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Problem Solving Games, Activities & Exercises for Adults

Here is our list of the best problem solving games, activities and exercises for adults.

Problem solving games are activities that require players to use critical thinking skills to solve puzzles. Example activities include escape rooms, Sudoku, and murder mysteries. The purpose of these exercises is to sharpen reasoning and decision-making skills in group settings and to do team building with employees.

These activities are a subset of remote team games , found in problem solving books , and are similar to team puzzles , team building brain teasers and team riddles .


This article contains:

  • team building problem solving activities for employees
  • free problem solving games for adults
  • virtual problem solving activities for students
  • group problem solving activities
  • problem solving team builders

Here we go!

List of problem solving games & activities

From word and number puzzles to role-playing games, here is a list of inexpensive and free problem solving team builders that help groups practice the art of critical thinking and compromise.

1. Espionage! (Team Favorite)

espionage banner

For an exciting game of social deduction, check out Espionage! This thrilling experience will put your team’s wits and instincts to the test.

Espionage! offers the following:

  • a 90-minute session led by an experienced host
  • undercover teams of agents and spies
  • challenging puzzles, tasks, and maneuvers
  • team conversations to help uncover secret identities

The best part is we will bring all the necessary game materials to your preferred location. If you are interested in boosting communication and critical-thinking skills within your team, then consider Espionage!

Learn more about Espionage!

2. Art Heist: The Vanishing of Van Gogh (Hosted)

problem solving activities for college students

You can turn your team into skilled detectives with Art Heist: The Vanishing of Van Gogh! In this captivating mystery, participants will locate the stolen artwork, The Bedroom .

Key features of this experience include:

  • a 90-minute adventure led by a world-class host
  • detailed puzzles, clues, and mysteries to unravel
  • trails of evidence and hidden secrets
  • group discussions to find the art

Additionally, you can include a cocktail kit to spice up your event. Through Art Heist, you will enhance your team’s ingenuity and problem-solving skills!

Learn more about Art Heist: The Vanishing of Van Gogh .

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3. War of the Wizards (Popular)

war of the wizards banner

With War of the Wizards, teams roleplay as minions of powerful wizards to vanquish forces of evil. Participants will play thrilling games and go on a quest to restore harmony to the realm!

War of the Wizards offers the following:

  • a 90-minute journey guided by a distinguished host
  • immersive storytelling that transports players into a magical realm
  • engaging activities like world-building, role-playing games, and storytelling
  • opportunities for forming alliances, facing challenges, and going on quests

Through the power of imagination and teamwork, your team can overcome tasks and participate in an epic fantasy battle. To improve communication and bonds, include War of the Wizards in your agenda!

Learn more about War of the Wizards .

Sudoku is one of the most popular free problem solving games for adults. The objective of this game is to fill each box of a 9×9 grid so that every row, column, and letter contains each number from one to nine. The puzzle makes a great team challenge. To play Sudoku on Zoom, screen share the game board. Then, turn on the annotation features. Using the add text functions, participants can fill in the numbers on the grid.

We made a starter puzzle you can use in your next meeting or virtual team bonding session:

Sudoku game-board

Here are more online Sudoku puzzles .

5. Crossword puzzles

Crossword puzzles are word games that ask players to fill in words based on clues. Words interconnect, and players must think critically about the surrounding words to select the right phrase for the space.

You can use an online crossword puzzle maker to create a custom puzzle. Here are a few themes you may want to consider:

  • teammates’ tastes and interests
  • company knowledge and history
  • industry terms and trends

Or, create a miscellaneous puzzle just for fun.

We made a sample puzzle you can use for your game:

free crossword template

To complete puzzles during online meetings, you can use the share screen function and add text through annotations.

Or, subscribers can play the New York Times’ daily crossword puzzle virtually . Dictionary.com also offers a free daily online crossword puzzle .

Check out more vocabulary games .

6. Online Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are timed games that get groups working together to solve puzzles. Traditionally, players enter a locked room and must complete all puzzles in an hour or two to unlock the door. However, groups can also play escape rooms online.

Digital escape rooms typically come in one of two forms: in a Zoom room and led by a host, or in a choose-your-own adventure format via Google Forms or websites. To play escape rooms virtually, enter a video meeting and follow the prompts, or screen share the Google Form and work out the puzzles together.

