- Problem-solving skills are a crucial foundational skill that is best learned within the first 7 years of life. Doing this effectively will best prepare them for their future professionally and personally. Research shows a child that can solve problems on their own is happier, confident, and more independent.
- When your toddler experiences overstimulation it can cause negative short term and long term consequences. Your secret weapon is to have a learning environment that is calm, fun, and one with minimal distractions. It can be guided or independent play. “teaching” problem-solving skills is something that happens best through guided play, rather than direct involvement.
- This 3D puzzle specifically is different from most. It’s a must-have for your developing toddler. Not only because it helps them develop physical skills, basic concepts, patience, and concentration, but it helps them learn problem-solving skills. When it comes to problem-solving, 3D puzzles are helping your child practice critical thinking, judgment, visual-perceptual skills and memory.
We all know that problem-solving skills are important, but many of us don’t know the specifics. It’s important to understand how it ties into development so that we can easily implement ways to effectively learn how to build this skill in daily activities.
You probably have questions like, “When do I start teaching my kid problem-solving skills?” “How do I teach problem-solving skills?”, and “Is this time-consuming?”
These are important and I’m going to answer them.
First, don’t be overwhelmed or scared of a time commitment. Activities shouldn’t be complicated or time-consuming.
There is a much easier way to develop this skill and it’s not time-consuming on your end.
How Do Problem-Solving Skills Help Your Child’s Development?
Problem-solving skills are a foundational skill that plays into other parts of your child’s life as well as the ability to learn. This is something that will help them make sound decisions for themselves as they grow.
Research shows a child that can solve problems on their own is happier, confident, and more independent. – Kumon.co
We will always face adversity and problems. How we tackle that problem builds character, resilience, and perseverance.
Plus, it evokes lateral thinking which is when an indirect or creative approach of reasoning is used to solve a problem.
Lateral thinking is important and one of the basics of STEM education. STEM has shown to prepare children and adults for further success in life as compared to the commonly used system in public schools.
An example of practicing problem-solving skills and using lateral thinking is when your toddler plays with STEM-certified 3D puzzles, building blocks, and other similar puzzles.
They’re learning how things work, what is connected, and why their 3D puzzle needs to match perfectly to “win”.
Later on in life, professionals say the number one reason why interpersonal relationships fail and businesses fail is because of poor-problem solving skills.
The problems are either not recognized or not dealt with properly.
True success is found by focusing on the underlying issues and not the symptoms.
The best traits to have properly developed problem-solving skills are:
- Research skills
- Emotional Intelligence
- Risk management
- Decision making
STEM educational toys like 3D puzzles for toddlers help develop these skills properly.
As your toddler plays with 3D puzzles they’re learning concepts at a deeper level. They’re practicing all of those traits which that creates a child who knows how to diagnose the real problem and solve it effectively.
That’s why I’m such a firm believer in STEM-certified toys and activities. Your child really becomes a well-rounded adult.
“When do I start teaching my toddler problem-solving skills?”
It really is best to start as a baby, but if your child is a toddler this is the perfect time to introduce life skills too. It’s not too late!
It’s more common for parents to Google problem-solving skills during toddler years and there isn’t a ton of information on this yet.
Therefore, we’ll be focusing on toddlers.
By starting during the toddler years, this helps your toddler sense, think, and understand their world around them.
It’s vital for development.
They start to make connections as they play using real-life scenarios.
Since they’re so curious at this stage, it’s beyond helpful in them naturally building this skill. Less of a fuss and more fun for you and your toddler, especially when they play with toys like 3D puzzles because it never gets old!
Toddlers are like little scientists constantly experimenting with cause and effect, socially and physically.
This interest is a marker for the development of problem-solving skills, so keep their natural efforts focused to encourage their problem-solving by keeping them entertained with activities that need their focus and attention.
They’ll play longer with one thing, they’ll learn more in that session than playing mindless games on their iPad or your phone for example.
As they play with 3D puzzles like this STEM-certified one, they are working with 3D puzzle pieces and trying to figure out how it makes sense when comparing it to the empty holes in the baseboard.
Once they hear it “snap” into place, they have auditory, physical (by feeling it lock in place), and visual confirmation they’ve solved a problem.
“How do I teach problem-solving skills?”
If you’re thinking more screen time, I’m actually going to suggest the opposite. Here’s a helpful blog on how to do that will less of a fight.
As we allow our children to solve their own problems we have to give them time and have patience. They are learning to persevere through failure and develop efficient thinking skills.
