Teaching Kids Problem Solving

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Teaching Kids Problem Solving | Maybe your kids think too much or maybe not enough. In this episode, Teaching Kids Problem Solving, Felice once again challenges kids to make wise decisions and weigh the pros and cons of rash decisions they can possibly make! Just For Kids Series!  #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #teachingkids #problemsolvingTeaching Kids Problem Solving ~ Episode 426

Maybe your kids think too much or maybe not enough. In this episode, Teaching Kids Problem Solving, Felice once again challenges kids to make wise decisions and weigh the pros and cons of rash decisions they can possibly make! Just For Kids Series! 

Please visit my website at MediaAngels.com and be sure to sign up for our monthly planners. We have new character planners each month with fun activities that you can do with your children and I think parents really appreciate the page with scenarios. I ask the children questions that they can act out or write their answers. They are open-ended. At the end of the month, the children can even earn a character award that is provided. After the month is over you can only get the planners by purchase on the Media Angels website.

Here we go! Another episode in the JUST for Kids Series of podcasts.

Has your mom or dad or another adult ever asked you, “What were you thinking?” If they have that is probably not a very good thing!  When we think we can use our minds to figure out a right or wrong answer or to solve a problem. When we solve a problem what happens? We come up with a solution. We do this in school every day. We solve math problems we solve answers at the end of a chapter in a book, we solve for a mystery if we are reading a novel. Solving the problem is only half of the answer. What are you using to solve the problem?

Sometimes we use “What if” questions to solve a problem. This is part of thinking ahead or thinking for the future. It can also be used for looking at something in the past, for example, a past mistake. Is there something that you would like to change? What if you had done something differently?

Another way we think is by comparing and contrasting. How do we do this? Well, we look at the information and come up with all of the things that are the same and different. Sometimes we do this by looking at different aspects or angles. We see things from a different perspective depending on what the question is, and there are many questions that are asked when you are learning. This series of podcasts in the Just for Kids Series is a perfect example.  Can you think of all the different ways we solve problems? It may be as easy as figuring out what piece of a puzzle fits to make a picture, or it can be something really complicated like how to fix an engine or computer. Many inventions start with someone trying to solve a problem and asking a what-if question.

There is an acronym for solutions that is called SODAS – this is an easy way to talk about problem-solving because each letter stands for something different.

  1. S is for the situation
  2. O is for options
  3. D is for disadvantages
  4. A is for advantages
  5. S is for solutions

We are going to use this method to go through a problem-solving activity using a dog covered in paint. Yes, it gets even better. This happened on your watch and it is your fault. Right? How did this happen? If you are like most kids you probably act without thinking — but don’t worry! After this podcast, you will be an expert at figuring things out. So here is what I want you to do — I want you to download this PDF that is right on the show notes on the website so you can follow along with me.

Download Graphic Here: Making Choices and Problem Solving

If you are not near a computer or printer, imagine this…your mom and dad have been painting the rooms in the house and everything looks great. They stacked up the paint neatly in the corner of the garage, waiting for a chance to put it up high on the shelf. You have a lab and this dog is a handful. He is only about a year old and you are still working on training him. Let’s give our dog a name, let’s call him “Dakota.” Your parents went out to buy more paint and asked you to keep an eye on the dog. Your sister is next door at a friend’s house and the twins went with your mom and dad to the store. You turn your back for one minute to get a book to read, and when you look back the dog is gone. All of a sudden you hear a horrible noise. It sounds like a band decided to play a song, mostly off-key in the garage. In fact, it sounds like symbols. You know there is not a drum set in the garage and least of all symbols. ALl of this goes through your head in a split second as you wonder where the dog is and head to the garage to find out. You gasp! What do you see?

There is your beautiful white lab covered in paint, and what’s more, there is paint and dog tracks all over the floor. Yep, Dakota somehow managed to knock the cans over and not only did they spill all over but they spilled on him as well. So let’s stop here. You have this picture in your mind or you are looking at this picture on the screen of your computer or printed out.

Okay let’s stop here. We are going to look at this situation with our problem-solving SODAS toolbox. The first is the situation.