Check out our full list of online escape rooms .

7. Murder Mysteries

Murder Mysteries are story-based games that ask players to take on the roles of suspects or detectives while trying to identify a killer. These games often involve reading lines from a script, searching for clues, and occasionally solving puzzles to get hints.

These games make participants pay attention to conversations, analyze other characters’ behavior, and search for hidden meaning in the script. Players must use their powers of observation and logic to unravel the mystery.

Check out our list of Zoom murder mystery games .

8. Treasure Hunts

Treasure hunts are scavenger hunts with intention. While virtual scavenger hunts often ask players to collect random items, treasure hunts require participants to locate clues that lead to other prompts and hints. The game typically ends with players finding a treasure or solving a mystery, sometimes both.

The treasure hunt can have a specific theme such as secret agent missions or a hunt for pirate treasure, or you can run a more general hunt. Teammates can either compete simultaneously via Zoom call, or can play the hunt on an app individually and compete to beat each other’s scores.

Check out our list of treasure hunt apps .

9. Poem or story challenge

Most team building problem solving activities for employees revolve around science, math, and logic. Poem/story challenges rely on writing skills and are sure to appeal to the language lovers on your team.

Each player receives a limited word bank to use to create a story or poem. Then, players have a few minutes to craft their pieces. Afterward, everyone reads out or screen shares their creations.

Here are a few word challenge activities you can do remotely:

  • Found poems or stories : Participants make poems or stories out of words they find by visiting websites, searching emails, glancing out the window, or taking a walk or drive around the neighborhood.
  • Random word generators : Teammates use a random word generator to populate a word bank, and must use each word in the poem or story.
  • Poetry magnets : Group members make poems using poetry magnets. You can send poetry magnet sets to employees and assemble the verses on a cookie pan during a Zoom call. Or, teammates can play with poetry magnets online .
  • Page poems: Participants receive one page of a book or magazine, and must make a poem or story by blocking out other words so only the chosen text remains visible. This activity is part storytelling, part art, since story crafters can illustrate the pages as part of the design.
  • Ransom note stories or poems : Players cut out letters from magazines and must form new words to make poems and stories. Or, players can receive a mix of random letters, form words, and run the text through a ransom note generator .

These activities are suitable for teams and individual players.

10. Moral challenge

Some problems are ethical rather than factual. Moral judgment plays just as important a role in the decision-making process as technical prowess. Players can flex their moral problem-solving skills by tackling ethical dilemmas or social puzzles.

Here are some social problem solving games online:

  • Moral machine
  • Scruples – the game of moral dilemmas
  • Morality play

To play these games, either download the apps, or pull up the website and then screen share the prompts. These games are best played when discussed as a group, because the more belief systems and opinions, the harder an issue is to resolve. These exercises provide practice for real-life conflict resolution.

You can find similar challenges on our list of online personality tests .

11. Frostbite

Frostbite is a group game that hones team leaders’ communication skills while sharpening teammates’ listening and cooperation skills. The premise behind the game is that a group of explorers gets caught in a snowstorm and must build a shelter. Frostbite has paralyzed the leaders’ hands and snow-blinded the rest of the team. The leader must give the team instructions to build a tent that can resist arctic winds.

To play Frostbite, each teammate wears a blindfold. Then, the leader gives directions. Once the structures are complete, players turn on a fan to test whether tents can withstand the wind.

Frostbite is usually an in-person game, however you can also play virtually. In the remote version of the game, teammates construct tents out of cards and tape, while the leader surveys the scene on screen.

This exercise demonstrates the challenges of leading remotely, as teams need to operate with minimal oversight or supervisor observation. Therefore, instructions need to be clear and direct to be effective.

Check out more team building games .

12. Virtual Hackathons

Hackathons are events where participants have a set amount of time to design and pitch a new product or solution. This type of event originated in the programming world and is often used to create new apps, however you can apply the game to any industry or school subject.

Virtual hackathons are online versions of the event. Teams enter the competition, then work with each other via virtual meeting software or remote work communication platforms to design the solution. At the end of the competition, teams pitch ideas to a panel of judges and a winner is decided.

To run a virtual hackathon, first announce the theme of the event and collect sign-ups. So that no teams work ahead, hint at the general idea of the issue, and only explain the precise problem when the event begins. Then, give teams anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete the project.

