providing specific feedback is also a helpful teaching tool. And we might provide feedback on how to be a friend or how to solve a problem, like another one that resonates with me. I hear that you would all like a turn on the tire swing.

Gail: Oh, yes.

Saameh: Many opportunities for problem-solving with a tire swing. Very popular tire swing. Let's try using the sand timer to make sure everyone gets a turn. Or I can see that you're both feeling frustrated. Okay, we talked about this one. Let's get the solution kit. Get some ideas how we might solve the problem. Offer specific ideas of what the child might do next. Remember that how feedback is given, including what you say, how you say it, it should really be individualized to meet the learning characteristics and temperament of each child. It's not just like one size fits all model.

Gail: Absolutely. I think like the key word is the specific here in specific feedback. Because I noticed all the examples that you gave, it wasn't like, a good job. It was really specific and it didn't even have to have a praise statement. It really could just be like saying what you noticed. You got a tissue for Kai. That was so kind.

It's just labeling the behavior that they're doing can be enough to provide them specific feedback that like, wow, that was important enough for my teacher to say or my educational support person to say. Then that specific feedback about like, let's try something new. Let's try something a little bit different. Also, very helpful. It's so great.

Saameh: Yeah.

Gail: I just think it's like the S in there is really important, that specific part. I really love that. Specific. It's almost more important than the praise is the specific sort of I see you.

Saameh: Because empty praise is not necessarily the most helpful.

Gail: Yeah. That's another whole thing that we're going to talk about.

Saameh: At some point.

Gail: But we are so excited that we're going to check back into Teacher Heather's classroom and see how she provides specific feedback while helping two children solve problems. See if maybe a few know this, some of that specific feedback that she's providing.

Heather: Uh-oh. Amy and Jami, what's the problem? You're getting it to make the fort. And it looks like Amy's holding it, too. Thanks, Elina, for moving so I could get up. What are we going to do about it? You both want the same block? What are we going to do about it? How are we going to fix the problem? I'm going to hold the block for a minute while you guys help figure it out. What's your idea? You want to play with it over there. Should we find out what Jami's idea was? What was your idea, Jami? Oh, and she thinks she needs it for that building. You both need this block for two different buildings.

Do you want to look for an idea in the basket? Grab the book. See what you can come up with. There's another one over there, right? I think Amy's got the book. What are we going to do? She's looking. Let's play together. That would be building the same building together. Take a break. You just take a break from building. Wait until she's done. One more minute. She would have it for a minute and then you would have it for a minute.

You build with something else. Maybe next time. Talk to me. Elina dropped it in there. Playing together. You would build it together. Do you want to build together, Jami? Look, Amy's talking to you. Sorry, I just said it and Amy was saying it. Sorry about that, Amy. Here. Amy, you're going to help Jami build her tower. Excellent. You guys are expert problem solvers.

Gail: So great.

Saameh: Live in action.

Gail: And people are providing some feedback on that as well. I mean, she does such a great job of providing that specific feedback along the way.

Saameh: Absolutely.

Gail: Along the way, absolutely.

Saameh: We are ready to move on to our Small Change, Big Impact segment. Small Change, Big Impact, where we share how small adjustments to the way we set up our learning environment, modify our curriculum, or engage with children can make a big difference for a child's learning.

We know that children vary in their learning characteristics and how they engage with the people and materials in their learning environments. These small changes, also known as curriculum modifications, are made based on the individual needs of the child to help promote their engagement and participation. We know that when children are more engaged, they have more opportunities to learn.

Some children might need more highly individualized teaching to help them learn problem-solving, such as embedded teaching or intensive individualized teaching, making curriculum modifications based on a child's individual learning needs. This can be a great place to start to support engagement.

Gail: Absolutely. And today we are focusing on using social stories. I would be so excited to hear how our viewers are using social stories. I imagine that some people are already using these. But for those of you who might not be familiar with social stories, they are a great little curriculum modification, or not little, because they actually take a little bit of time to put in place. But they are there to support a child who might have some more specific or individualized needs to navigate a social situation or just providing them with a little bit more information as to how to navigate a social situation or a change.

