Leadership - day 3 problem solving

These activities can be done alone, but work best with one or more friends on a video chat like Skype, Zoom, Facetime, etc.

​Grades K-3

Mindfulness Activity:

Trivia question: What color is a Polar Bear's skin?

A) Pink
B) White
C) Black

Mindfulness Activity:

  • Find your pulse on your neck or your wrist.
  • Count how many times your heart beats for 15 seconds. (Get help from a parent or use a timer)
  • How many times did your heart beat? If you multiply that number by 4, that's how many times your heart beats in a minute. That’s your heart rate.

Partner Cup Stacking

Supplies:

  • Plastic cups
  • Elastic bands
  • 4 Pipe cleaners
  • 2 or more people

Being a good leader means to also be a good team player.

  • Help your child attach 4 pipe cleaners to a stretchy elastic band. Twist the pipe cleaners together to create 4 handles.
  • The players try to stack the cups without using their hands. They can use the pipe cleaner handles to stretch the elastic band to grab and stack the cups.
  • See if they can problem solve on their own and give direction whenever necessary.
  • To make it more difficult, blindfold one of the players so that the other player has to talk them through the steps.

Shape Scavenger Hunt and Match

Supplies:

  • A variety of toys and objects (e.g. train track, bath toy, toy car, etc.)
  • Paper
  • Marker

Trace the objects on a piece of paper.

Have your child find the object in the house that matches the shape’s outline.

Encourage your child to use their problem-solving skills to find the right object. Help them break down the problem if they’re stuck on a specific shape by using statements like, "hmm…that doesn't look right? What else could it be?"

Marble Run Maze

Supplies:

  • Various recycling objects (e.g. paper tubes and household objects)
  • A marble (a golf ball or tennis ball can also be used instead).

Have your child construct a marble run that will get the marble from one side of the room to the other without help. It helps if the point A location is at an elevated area to give the marble momentum.

Review Questions:

Ask your child:

  • What was surprisingly difficult and/or surprising easy about todays activities? (Feel)
  • How do you think having strong decision-making skills and leadership are related? (Think)
  • What can you do if you’re stuck on making a decision or having difficulty solving a problem? (Act)

Mindfulness Trivia Answer

Answer: Black

Grades 4-6

Mindfulness Activity:

Trivia Question: True or false: Having more choices makes our decision making easier.

Mindfulness Activity:

  • Sit down so you’re comfortable.
  • Put one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest. Breathe in.
  • Now switch hands. Breathe in again.
  • Which way felt better?

Positive and Negative Thoughts.

Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Pen/Pencil

The way we think about situations will influence the way we make decisions.

Read out the following examples and have your child write the first thought that comes to their mind. Is it negative? Or positive?

Ask your child to write down what would be the positive of each thought. This will help them identify their own positive and negative thoughts. Examples:

  • You changed schools, and today is your first day at your new school.
  • Your first day learning a new activity/sport (e.g. soccer, dance, basketball, etc.).
  • Your birthday party.
  • A presentation in front of all your classmates.
  • Asking a kid you don’t know to play with you.
  • Talking to a kid you don’t know for the first time.

Building Bridge

Supplies:

  • Any small/medium materials you can find at home (e.g. popsicle sticks, toilet paper rolls, clay, toothpicks, paper/plastic cups)
  • Glue or tape

Building and creating structures makes you problem solve and make decisions on the spot.

Have your child build a bridge or a tower using the materials you give them. The idea is to use whatever materials are available at home to make them use their problem solving and creative skills.

Thinking Hat

Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Crayons, markers or pencil crayons
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue

Watch the Thinking Hat video

Exploring different problems and solutions uses different perspectives and ways of thinking.

Have your child make a cube out of paper and label each of its sides with coloured hat. Each colour represents a different way of thinking and seeing a situation.

  • Red hat - Look at the situation emotionally. How do you feel about this?
  • White hat - Look at the situation with objectivity. What are the facts?
  • Yellow hat - Come up with a possible solution. Why do you think this will work?
  • Black hat - Come up with a possible solution. Why do you think this solution will NOT work?
  • Green hat - Are there any other alternatives? Try to think be creative and think outside the box to come up with a new solution.
  • Blue hat - Think broadly. Why does this problem matter? What is the solution going to teach you?