How do you feel? Are you upset? What should you do? Stop this audio here and think about this. If you want to go through each of the SODAS items before you come back you can.
So, what do you think, what did you do?

S is for Situation: What is your first reaction when you see something like this? Maybe it is to tell the dog to sit and stay – afterall, you’ve been working on this command and it usually works. Maybe you feel like this is not your problem but you still need to look at the situation and make a plan, and quick. A first reaction when you are upset is to yell at the dog. But what might happen if you do this? You might scare the dog and he will run and get more paint everywhere! So, while you are experiencing upset feelings, try to look at this issue, problem or situation, calmly! Yes, in this case, it would be difficult. I agree.

O is for Options: What are the options? These are the choices that you have– what are some of the things you can do to fix the problem or work out an answer? Maybe the problem is too big and you can’t handle it all at once. One thing you can do is break up the problem in chunks. For example, what would you do first, second, third? Even if the choice is easy—in this case, a clean dog and cleaned-up paint, you still need to get to the solution through solving the problem. If you have brothers or sisters you may want to do this activity with them and see what they would do. What makes the most sense.

Some of your options are:

  1. 1Put a leash on the dog, pull him through the paint, and get him sprayed off outside
  2.  Pick up the paint and put the lids on so more paint does not spill out.
  3. Scream at the dog
  4. Call your parents and ask them what to do. Get help quick from your sister next door or the neighbor.
  5. Take a hose into the garage and just start spraying it is a mess anyway.

Once you look at your options the next question to ask is what do I do first. Out of this list put them in order one through five or cross off things that are a no.

D is for Disadvantages  – A disadvantage is also called a con, something that is not a good idea or option. An advantage is also called a pro—or something that is a good idea or option. We call these pros and cons. Okay, so looking at your options what are the disadvantages and advantages or pros and cons? You can go through each one of your options. Looking at the solutions one through five we can see that screaming at the dog is a bad idea so I would put that in the disadvantage column – why is that a bad idea? Because the dog could knock off more paint and run away, besides screaming is never a good idea unless you are in trouble. 4. Calling your parents and getting help from your sister or neighbor is an advantage but not sure you have time so that is not a good solution. And, taking a hose and spraying the dog and the paint is a definite disadvantage because it will make more of a mess in your garage. If one of your options is to pull the dog by the collar through the paint what might happen? If you said he could track paint all over the place, or get paint on you? This would definitely be a disadvantage!

A is for Advantages: This is a pro and we determined that putting a leash on the dog so we can contain the mess is a pro, and spray the dog off outside. Also, putting the lids on the paint cans is good as well so that more paint does not spill.  Getting help is an advantage but you do not have time. Getting the leash on the dog is the best answer without stepping in teh paint yourself as well as pulling the dog out by the collar if you can not get to the leash quickly enough.

S is for Solutions: What is your final solution what would you do?  A solution is figuring out a problem, it is looking for an answer and solving the problem – so a solution is an answer to a problem after you problem-solve and then taking action to accomplish the answer or solution. In this case, you might leash the dog, take him outside and hose him off, wash the dog, and then dry him. Also, put him somewhere out of the way. Then, grab some trash bags and paper towels and place the lids on the paint and clean up the mess. During this time, you may have called for help. In fact, this might be number one on your list! In real life, you can’t look at a situation like the picture of this poor dog full of paint with paint cans all around and go through all of these steps – but you understand the process and that is what is important.

If you practice this with different scenarios – you can make some up or look for some pictures online to help you come up with ideas, you will be able to calmly think through solutions for the times that things do not work out as you planned. All you wanted to do is sit and read and your dog caused you a ton of work! Practicing helps us to be ready and prepared.

Just like you practice your math and your reading and your spelling you can practice thinking. Thinking is an important skill and why is that? Because if you think through solutions you will have a good idea of what you want to do, what you think is right and wrong. Many times people who do not think can be lead astray. What does this mean? They can be lied to or taken advantage of by others. If you can think for yourself and come up with your own ideas and answers when other people tell you things that may not be true, you can think through the answer for yourself. Is this right or wrong? Is this true or false? That is the big question!







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