These are written from a child's perspective. And this is very individualized. They have the child's picture in them often. The child's name is used in them. The social story highlights and clearly describes to a child what the most important aspects of the social situation are, like what the appropriate behavior expectations are in that situation, how people, including the child, might be feeling or what they might be thinking about in that social situation.

Social stories, hard to say, sometimes social stories can help increase a child's understanding of a social situation. It can help prepare them to use that new focus skill or focus behavior that's going to help them navigate the situation as successfully as possible. They are very effective in introducing many types of new skills and behaviors to children that might need that, again, more focused and turning the volume up, as I like to think about it, on some of the social atmosphere that might be going on for a child to help them learn.

There is a great video, if you haven't seen it yet, because we've actually shown it before. But if you haven't seen it yet, there's a great video on "Teacher Time" Community in MyPeers about how to make and how to use social stories for teaching purposes. We are going to show a video of one preschool educator using a social story to support a child in the learning environment. As we watch, share what you notice about what the teacher is using, how they're using the social story, or anything else that you notice in the Q&A.

Teacher: Andy. Andy, not a big deal, okay?

[Children shouting indistinctly]

All right, Andy, check it out. You need to keep your hands and legs to yourself.

Andy: [Inaudible]

Teacher: And a calm voice.

Andy: It's too hard.

Teacher: Can you show me a calm voice like this? Hmm? Let's do one more.

Andy: I need some help.

Teacher: Look, Andy.

Teacher: If my friends do something I don't like, I can say, "Please.”

Andy: Please.

Teacher: "Stop.”

Andy: Stop.

Teacher: And get a teacher to help me.

Teacher: Well, what do you need help with, Andy?

Andy: That.

Teacher: You can use a calm voice and say, "Please stop.”

Andy: Please stop!

Teacher: This is what we're good at, right, David?

Gail: Well, I love that. That is a real situation. There's a busy, bustling classroom going on, and that teacher still has enough organizational support going on in that classroom to be able to go over and individualize the support for that young child. They are going through a social story, which the child is referencing with the teacher support, but eventually I think the child's able to use it independently on their own.

Again, if you want to know how to create social stories, or if you want some links to social stories, check out your viewer's guide. We've got lots of links to some social stories that you can use, such as using one for Tucker Turtle. There's also that video in MyPeers about how to get those set up.

Saameh: I see somebody in the chat who speaks so much to the relationship that the child has with the teacher, which, yes, as we can see how important that is to starting out, really building that relationship so the child is trusting the teacher to support.

Gail: Absolutely. And Roxanne's comment about being very calm and listening to the child, right, it just takes me back to what you had us do at the beginning. It takes a moment.

Gail: You have to be mindful as an educator to be like, OK, there's a lot going on in the classroom. This child is really needing my support. Taking a deep breath and then walking them through it.

Gail: It's great so that you can stay calm and support them. I love it

Saameh: Very important. Throughout this webinar, as you've noticed, we have been discussing ways to foster social emotional skills for all children. Today in our Focus on Equity segment, we're going to be using our equity lens to take a closer look at implicit bias and how it impacts how we interact with children and support them in building problem-solving and relationship skills.

The value that we place on peer relationships and the way we go about building and maintaining them are influenced by our families, our culture, our community, and our experiences. And sometimes subtle biases can interfere with our ability to support and partner with children and their families with an open mind. Uncovering these biases takes time and reflection.

What you may have noticed is that we paused and we took those reflective moments throughout this webinar today for reflective practice and starting to think about the following questions. These are ones that we've gone through today here at the webinar. What value do I place on peer relationships? How do I expect peers to act with each other? How do I feel about conflict? Do I listen openly to all children when there is a problem? Is there a child that I am more likely to make negative assumptions about when a problem involves that child?

It's really to take a moment to reflect on these things throughout our day or week or in certain situations. It can be really helpful to ask a friend, colleague, or coach to video record you during a time of day where there tends to be more conflict between children and then to watch that video and notice how you respond and interact with each child involved in a conflict. This is interesting because it reminds me of a puppet thing again. It's like taking a step outside and looking at yourself from the outside.