Discover more virtual hackathon ideas .

13. Improv games

Improv games are excellent problem solving activities. These exercises force participants to think and respond quickly to keep scenes moving in a logical and entertaining way.

Here are some good problem solving improv games:

Banned words : Performers cannot say certain words. Scene partners will conceive of situations that encourage the actors to use those words, and the actors must find alternatives, such as using synonyms or taking the scene in a new direction.

Scenes from a chat : Audience gives a suggestion for a scene, and players act the scene out. Though it’s a fictional and often ridiculous scenario, actors must react to the situation and solve the problem in order for the scene to end.

Miracle cure : Miracle cure is a quick-moving exercise that follows a simple format. One player declares, “I have a problem.” Another player responds, “I have a….[random object.]” The first player then replies, “great! I can use the [random object] to….” and describes how they will solve the problem.

Check out more problem-solving improv games .

14. Spaghetti Tower

The spaghetti tower is a classic team building game. Participants gather uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows, and must construct the tallest freestanding tower.

During the in-person version, players must construct one tall freestanding tower. However, for the virtual version of the game, players construct individual towers. You can send groups to breakout rooms for the build, then reconvene in the main room for judging. Teams are judged on three main factors: number of towers, height, and uniformity.

This version of the game not only tests the structural integrity of the tower, but also consistency and quality control. This exercise teaches teams to align and collaborate remotely, and produce a consistent product even when far apart.

15. What Would You Do?

What Would You Do? is a simple situational game that challenges participants to react to different circumstances. To play this game, read prompts one by one, and then ask participants to respond with gameplans. You can use the polling or raise hand feature to vote for the best option.

Here are some problem solving scenarios for adults or kids to use in the game:

  • Zombies attack and you have to find a place to hide.
  • You are at the zoo and the animals escape. Which one do you try to corral back into the pen first?
  • After waiting in line for hours, someone cuts in front of you last minute. The person appears to be visually and hearing impaired, and doesn’t notice your protests. An official announces that due to diminishing supply, this individual will be the last in line to be served.
  • You are eating a meal with important clients and/or your partner’s parents, and you want to impress. The individuals make you a dish that does not fit within your dietary restrictions, but you do not speak the same language and cannot explain why you do not want to eat.
  • An imposter has infiltrated the organization, who looks, speaks, and behaves exactly like you. How do you convince your peers that you are the original?

For similar dilemmas, check out this list of Would You Rather? questions.

16. Desert Island Survival

Desert Island Survival is a game that challenges players to prioritize. The premise is that players have been stranded on an island, and must decide what order to perform survival steps.

Here are the possible actions:

  • Set up shelter
  • Explore the island
  • Try to signal for help
  • Make weapons for self-defense
  • Build a raft to escape the island
  • Start a fire
  • Choose a group leader
  • Search for other survivors

All group members must agree on the order of the steps. Players should explain the reasoning for the order of each step while ranking the actions.

Another version of the game involves players receiving a list of 15 to 20 items, and selecting five or so to bring to the island. You can also vary the location of the game, substituting remote islands for destinations like outer space or the distant past.

17. Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure stories enable readers to determine the outcome of the story by making decisions. Each action has a consequence that takes the tale in a different direction. Participants can try to guess how the story may unfold by talking through the different choices. When completing the activity in a group setting, the majority of the team must agree on an action before moving forward in the story.

There are a few ways to facilitate these activities online:

  • Play an online role playing video game
  • Watch an interactive movie like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
  • Read from a Choose Your Own Adventure book on Zoom
  • Click through a Choose Your Own Adventure platform
  • Create your own story using a Google Form

Whichever way you choose to do the exercise, you can use the screen share feature in your virtual meeting software so that listeners can more easily follow along.

18. MacGyver

MacGyver is a show where the hero escapes sticky situations by improvising tools out of unlikely materials. For example, in one episode the hero makes a telescope out of a newspaper, magnifying lens, and a watch crystal.

To play MacGyver, you can either list three to five objects participants can use, or challenge players to use items that are within arms reach.

Simply state a desired end result, such as “a way to open a locked door,” or “a getaway vehicle,” and then ask teams to explain what they will build and how they will build it. To make the activity more collaborative, you can give teams five or ten minutes in breakout rooms to strategize and design a prototype.

19. Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons is a roleplaying game where players pretend to be magical figures and creatures. One player serves as the dungeon master, who guides the game, while the other players pick characters and make decisions to move the story forward. Upon choosing a course of action, players roll a twenty-sided die to determine whether or not the plan succeeds. The game is story-based, the possibilities are nearly limitless, and truly creative problem solving options arise. Also, since gameplay is mostly verbal, Dungeons & Dragons is an easy activity to do over Zoom.

Here are the basic rules for Dungeons & Dragons .

20. Pandemic

Pandemic is a game that pits players against the forces of nature in a race to contain and control disease outbreaks. At the beginning of the game, each player receives a role such as containment specialist or operations expert. Participants must carry out the duties of their roles by choosing appropriate actions. Pandemic is a great game for groups because each team member has a clear part to play, and players must collaborate and work together instead of competing against each other.

To play the game online, you can use a Pandemic game app , or talk through the exercise while one attendee moves and displays pieces on the board.

Note: The subject of this game might hit too close to home for some players, considering recent history. You can find games with similar mechanics that deal with different subject matter, such as Forbidden Island.

Check out more team building board games .

21. Model UN

Model UN is one of the best virtual problem solving activities for students. This exercise casts participants in the role of international diplomats who must negotiate to solve realistic problems. Each player assumes the role of a country ambassador and must form alliances and propose solutions to solve crises.

Here are some sample Model UN scenarios:

  • Human rights violation by powerful country
  • Food shortage
  • Disease epidemic
  • Technology privacy violations
  • Civil war branching into surrounding countries
  • Natural disasters

Depending on the size of the group, participants either take on the part of an entire government of a country, or play a certain role within the government. To carry out the activity on Zoom, players can take turns giving speeches, message other countries privately via the chat, meet in breakout rooms to form alliances or have more intimate discussions, and use the polling feature to vote on propositions.

If politics does not resonate with your group, then you can alter the exercise by applying the same activity structure to a different theme, such as the Justice League, movie characters, business board members, or reality TV stars.

The main purpose of the exercise is to research, talk through problems, and compromise. As long as these elements are present, then the specifics of the setup do not matter.

There are many types of problem solving activities for adults. You can do online problem solving games, which require a different skill set than in-person problem solving. For instance, communication must be much clearer and more abundant when group members are far apart and unable to demonstrate or pick up physical cues.

Though many problem solving games include props and in-person elements, there are many games you can play together online. These exercises work well as educational tools as well as team bonding accelerators. Upon completion, participants are likely to feel a sense of accomplishment and increased confidence. These games are also great practice for real life conflict resolution, creative thinking and team building.

Next check out this list of connection games , and this post with conflict resolution games .

We also have a list of the best decision making books and a list of team building problems for work .

FAQ: Problem solving activities

Here are common answers to questions about group problem solving activities.

What are problem solving games?

Problem solving games are challenges that ask players to think critically and use logic to overcome issues or answer riddles. Examples include sudoku, murder mysteries, and spaghetti towers. These games are also known as “problem solving exercises”, “problem and solution games” and “group problem solving activities.”

What are the best problem solving games for groups?

The best problem solving games for groups include online escape rooms, moral challenges, and improv games.

What are some good problem solving team building activities for students?

Some good problem solving activities for students include crossword puzzles, choose your own adventure stories, and model UN.

How do you play problem solving games online?

The best way to play problem solving games online is to join a video call meeting to talk through the issue. Using the screen sharing and digital whiteboard features helps participants visualize the problem more clearly. Breakout rooms give teams the chance to discuss the issue more intimately.

Author avatar

Author: Angela Robinson

Marketing Coordinator at teambuilding.com. Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

Number Dyslexia

10 Problem Solving Activities for College Students

Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines – Robert H. Schuller. 

Rightly quoted by Schuller, every problem comes with a solution that needs exploration through creative thinking and analysis. Problems appear in different sizes and nature and any one solution does not apply to all of them. Hence, it is essential to acquire and practice the necessary problem-solving skills that help students deal with various challenges at different stages and areas of life.