Through that, they become more confident in themselves and naturally more independent.
If someone says you can “teach” your child problem-solving skills, I’d stay away from them. It’s a guided approach.
I know it’s so hard to sit there and not step in right away as you see your toddler struggle with a 3D puzzle or other toys, but they are learning key skills at their own pace.
Now that it makes sense how important problem-solving skills are to have and developing them early on is key to long-term success.
Your Secret Weapon for Development
No matter what the activity is, it’s so important for your child to feel comfortable with what they are playing with and where they are playing.
A stressful environment creates a stressed-out child and they are less likely to have a good learning experience through play.
Even more, they will have difficulty concentrating and absorbing the information with so many distractions.
When your toddler is overstimulated it can short term and long term consequences.
Each child is different and it’s something that as a parent we’ll have to watch out for these signs.
Children can feel extremely tired, overwhelmed after playing with friends or having too many options around them.
They can become short-tempered when there is too much noise around them.
- Spacing out – Staring off into space with you or a caregiver is giving them attention.
- Switching off – turning away when there is an attempt to engage them.
- Shutting down – They may move away from the stimulation or become very drowsy.
- Temper tantrums and meltdowns – This would happen over minor frustrations
- Refusing to cooperate
- Refusing to play with toys they like
Setting them up for success the easy way. Here’s how to create an environment that promotes learning and development.
They have a hard time describing their feelings, so it’s important to use the moments to teach them what they are feeling and that you will listen and work through it with them.
They’ll know they have the support and can trust you.
Create an area of your home for “play” aka activity time.
It can be an outlined area of your living room, dining room, or even in their bedroom. Kind of how you’d create a home office in the same space. Where a small table is set and a comfortable chair.
This area is organized and an electronic-free zone. It’s made for arts & crafts, 3D puzzles for your toddler, and free play with STEM toys like building blocks and shape sorters.
Independent Play with minimal surrounding distractions
These distractions would be a sibling playing with iPad games that your toddler likes right next to them where they can see, older children blasting music in the same room, or other children fighting often.
Be excited with them
Lead by example and show that you enjoy your work, are relaxed too.
Provide support, praise, and feedback
Our kids love showing us they did something right, jump for joy with them. When they get it wrong, validate their feelings and show them how to respond in a healthy way (a tantrum isn’t okay, but being upset and trying again is).
Best Problem-Solving Activities for Toddlers
3D puzzles are a must-have for your developing toddler. Not only because it helps them develop physical skills, basic concepts, and skills, patience, concentration, but much more.
When it comes to problem-solving, 3D puzzles are helping your child practice critical thinking, judgment, visual-perceptual skills and memory.
There is only one way to complete a 3D puzzle and it can not be cheated.
Children will find that their time improves with each puzzle as they start to think more logically and develop tactics.
One of the biggest differences and things that parents rave about this 3D puzzle is that it locks in place and has a release button, on top of it being a STEM toy.
This is a puzzle on steroids for learning because it’s helping practice fine motor skills, large motor skills, and the fundamental skills for emotional health.
Some of these skills are cognitive skills as it includes numbers, animals, and different shapes. Plus they practice visual spacial awareness and it helps them develop a deeper understanding of those themes.
This process involves problem-solving, reasoning skills and developing solutions that they can later be transferred into their personal/adult life.
Another activity for your toddler is playing hide and seek with objects. This is very fun for them and at the same time, they’re wondering where something could be. This activity forces them to think more deeply. It gets them curious about where it could have gone and if they can find it.
For example, did you sit at the table and hide it close by or did you walk away? If you walked away and it didn’t take long so it must be close.
A fun activity you can do with the 3D puzzle or hide and seek game is to sort the objects by size, shape, and color.
At the same time, you’re teaching them opposites and practicing the use of descriptive words like big versus small.
Another fun and easy for you idea is to take the building blocks and make simple structural patterns. While doing this, ask them to copy you.
This is really helpful in developing problem-solving skills.
Lastly, a classic matching puzzle with a twist (ensure it’s a STEM approved toy). These are really great for quiet time games. This will allow them to sit for a couple of minutes and have an engaging “playtime” session with you. After a while, they can start playing on their own as they get older.
Matching puzzles help them practice memorization, have them pay attention to detail, and it keeps them curious so they play longer.
However, make sure this game isn’t too hard for them or they will give up and avoid it in the future. It’s best to start off easy with two different images and then work your way up to 5 images to match.
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