Saameh: It's kind of hard to see your own back is what somebody told me before.

Saameh: This is a way of doing that.

Saameh: And does every child receive the support and instruction they need?

Gail: That's right.

Saameh: We're going to wrap up with our BookCASE. This month, Dr. Gail Joseph had the chance to meet with our "Teacher Time" Librarian, Emily Small.

Saameh: I'm so excited to hear about the books this month.

Gail: I got to go to the library. It's pretty fun.

Saameh: Oh, nice. Let's watch them make the CASE.

Gail: Hi, everyone. It's time for one of our favorite segments, The BookCASE. And how lucky are we to have our very own "Teacher Time" Librarian, Emily Small.

Emily Small: Thanks for having me back.

Gail: We're so excited. This is just such a treat. Emily has brought a collection of fabulous books for us to talk about. And she’s going to make the CASE for one of them. If you're new to "Teacher Time," let me just remind you what the CASE is.

The CASE really stands for an acronym for four strategies that are really helpful to help you maximize the learning you can get from children's books. C is for connect. We want to think about how we can connect the content or the characters or the story of the book to one of the ELOF outcomes. And the A is for advanced vocabulary.

We know that children love big words and finding big words in books is a great strategy to help support their growing vocabulary. S is to support their active engagement with the book reading. And E is to extend the learning beyond the book. Finding ways that you can keep that magic of the book alive. With that, tell us about the books you have.

Emily: The first one we have is "Luli and the Language of Tea.” This book just came out in 2022. It is probably one of my favorites. It features some children that don't know each other because their families are going to an English language learning class. I also feel like we don't see that very often in picture books.

Gail: I've never seen it.

Emily: Luli is trying to connect with the other children in the space. And she discovers that tea is all a part of their culture. They have a tea party. It's just a great way for kids to learn that you are connected to others. And you just have to find that connection piece.

Gail: Love that. And the illustrations look amazing.

Emily: Yes.

Gail: So engaging.

Emily: We have "Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome.” This is the third one in the "Amy Wu" series. Highly recommend them all. There's a new child in Amy's class who doesn't speak English. And Amy really wants him to feel welcome. You see the steps she takes to help the child feel welcome in class. It's a really great story.

Gail: Again, illustrations are beautiful. I don't even know this book and I want to read it.

Emily: Yes, I love how bright the colors are. Just like, yes, it draws you in immediately. We have "I Forgive Alex: A Simple Story About Understanding.” This is a wordless picture book. Wordless books are fantastic to use for all families, but especially ones where English may not be their home language because anyone can tell a story in any language with a wordless book.

Gail: That is such a great strategy to bring in.

Emily: Yeah. I'll show you some of the photos. But basically it's a story of a child that accidentally ruins another child's artwork. It's just an accident and then the steps that are taken to rekindle that friendship.

Gail: It's such a beautiful story and I love it. Without words, but you can still tell the story.

Emily: And for the CASE, we have "The Little Book of Friendship.” This book is tiny but has so much great stuff in it.

Emily: For the connection, it has really good concrete examples of how to be a good friend, how to make a friend, and then it even addresses when you're not getting along with your friends and those challenges that come up.

Gail: Which happens. A lot.

Emily: Yes, yes.

Gail: Great. Emily, for our A, our advanced vocabulary, we see words like bloom, grumpy, amazing, complimenting. We've got a lot of good emotion words.

Emily: For our supporting engagement, this book asks a lot of questions. It would be great for people to pause while they're reading, maybe write them down so kids can reference them later.

Gail: Great strategy.

Emily: Then for our extend the learning, at the beginning it talks about making a friendship garden. And you could make a friendship garden in your classroom where they all work together to build a garden. Also taking photos of your own children in the classroom so that kids can reference back to them, maybe in a photo album or posting when they're having a hard time with friends.

Gail: Such a great way to make the CASE for this book, "The Little Book of Friendship.” We hope you will find all these books at your local library.

Gail: And bring them into your classroom.

Emily: Yeah.