Problems cannot be avoided however, we can always equip young adults with the necessary skills to tackle them. As college students start their journey of making new friends, building networks, and understanding a fresh world of opportunities, they are likely to come across various difficulties. For example, some college-going students might find it hard to communicate with their fellow mates while others may find it awkward to offer answers to a question asked by teachers.

Know that it is not wrong to have minor difficulties in the college year. However, it is significant to indulge students in problem-solving skills through creative games and exercises. Problem-solving skills include time management, critical thinking, and decision-making. These skills can be fostered through interesting problem-solving activities. Activities that indulge students in communication and coordination also help them become better problem solvers. In this blog post, we will explore different activities that help a growth mindset in college students.

Engaging problem-solving activities for college students

Real-life problem solving does not follow any standard procedures or formulas just like solving a mathematical problem does. It requires one to critically analyze the problem from every possible angle and come up with creative, innovative, and practical possible solutions for the same. Given that, the below-mentioned activities are based on a combination of various essential skills that play an important role in overall development.

1. What’s the Situation?

College students are likely to come across many problems in everyday group discussions and projects. This activity focuses on expanding their thought process and building a growth mindset.

What's the Situation?

  • To conduct this activity, divide students into teams of 3 each
  • Now, write different situations on a chit of paper and put them all in a bowl
  • Call each team and let them read the situation aloud
  • For example, the situation can be about hierarchical problems in a group, lack of coordination with other students, or dealing with a bully
  • Give 5 minutes to the team for brainstorming and invite an open discussion of the solution 
  • Inspire the students to contribute and share their views

Being an analytical thinking activity , it helps students carefully analyze situations and brainstorm potential solutions. Teachers can also offer thoughtful insights into situations. 

2. Clarity of Words

Communication is an important aspect of a problem as it is needed for analyzing the problem and discussing solutions. This activity purely focuses on joint efforts to solve a problem within a stipulated time frame.

Clarity of Words

  • To conduct this activity, get building blocks and divide the students into teams of 4 
  • Now, give the structure of the final product to an only team member
  • The other team members should have all the building blocks
  • One team member guides the other 3 members to start with the construction without having the final image
  • The team member with the image is responsible for communication 
  • Calculate the time taken by each team and share results at the end 

Problem-solving skills enhance when teams come together to only focus on the solution and get it done. Such an activity inspires teams to think creatively and also improve their active listening skills. 

3. Where’s the Key?

Treasure hunts are always fun; however, this activity comes with a twist. The activity incorporates communication, coordination, and brainstorming between team members.

.  Where's the Key?

  • To conduct this activity, divide the students into teams of 3 members each
  • Now, hide a key somewhere in the college 
  • Give teams different hints at different levels to find the key
  • For example, the first hint can be in the library and the second one can be in the auditorium 
  • As students find the hint, offer them the next one and that’s how the leading team shall find the key

Solving realistic problems and getting solutions from different clues enhances creative thinking in students. They are more likely to develop a problem-solving mindset due to the challenging environment.

4. Survival of the Fittest!

When students face a real situation, they are more likely to broaden their horizons and think practically. This activity focuses on understanding life situations and being active throughout the process.

Survival of the Fittest!

  • To conduct this activity, set a situation for students 
  • For example, the situation can be how students are stranded on an island
  • Now, write the names of different elements that are needed for survival on an island 
  • Out of the list, students can only select 5 elements to survive
  • Once they have selected, present different scenarios where they need to think about the usage of elements to solve the problem 
  • Invite an open discussion about solutions and cross-question them to make it interesting 

This activity can either be conducted individually or in teams. It offers practical learning where students learn the application of solutions rather than just finding them. 

5. How many Solutions?

At times, there might be no problem but many solutions that one can think of. This tricky activity tests the critical thinking of students with reference to everyday life.

How many Solutions?

  • To conduct this activity, have many different products in a box
  • Now, ask students to pick one and think of different uses 
  • For example, if it is toothpaste, it can be used to clean teeth, clean mirrors, and even clean glass surfaces
  • Have many such products and let students think of as many solutions a product can offer 

With creative thinking, students get an opportunity to understand and maximize the usage of existing products. It helps develop realistic solutions for everyday life with common products. 

6. Puzzled Us!

Puzzles are commonly used in various activities to motivate communication, thinking, and problem-solving in students. The activity is focused to help students solve something really common in an uncommon manner.

Puzzled Us!

