Practising problem solving



Do you ever feel like your kids give up too easily and ask you to do things for them?  I do! I wonder if I've just been stepping in too quickly to help them out and so I've created the problem myself. I'm consciously holding myself back now and pushing our kids to figure things out for themselves now. Sometimes it results in tears of frustration or despair - by them or me, but I think it's important for them to learn to persevere and not just fall back on mum all the time.




So my latest plan is to have puzzles and challenges out all the time for us all to try to solve. The idea being is that they'll get into the habit of persevering to solve problems and puzzles and hopefully this skill will transfer into their daily lives!



I used my daughter's old school whiteboard and added a quote that I felt was appropriate - "Never, never, never give up" - by Winston Churchill. I also added who Winston Churchill was - using this opportunity to help them learn something else too.  I'll change the quotes as I change the puzzles!



So the first puzzle to solve was this shark 'sudoku' that Euan got for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it being tricky, has been sitting in the back of the cupboard since then - never finished!



I put the puzzle on the table - there are 4 sets of 4 tiles with pictures of sharks on. They have to be laid out in a square so each different shark tile appears on every row and column but never twice - just like the numbers in a sudoku puzzle.


We all tried it several times over a couple of days, coming back again and again trying different tactics. Eventually we completed it! Providing lots of satisfaction in having persevered!


The next day I changed the quote and the puzzle to a word puzzle. Once again everyone gave it a go and together we solved it. We've now moved on to another word puzzle which is proving a little tricky!



I have lots of different challenges and puzzles that we can use for this - jigsaws, word and number problems, riddles etc. 



There's no pushing to solve each puzzle, but when it's left out on the table, nobody can help but try each time they pass it by, and everyone wants to be the first to solve it!



How are you at problem solving?






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