Children often love a challenge and here is a small collection of problem solving activities that you might like to try with your children. Perfectly adapted to focus on all areas of learning and flexible enough to cover all levels of ability.
Children can be so incredibly curious and will often test and experimenting from a very early age. Here is a simple colour sorting activity that you can easily set up yourself at home using a few envelopes.
I love this approach to learning because -
- it can be used to teach across all areas of a curriculum (maths problems, literacy etc)
- adapted to suit all levels of understanding
- helps consolidate skills
- so simple to set up
- challenging but also very supportive at the same time
- fun and engaging
Colour sorting activity for children
Allow me to demonstrate how I have used everyday envelopes to teach my own child (known as 'Possum') about colours. Other examples will follow this demonstration.
What you need -
- Envelopes (new or recycled)
- Coloured pens
- Paper (coloured or plain depending on the teaching)
"Uh oh! I've dropped all the colours, can you help put them in the correct envelope?"
I wanted to set this up as a problem solving scenario that Possum needed to solve. Often this motivates children and inspires them to compete a given task from start to finish as well as giving them a sense of achievement when it's over.
Possum was able to correctly place each colour in it's correct envelope.
I did notice, however, that she still needs some support in naming colours as every colour is 'wellow' (yellow). This problem solving activity created a great opportunity for me to talk with her and build on her understanding of colour names and how they were different.
There were times that I would slip in a colour that didn't belong and ask her to find the slip of paper that was not in it's correctly place, or with it's 'friends'. I feel doing this allows children to achieve a deeper level of thinking because they are having to seek a error and go about fixing it.
As you can imagine, Possum loved correcting daddy's mistakes.
"No Daddy, there!"
I love that this activity is simple to pack up and store ready to play another day.
So how else can we use this approach to learning other areas?
LITERACYOf course this approach to learning can be simply applied to build on literacy skills. The above example is one way that has children sorting rhyming words. You could also consider having children sort words/sounds -
- same starting (or ending) sounds or letters
- include the same phonic blends
- rhyming words (see above)
- vowels, nouns and verbs etc.
How about using this approach to build on mathematical skills? The above example is one way. The mathematical answer is written on the envelope and the children sorting the sums by placing them in the correct envelope. Other mathematical ideas you could consider -
- matching counters in the envelop to the number written
- correctly placing money ($5.20, for example) as written on the envelope
- sorting number names, symbols and illustrations
Other 'Laughing Kids Learn' ideas you might like to try -
Of course you might also be interested to try a few of my other ideas to teaching literacy and math
Do you think you'd use this simple tool for teaching your children?
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