  • To conduct this activity, get two huge puzzles and divide the class into two teams
  • Let the class turn into an activity area 
  • Now, jumble some pieces of the puzzle and let students find the missing pieces from the other team
  • Here, both teams shall start building the final puzzle but simultaneously keep finding the missing pieces too
  • Reward the team that finishes the puzzle first

As you mismatch some pieces of the puzzle, you are indirectly asking students to focus on the big picture. Along with problem-solving skills, leadership skills are also enhanced in this activity.

7. Quick Fix!

Finding solutions to a problem is a time-consuming process, however, some situations demand promptness. This activity focuses on empowering college students to think creatively in a quick manner. 

 Quick Fix!

  • To conduct this activity, have many balloons in the class
  • Each balloon should have a problem stated in a chit 
  • Now, divide the students into teams and make chits of all roll numbers of students
  • Pick one chit and that roll number needs to burst the balloon 
  • As the student bursts, he/she needs to read the problem aloud and offer a quick solution to it within a minute 
  • Reward the student who successfully offers creative solutions at the end

When students are set in a challenging mood, they are more likely to arrive at solutions at a faster pace. It enables individualistic thought processes without worrying about right and wrong.

8. Hey, Challenge Me!

Everyday problems are also a unique way to foster this skill in students. This activity mainly focuses on analyzing everyday problems and finding solutions in a creative way.

  • To conduct this activity, divide students into teams of 4 members each
  • Now, let 2 teams sit opposite each other for the round
  • Team A needs to vocalize their everyday problems and Team B needs to find creative solutions that are workable in nature
  • For example, a member from Team A might say how he/she faces problems when communicating with senior teachers 
  • To this, Team B now has to come up with viable solutions and solve the problem. For example, Team B might suggest Team A’s member take his/her friend along when communicating with senior teachers 
  • The teacher needs to be the decider if the solutions offered are valid and workable 

As students get an opportunity to vocalize their issues, other students are likely to get motivated and raise their voices too. In such a way, students can find common ground and deal with bigger problems in unity. 

Problems come in different natures and situations. It is equally important to teach students how to deal with different problems in different ways. This activity purely focuses on taking the right course of action to solve the matter at hand.

3 Cards

  • To conduct this activity, make 3 cards – Act, Confront, and Apologize
  • Now, place the 3 cards on the table and be ready with as many situations as possible
  • Call one student and speak the situation aloud
  • After listening, students need to decide the course of action to solve the problem at hand
  • My friend did not choose me for the group project. It is bothering me but I am not able to do anything.
  • I was scolded by a teacher for an imperfect presentation. However, I’m not very good at it.
  • My mind is occupied with the thought of flood conditions in other countries.
  • For such situations, students have to choose if they want to act, confront or apologize 
  • Ask them to state reasons as to why they would choose a particular card and how will it solve the problem

Students are more likely to broaden their thinking capabilities when given situations that they don’t exactly relate to. With such an activity, instruct them about examples of self-management skills which allows them to better understand their choices in the problem-solving concept.

10. Brand Failure!

Giving realistic situations to students helps them become better at problem-solving. It also allows them to look at the big picture and solve problems from different perspectives.

Brand Failure

  • To conduct this activity, turn the classroom into an office
  • Now, make teams of 10 students each and let them sit just the way employees sit for a conference 
  • For example, you may present the case study of how the product of Nestlé, Maggi, was banned due to contents of lead and MSG found in it
  • After this, invite an open discussion as to how they would tackle the problem 
  • Ask them to think of marketing campaigns or advertisement initiatives to deal with the problem

As students learn about branding and facing problems from the consumer perspective, they get a border opportunity to think like marketing managers. It boosts their confidence as no solution is right or wrong.

Wrapping up…

Problem-solving activities are an effective way to showcase students’ various problems and how to deal with them. Practical application of skills helps to boost their morale. As college students are also exposed to problems of different levels and perspectives, they are more likely to learn, evolve and become thoughtful of their actions. It should be noted that every student learns at a different pace and encouraging them to arrive at creative solutions is a must-do! 

Along with this, teachers can also use different examples of problem-solving skills , games, and interesting quotes to create a diversified learning environment. In conclusion, the skill is an essential step for students to perform better in their future endeavors with a growth-oriented focus.