Gail: Thanks for being with us.

Emily: Thanks for having me.

Saameh: Awesome. That was wonderful.

Gail: It was so fun to be in our "Teacher Time" Library.

Saameh: Thank you. That's about all we have time for today.

Gail: That's it.

Saameh: And thank you so much for joining us. Join us again next month for Responding to Challenging Behavior with Infants and Toddlers. And again in May for with Preschoolers. And bye for now. Thank you so much for being here with us.

Gail: See you on MyPeers. Take care.

Children are born ready to solve problems, and they rely on supportive relationships to learn how to recognize problems and find solutions. Problem-solving involves patience, persistence, and creativity from both the child and the adults in their lives. As preschool children explore their world and engage in play with peers, challenges and conflicts provide opportunities to learn and grow. Discuss practical strategies to foster problem-solving and relationship-building skills in preschoolers.

Note: The evaluation, certificate, and engagement tools mentioned in the video were for the participants of the live webinar and are no longer available. For information about webinars that will be broadcast live soon, visit the Upcoming Events section.

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Resource Type: Video

National Centers: Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning

Age Group: Preschoolers

Audience: Teachers and Caregivers

Series: Teacher Time

Last Updated: September 26, 2023

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Preschool Problem-Solving

Discover five ways parents can help preschoolers develop problem-solving abilities..

Three-year-old Sarah tries to display the leaves she has collected on a sheet of paper, but they keep falling off. She remembers seeing her teacher use the glue in a plastic bottle to stick a picture onto the paper. Fascinated with exploring new materials, Sarah decides to try to solve her problem by using the glue. Sarah squeezes streams of glue into a pile on her paper and then pushes the leaves on top. Like most three-year-olds, she's solving a problem through trial and error, relying primarily on her senses rather than reasoning. So it may take several experiments before she understands that the leaves won't stick readily to the big pile of glue.  

Focused but Frustrated Threes enjoy using their imagination to solve problems as they arise. Wanting a construction worker's hard hat for his dramatic play, Max enthusiastically decides to use an upsidedown plastic bowl. Delighted, he then repeatedly demonstrates how to use the pretend supervisor's walkie-talkie he creatively made from a juice box. At this age, children can sometimes become frustrated in their problem-solving attempts because they can see only one possible solution — which may not be workable. For example, when Tommy's jacket zipper is stuck, he keeps pulling it up, convinced that this is the only available approach.

If at First ... Adventuresome four-year-olds frequently charge ahead in their quest to solve problems. While they may need some help in focusing on the actual problem, they are more patient than three-year-olds and can try out different solutions.

For example, several four-year-olds struggle to get their wagon out of the mud on the playground. First they try pushing it. Then they attempt to pull it. When these methods fail to budge the wagon, they decide to take the heavy rocks out and then try again. Typical of this age, the children then boast about how strong and what good thinkers they are!

Team Efforts Using their larger vocabularies, four-year-olds are ready to negotiate with one another. Their developing language skills help them as they work together and engage in group decision-making. With practice, they learn to choose from among several different solutions. For instance, a few of the children decide to build a house. They gather a variety of materials — colored foil, corrugated cardboard, twigs, dandelions, tree bark — and then work together to decide which ones to use. They discuss their predictions about which of the materials might work and how best to use them.

What You Can Do Preschoolers learn best when they're given frequent opportunities to solve problems that are meaningful to them — those that arise in their day-to-day life.

  • Provide opportunities for hands-on investgations. Offer children interesting items to explore, such as magnets, found objects, and broken (but safe) appliances. Rotate your materials to keep them fresh and thought-provoking.  
  • Foster creative- and critical-thinking skills by inviting children to use items in new and diverse ways. Strings of colored beads, for example, can become reins for a racehorse, hair for a doll, links for measuring, or tools to press into clay to make designs.  
  • Encourage children's suggestions and solutions. Promote brainstorming by asking openended questions: "What can you do with a...?" "How many ways can you...?" Listen carefully to children's ideas.  
  • Allow children to find their own solutions. Offer help when they become frustrated, but don't solve their problems for them.  
  • Use literature as a springboard. Share books that show how characters solve problems, such as King of the Playground by Phyllis Naylor and Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina.

