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Problem solving activities for toddlers

Updated on November 25, 2015

The human brain develops and grows amazingly fast, starting from day one in the womb. By age six, your child's brain will be almost adult-sized. This makes the toddler years critical in building up the right pathways, in their brains. By regularly exposing them to problem solving activities, for toddlers, you can significantly help their development. This puts them on track for a more fulfilling young life.

With all of these problem solving activities, remember to reward them when they succeed, even if it’s just by telling your toddler he or she did well.

Hide and seek
Because toddlers don’t have very large stomachs, parents usually give them one or two snacks between meals. Instead of just giving the snack to your child, why not make it into a game. Hide the snack from them so they have to look for it. For young toddlers just show them the snack then place it somewhere they can’t see it. This teaches them that, although they can’t see something, it still has to be somewhere. For older toddlers, you can make it harder. Expand the area in which you ‘hide’ their snack or put it inside a kitchen container, which they have to open.

Association games
An important part of a toddler’s intellect us to see the relationships between objects. Select a group of toys for your toddler then ask them to sort it into groups.
Some sorting examples:

  • Sorting the toys from large to small.
  • Sorting blocks or cards by color.
  • The pasta sort game: Mix 3 types of dry pasta into a bowl. Give your toddler 3 empty bowls and ask them to sort the pasta by type
  • Sorting by functionality. For instance, grouping all the car toys together.

For older toddlers you can present them with a picture problem. For instance draw a cat stuck up a tree on a piece of paper. Then give it to them. They should associate the problem with a fireman with a ladder, which they can then draw on the paper. This is one of my favorite problem solving activities for toddlers.

Memory games
Get a deck of cards with images on it, or just pick a few of your toddler’s toys. Show a few of the cards to your toddler. Have him tell you what is on the card as you show it to him, like plane, train or dog and so on. Wait for a while. Then ask him to draw what he saw. You can wait for longer periods for older toddlers who are older. After that have them cut out the drawings with scissors.

This is a memory game for older toddlers. Take some playing cards and place them face down. Each player can turn over 2 cards at a time and you take turns to do so. The one who turns over 2 of the same cards, for instance 2 queens, first wins. Play with fewer cards with younger toddlers.

This one is a building game. You will need some building blocks to do this activity. What you do is to draw a building on a piece of paper then give it to your toddler. Their goal is to build it with their blocks, to the best of their abilities.

I hope both you and your toddler enjoy these problem solving activities for toddlers. You might also enjoy reading travel toys for toddlers.


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    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      what an interesting hub! this will be very useful for new moms!