Teaching Thinking to Young Children

Children are truly amazing and sometimes we underestimate their problem-solving skills and brain power.  With young children it may take a little more time, but give them the opportunity to think of potential solutions and try them out, before sharing the answer that you know will work.  This shows them that you respect their ideas and encourages them to think of new and different ways to address problems as they arise!  

At three years old my grandson and I were playing with rocket balloons and one was let go in the living room.  As it deflated, it landed on the ceiling fan, in a room with a very high ceiling and we realized that we had a problem!  How were we going to get it down?!

I asked him how he thought we might be able to get it down from the ceiling fan.  His first ideas were to use silverware- a fork and then a spoon, which I retrieved from the kitchen and held up toward the ceiling fan so he could see that they wouldn’t reach.  He decided that wouldn’t work.   Eventually we determined that a wrapping paper roll would be the best bet, since we had used it for other things and found that it would reach high enough! That solved the problem! 

Taking the time to work through these seemingly simple issues teaches children the thought processes necessary to figure things out, exposes them to new strategies and options, and allows them to take the risks and learn that having ideas that don’t work can lead you to the ideas that do!

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