Come up with scenarios that describe a conflict or use the ones we suggest below. Read out the scenario and have your child toss the cube. Have them use the type of thinking that's showing to think through the scenario.

Scenarios:

  • Maria and Stephanie are close friends. But when Stephanie starts spending more time with other friends than Maria, Maria stops talking to her.
  • Paul's dad loves football and he has always pressured Paul to play. Paul would much rather play soccer, but he is afraid to bring it up.
  • Caroline wants to be a vegetarian, but her mom won’t take her seriously. When her mom serves chicken again, she screams at her.
  • Jason got a C on his final exam. He thinks he deserved a higher grade, but he is not sure there is anything he can do about it.
  • Carl and Matt are best friends but sometimes Matt makes snide comments about Carl's height. Carl decides he is sick of taking it.

Review Questions:

Ask your child:

  • How do you feel when you face a problem or conflict? (Feel)
  • What are some of the good things that can come out of a conflict or problem? (Think)
  • What are some of the strategies you will use in the future when facing a conflict? (Act)

Mindfulness Trivia Answer

Answer: False. While having many options might be exciting, this can also be overwhelming, making it hard for your brain to make a decision.

Grades 7+

Mindfulness Activity:

Trivia Question: What is more sensitive, your fingers or your lips?

Mindfulness Activity:

  • Think about what your energy level is right now, on a scale of 1 to 10.
  • In the next 60 seconds, see how much higher you can grow your energy by moving your body.
  • Now what is your energy level on a scale of 1 to 10?

Where do words go?

Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Pen

Do this activity alone or with a friend over video chat. For each word pair below, find a third word that is connected or related to both words.

For example, the first pair is PIANO and LOCK. The answer is KEY. The word key is connected with both the word piano and the word lock because there are KEYS on a piano and you use a KEY to lock doors. Key is what is called a homograph: a word that has more than one meaning but is always spelled the same.

Easy right? Use your problem-solving skills to solve this brain teaser. See answers below.

  1. LOCK - PIANO
  2. SHIP - CARD
  3. TREE - CAR
  4. SCHOOL - EYE
  5. PILLOW - COURT
  6. RIVER - MONEY
  7. BED - PAPER
  8. ARMY - WATER
  9. TENNIS - NOISE
  10. EGYPTIAN - MOTHER
  11. SMOKER - PLUMBER

Opposites

Supplies:

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Coloured paper
  • Markers
  • Glue

Thinking outside of the box challenges traditional thoughts and encourages creativity to help with problem solving skills.

  • Write down 10 every day adjective words (e.g. heavy, quick, etc.).
  • For each word, list the first opposite meaning word that you can think of. (E.g. light, slow)
  • Add another challenge by coming up with another set of opposite words for your new list. (E.g. gigantic, fast)
  • Next, choose one word from each list and create a multimedia poster to advertise your creative thinking. Post it on a wall so it reminds you to think outside the box when you are solving problems.

Step by Step

Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Pencil

Problem solving is part of our personal, academic and professional lives. Practicing to balance emotions with rational thinking can help you make good choices.

Draw 4 equal size boxes on your piece of paper.

In each box, write the following statements:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Make possible solutions
  3. Evaluate
  4. Choose a solution and put it into action.

Think of a problem that exists in your life at the moment. For example, not being able to spend time with friend’s due to social distancing. Come up with a 2-3 solutions and evaluate how each of those decisions may turn out. Select the best solution you have created and implement that decision.

Review Questions:

  • Did you feel comfortable trying these activities? If so, how come? (Feel)
  • How does problem solving help with everyday decisions? (Think)
  • Would you want to try anything different when selecting your solutions to your problems? (Act)

Activity 1 Answers:

  1. LOCK - PIANO > KEY
  2. SHIP - CARD > Deck
  3. TREE - CAR > Trunk
  4. SCHOOL - EYE > Pupil (Exam and Private are also possible)
  5. PILLOW - COURT > Case
  6. RIVER - MONEY > Bank (Flow is also possible)
  7. BED - PAPER > Sheet
  8. ARMY - WATER > Tank
  9. TENNIS - NOISE > Racket
  10. EGYPTIAN - MOTHER > Mummy
  11. SMOKER - PLUMBER > Pipe

Mindfulness Trivia Answer

Answer: Your lips are 100 times more sensitive than your fingers.

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