problem solving video for preschool

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"Simplify and Conquer: The Key To Problem Solving"

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Success Johnson

"Simplify and Conquer: The Key To Problem Solving" Kindle Edition

"Simplify and Conquer: The Key To Problem Solving" offers a practical guide to mastering the art of problem-solving. In this insightful book, readers will discover proven strategies and techniques to break down complex problems into manageable parts, enabling them to tackle challenges with confidence and efficiency. Through real-world examples and actionable advice, this book empowers readers to streamline their problem-solving process and achieve greater success in both their personal and professional lives. Whether you're facing a daunting task or seeking to enhance your problem-solving skills, "Simplify and Conquer" is your essential companion on the journey to overcoming obstacles and achieving your goals.

  • Print length 26 pages
  • Language English
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  • Publication date June 2, 2024
  • File size 424 KB
  • Page Flip Enabled
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Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0D5Z1NYV2
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ June 2, 2024
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 424 KB
  • Simultaneous device usage ‏ : ‎ Unlimited
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
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  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 26 pages

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Success Johnson is a distinguished author renowned for Romance, Marriage, Parenting and Relationship Niches e.g., "Twins and My Brother’s Best Friend: A Romance Forbidden by the Billionaire Single Dad" , "Passionate Love"….]. With a passion for storytelling that 7 years, Success Johnson has captivated readers worldwide with their compelling narratives and insightful prose.

Their unique perspective infuses each work with depth and authenticity, resonating with readers on a profound level.

Success Johnson's literary journey has garnered critical acclaim. Their dedication to craft and commitment to excellence are evident in every page, as they weave intricate plots and unforgettable characters that linger in the reader's imagination long after the book is closed.

In addition to their writing, Success Johnson is "a dedicated philanthropist," "a sought-after speaker”, enriching their storytelling with a wealth of diverse experiences and perspectives.

Success Johnson books have garnered praise from readers and critics alike, earning a permanent place on bestseller lists and igniting discussions in book clubs worldwide. Their unwavering commitment to excellence ensures that each new release is eagerly anticipated by fans and newcomers alike.

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  6. 10 Simple Activities to Teach Your Preschooler Problem Solving

    Some problems require the use of many skills, while others are simple and may only require one or two skills. These are some examples of problem-solving skills for preschoolers, as listed by Lateral thinking. Creativity. Analytical thinking. Decision-making skills. Initiative.

  7. Problem Solving with Little Learners (preschool, pre-k, and

    Cheer on the students for solving the problem and stay close just in case they need more support. Throughout the day, try to make EVERYTHING a problem to solve. Then model, talk through your thinking out loud, and use visuals to support students as they try to solve a problem. For example, I may put out a big ball of playdough in the center of ...

  8. Problem Solving Activities for Preschoolers

    Here are 3 Simple Ways to Teach Preschoolers to Solve Problems. 1.Teaching executive functioning and problem solving skills in everyday situations will support the growth of a child's prefrontal cortex. For example, these activities that teach executive functioning at the beach show how much thought and preparation goes into building a simple ...

  9. 10 Wordless Videos that Teach Problem Solving

    10 Wordless Videos I Love. Piper Short Movie — A baby bird finds a way to survive a big wave.; Ormie the Pig — A pig attempts to get a jar of cookies off of the top of the fridge.; Let Me In! — Simon's cat wants to come inside and makes some bad decisions! Sweet Cocoon — Figuring out how to fit in your cocoon is hard work.; Rollin Safari — What would animals be like if they were round?

  10. 22 Problem Solving Activities for Preschool

    Guessing games, such as "I Spy" or "20 Questions," is an excellent way to encourage problem-solving skills in young children. These games require children to use their critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills to guess the answer correctly. This activity promotes memory, concentration, and attention to detail.