Manpreet Singh

An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having  just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of  Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’, 

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Activities to Promote Problem Solving


Examine a BSSS course and identify Unit Specific Goals, Content Descriptions and Achievement Standards which highlight problem solving.

Discuss your selection of the following activities and evaluate their potential for developing problem solving skills.

problem solving activities for college students

Problem Solving Activities for H.A.S.S.

Hold a mock peace conference for a major conflict in History

Hold a class debate over periodisation in History

Propose, design and record the voice over for a walking tour for a given location

Deliver a policy pitch for solutions to ecological problems

Hold a community roundtable debate on a development application

Propose and debate solutions to a moral dilemma

Problem Solving Activites for English/Literature/Language

Complete a critical textual analysis on an unseen text

Apply a critical reading to a text of their own choice untaught in class

Transform the same phrase/sentence into three different tones

Rework a classic poem using modern references and to critique a modern problem while maintaining scansion and rhyme scheme

Research and find language to communicate in a dialect

problem solving activities for college students

Problem Solving in Maths


Budgeting for a major purchase

Transferring skills built by exercises to novel situations

Crunching stats for a given purpose

Successfully work as a group to find solutions to a problem collaboratively

Problem Solving in the ARTS

Arrange a piece of music for a different instrument or genre

Design a performance staging within given cost, cast, setting and audience parameters

Produce a work for a competition within its set parameters

Experiment with the technical skills and produce a work in a new media

Collaborate with others to perform as an ensemble

problem solving activities for college students

problem Solving In H.O.P.E.

Create drills to build skills for a new sport

Construct a training and nutrition regimen for a given person

Create fitness activities for a given group setting

Develop an alternative route for a hike after an unforeseen change or challenge

Adapt a planned activity to provide access for a person with special needs

problem solving activities for college students

"A Jigsaw is a cooperative active learning exercise where students are grouped into teams to solve a problem or analyze a reading. These can be done in one of two ways – either each team works on completing a different portion of the assignment and then contributes their knowledge to the class as a whole, or within each group, one student is assigned to a portion of the assignment (the jigsaw comes from the bringing together the various ideas at the end of the activity to produce a solution to the problem). In a jigsaw the activity must be divided into several equal parts, each of which is necessary to solving a problem, or answering a question. Example activities include implementing experiments, small research projects, analyzing and comparing datasets, and working with professional literature. The advantages of the jigsaw include the ability to explore substantive problems or readings, the engagement of all students with the material and in the process of working together, learning from each other, and sharing and critical analyzing a diversity of ideas." (Sheridan Centre for Teaching and Learning, Brown University, Interactive Classroom Activities | Sheridan Center | Brown University )

Interesting Links

Defining Authenticity in Historical Problem Solving | Edutopia

Problem Solving in Education: A Global Imperative - Educational Leadership (ascd.org)

Teaching problem solving: Let students get ‘stuck’ and ‘unstuck’ (brookings.edu)

Benefits of Using a Problem-Solving Scaffold for Teaching and Learning Synthesis in Undergraduate Organic Chemistry I (ed.gov)


Organising the Teaching of Problem Solving | NZ Maths

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Top 15 Problem-Solving Activities for Your Team to Master

By Brianna Hansen , May 27, 2022 - 10 min read

Some people see problems as roadblocks, others see them as opportunities! Problem-solving activities are a great way to get to know how members of your team work, both individually and together. It’s important to teach your team strategies to help them quickly overcome obstacles in the way of achieving project goals.

In this article, you’ll explore 15 problem-solving activities designed to enhance collaboration and creativity. Additionally, if you want to discuss the insights and outcomes with your team after the activities, you can use Wrike’s actionable meeting notes template. This template allows you to record meeting discussions, assign action items, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

The importance of problem-solving skills in today’s workplace

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According to a 2019  report by McKinsey , soft skills are increasingly important in today's world — and problem-solving is the top area in which skills are lacking. A company or team’s success weighs heavily on the willingness of managers to help employees improve their problem-solving abilities. Team building activities targeting focus areas like communication and collaboration, adaptability, or strengthening decision-making techniques help.

