Problem solving games and activities are a great way to keep your little ones entertained, but also exercising their minds! Here are five classic games to whip out the next time you need to fill the time:
1. A Trip Around the World
Tell your kids you’d like to go on a wild trip around the world, and you would like them to help you plan it. To begin, pull out a map, or draw your own. Name a place starting with “A” that can serve as your starting point, and ask them to name a place near it that starts with “B” that could be your next stop. The next player should come up with a place starting with “C” and so on. Each stop needs to be realistically close to the previous one, and slowly all your destinations move around the world until you have completed a circle of the world and the alphabet. This game will help advance your child’s understanding of geography, while feeding their appetite for exploration!
2. The Road Sign Alphabet
This game offers hours of fun if you’re taking a road trip as a family, and it helps develop your kids’ reading and spelling skills. To start, one team chooses one side of the road (right or left), and the other team gets the other side. With one person from each team taking notes, the rest of the team keeps track of the first letters of each place on the road signs, trying to complete the entire alphabet. The team that completes the full 26-letter alphabet first wins.
3. 20 Questions
An excellent way to help with your children’s memory and association skills is through the 20 Questions game, one of the most popular problem solving games that you probably remember from your own childhood! To begin, one player thinks of a specific person, and the rest of the family guesses who you have in mind. They can ask 20 questions in total, and these should only be answered with “yes” or “no.” After all of the questions are asked, each player can take a guess. The one who guesses correctly wins!
4. A Secret Place on the Map
Pick a place on a map and tell your kids the name of the location. Then close the map and hand it to them. Ask them to find your secret place on the map and time them while they’re searching. You could either give each player 60 seconds or have them all look for it as a team. The team or player who finds the location first wins, and gets to pick the next secret location. This game helps your children develop their observation skills as well as get an understanding of how maps are laid out.
5. The License Plate Game
Ask your children to pay close attention to the other cars’ license plates and identify as many different states as possible. The game is to make a list of all 50 states and mark the ones you spot. The more states the kids have ticked off by the end of the car trip, the more points they earn. This way is by far the most fun for your kids to learn their states. Alternately, you could create BINGO boards with states listed in each box to make it even more fun!
Problem solving games should be fun and engaging, as well as educational. The more entertaining they are, the more your kids will enjoy the challenge and the more information they’ll absorb. Remember, having fun is a key part of successful learning!
Photo by Ben Francis