Teaching children how to problem solve

Getting our children take part in problem solving, rather than doing the solving ourselves, will help them to develop this skill over time.

By providing a number of problem solving experiences from a young age and encouraging our children to get creative, think critically and look at ways to solve the problem will help them build their problem solving muscles!

Problem solving is a skill that not only helps children to think more critically, it also improves their independence and, importantly, their resilience even as they move into adulthood.

It is not only for older kids, but pre-schoolers as well. We already know that pre-schoolers learn through play, so what kinds of activities will help with their problem solving abilities? A puzzle is the first answer that comes to mind, but other activities include:

  • Hidden pictures books
  • Dot-to-dot pictures
  • Mazes
  • Memory games
  • Making patterns with beads and blocks
  • and many more....

A bit of further research shows that tips for helping kids develop problem solving skills is quite a common topic! Interestingly, encouraging kids to think creatively and explore and experiment through unstructured play also helps develop this skill.


The Shapeeze activity pads incorporate several elements of problem solving – matching shape and colour elements to fit into bigger pictures, identifying and linking shapes to their correct names, number sequence awareness, as well as creating their own patterns and designs.

A mum recently told me that her 5 year old took a little while to establish what she wanted to do with her Shapeeze designs but “…wouldn’t listen to advice from others..”. which reminded me that – let’s face it – we are all guilty of trying to guide our darlings to do things the ‘right’ or ‘most obvious’ way. Whereas most of our generation were told to “find something to do” and “work it out yourself” by our parents. 

These days our children are wrapped in structure and guided to achieve the required result or rating. However, it is important to leave our child to work things out for themselves or even take their own path to a result often enough to enable the crucial social and emotional development as Andrew Fuller discusses in Tricky Kids: Transforming Conflict and Freeing Their Potential.

As Shapeeze is designed for kids to be able to play on their own, they can experiment with images, colours and shapes as they wish, all the while improving their dexterity, independence and thought processes.

Resilient kids are healthy kids, who grow into resilient and healthy young adults. Creating opportunities for them to develop these skills not only enables a confident start to school, but also a confident start to the rest of their lives.

Shapeeze is a proud supporter of Little Rockers Radio and we love working with great small businesses like these! Not only are their products awesome, their ethics and passion for kids is at the heart of what they do!

If you’re looking for an activity for your little ones that helps with learning to problem solve then check them out and use code ROCKERS at checkout to get 15% off until September 1 2018.

This article was republished (with a few changes) with permission from Shapeeze.