  11. 44 Powerful Problem Solving Activities for Kids

    By honing their problem-solving abilities, we're preparing kids to face the unforeseen challenges of the world outside. Enhances Cognitive Growth: Otherwise known as cognitive development. Problem-solving isn't just about finding solutions. It's about thinking critically, analyzing situations, and making decisions.

  12. How to Strengthen Your Preschooler's Problem-Solving Skills

    Identify the problem. Brainstorm solutions to the problem. Choose and implement one of the solutions. Evaluate how that solution resolved the problem. Following this four-step guideline can help the adults in a preschooler's life address how a child acquires problem-solving techniques to help them navigate through the difficult and everyday ...

  13. Solving Problems

    Building Resilience with Hunter and Eve - "Solving Problems"In this episode, Hunter learns three steps to solve problems. Watch the video learn how you can b...

  14. Problem Solving in the Moment

    This video highlights the ways that teachers can support children in learning how to use problem solving to deal with the upsets and conflicts and other social problems that may occur in a preschool classroom. For many young children, the preschool classroom is a new social experience.

  15. How to Teach Kids Problem-Solving Skills

    Here are the steps to problem-solving: . Identify the problem. Just stating the problem out loud can make a big difference for kids who are feeling stuck. Help your child state the problem, such as, "You don't have anyone to play with at recess," or "You aren't sure if you should take the advanced math class."

  16. Promoting Problem-solving Skills in Young Children

    In this video clip, you're going to notice that the setting is a preschool classroom and that there are two children that have encountered a problem. We want you to take note on how the teacher handles the situation to really engage the children in working through problem-solving.

  17. Mastery Motivation: Persistence and Problem Solving in Preschool

    Mastery motivation is persistence—continuing to do or to try to do something that is difficult—at mastering challenging tasks or activities. Problem solving is natural for preschoolers. As teachers know, everyday routines can bring difficult challenges, like learning how to zip up a coat or ask for help before frustration sets in.

  18. Problem-solving and Relationship Skills in Preschool

    Problem-solving, planning, behavior, decision-making, and motivation. As you can see, hopefully, you're convinced that executive functioning skills are very important indeed. You can see how all these skills are important. Gail: Absolutely. Saameh: Also are interrelated in a lot of ways.

  19. Sesame Street

    Watch hundreds of videos featuring your favorite Sesame Street characters and celebrities. Learn new words, songs, and skills with Elmo, Big Bird, Grover, and more. Laugh, sing, and dance along with the best of Sesame Street videos.

  20. Teaching Problem Solving for Preschool, Pre-K, or Kindergarten

    Get some great ideas to help your little learners practice problem solving skills in the preschool, pre-k, or kindergarten classroom.See the problem solving ...

  21. Preschool Problem-Solving

    Preschoolers learn best when they're given frequent opportunities to solve problems that are meaningful to them — those that arise in their day-to-day life. Provide opportunities for hands-on investgations. Offer children interesting items to explore, such as magnets, found objects, and broken (but safe) appliances.

  22. "Simplify and Conquer: The Key To Problem Solving"

    Through real-world examples and actionable advice, this book empowers readers to streamline their problem-solving process and achieve greater success in both their personal and professional lives. Whether you're facing a daunting task or seeking to enhance your problem-solving skills, "Simplify and Conquer" is your essential companion on the ...

  23. AT&T resolves outage that left some customers without service ...

    Earlier, the company said a problem prevented many AT&T customers from completing calls between carriers. ... Video 'Shark Tank' star shares his 'good idea' to reduce US national debt 1:49.

  24. Problem Solving Boogie Song Preschool Fun Learning Music


  25. PBS Reno Writers Contest 2024: Eleanor

    2nd Place in the Kindergarten level: "I Wonder About Nature" by Eleanor, Poulakidas Elementary School. Airing: 06/05/24. Rating: TV-G.

  26. PBS Reno Writers Contest 2024: Allistair

    3rd Place in the Kindergarten level: "The Tasty Clouds" by Allistair, Bohach Elementary School. Airing: 06/05/24. Rating: TV-G.

  27. Kindergarten Second Step Lesson 19: Solving Problems

    Students will be able to describe the first two steps of solving a problem: say the problem and think of a solution.