As parents, we care about our children’s future and the skills they will need to be successful later in life. Helping our children develop executive function skills (like problem solving) early on can help pave the way to success.
Nurturing problem solving in young children can be as simple as playing games. Here are some ideas to encourage problem solving at home:
- Plan a scavenger hunt: Pick several toys or other objects and hide them around your home. Provide clues as to where the objects might be. Have your child help create a list with pictures or the names of the objects and help him cross them off once found.
- Practice with puzzles: Puzzles encourage intrinsic motivation since the satisfaction of solving the puzzle is the only reward. Encourage your child to try different types of puzzles, from jigsaw to more digital versions on educational apps (these mobile app guidelines can help you choose the right ones for your little one).
- Play with blocks: When your child plays with blocks, ask him to build structures based on different scenarios (E.g., “Will you build a garage for my car?” or “Let’s pretend we had some horses. Can you build a house for them?”). Have your child explain his structure and ask questions that encourage him to think through solutions, such as “Where would we put the food for the horses?” or “What if we needed to give them a bath?”
When nurturing problem solving in young children, it’s important to remember that the process is more important than simply finding the right solution or answer. Be sure to slow down, allow enough time to complete the task and encourage your child to stick with it!
Get additional tips and resources for nurturing executive function skills at home.