All problem-solving processes start with identifying the problem. Next, the team must assess potential courses of action and choose the best way to tackle the problem. This requires a deep understanding of your team and its core strengths. A problem-solving exercise or game helps identify those strengths and builds problem-solving skills and strategies while having fun with your team.

problem solving activities for college students

Problem-solving games aren't for just any team. Participants must have an open mind and accept all ideas and solutions . They must also have an Agile mindset and embrace different structures, planning, and processes. Problems usually arise when we least expect them, so there's no better way to prepare than to encourage agility and flexibility.

Another aspect to keep in mind when engaging in problem-solving games and activities: There are no winners or losers. Sure, some games might end with a single winner, but the true goal of these exercises is to learn how to work together as a team to develop an Agile mindset. The winning team of each game should share their strategies and thought processes at the end of the exercise to help everyone learn.

Here’s a list of fun problem-solving activity examples to try with your team. From blindfolds to raw eggs, these problem-solving, team-building activities will have your team solving problems faster than Scooby and the gang.

Classic team-building, problem-solving activities

1. a shrinking vessel.

Helps with: Adaptability

Why adaptability is important for problem-solving: Adaptability is highly associated with cognitive diversity, which helps teams solve problems faster , according to the Harvard Business Review. Innovation and disruption are happening faster than ever before . People, teams, and organizations that can adapt will come out on top.

What you’ll need:

  • A rope or string


1. Using the rope, make a shape on the floor everyone can fit into.

2. Slowly shrink the space over 10-15 minutes.

3. Work together to figure out how to keep everyone within the shrinking boundaries.

2. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower

Helps with: Collaboration

Why collaboration is important for problem-solving: “Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually,” writes Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline . We can solve problems better as a team than we can alone, which means developing your team’s collaboration skills will lead to better problem-solving outcomes.

What you’ll need (per team):

  • 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 roll of masking tape
  • 1 yard of string
  • 1 marshmallow

1. The goal of this exercise is to see which team can use the materials provided to build the tallest tower within an allotted time period. The tower must be able to stand on its own.

2. To make this exercise more challenging, try adding a marshmallow to the top of the tower. This team problem-solving exercise helps people think on their toes while building camaraderie and leadership.

3. Egg Drop

Helps with: Collaboration, decision-making

Why decision-making is important for problem-solving: Making decisions isn’t easy , but indecision leads to team paralysis, stagnant thinking, and unsolved problems. Decision-making activities help your team practice making quick, effective choices. Train your team’s decision-making muscles and they will become more adept at problem-solving.

  • A carton of eggs
  • Basic construction materials such as newspapers, straws, tape, plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, etc., tarp, or drop cloth
  • A parking lot, or some other place you don’t mind getting messy!

1. Each team gets an egg and must select from the construction materials.

2. Give everyone 20-30 minutes to construct a carrier for the egg and protect it from breaking.

3. Drop each egg carrier off a ledge (i.e. over a balcony) and see whose carrier protects the egg from breaking.

4. If multiple eggs survive, keep increasing the height until only one egg is left.

4. Stranded

Helps with: Communication, decision-making

Why communication is important for problem-solving: More employees work remotely than ever before. Good communication skills are vital to solving problems across  virtual teams . Working on communication skills while your team is together will help them solve problems more effectively when they’re apart.

Here's the setting: Your team has been stranded in the office. The doors are locked, and knocking down the doors or breaking the windows is not an option. Give your team 30 minutes to decide on ten items in the office they need for survival and rank them in order of importance. The goal of the game is to have everyone agree on the ten items and their rankings in 30 minutes.

Creative problem-solving activities

Helps with: Communication

What you'll need:

1. Divide everyone into small teams of two or more.

2. Select an overseer who isn't on a team to build a random structure using Lego building blocks within ten minutes.

3. The other teams must replicate the structure exactly (including size and color) within 15 minutes. However, only one member from each group may look at the original structure. They must figure out how to communicate the size, color, and shape of the original structure to their team.

4. If this is too easy, add a rule that the member who can see the original structure can't touch the new structure.

  • A lockable room
  • 5-10 puzzles or clues (depending on how much time you want to spend on the game)

1. The goal of this exercise is to solve the clues, find the key, and escape a locked room within the time allotted.

2. Hide the key and a list of clues around the room.

3. Gather the team into the empty room and "lock" the door.

4. Give them 30 minutes to an hour to find the key using the clues hidden around the room.

7. Frostbite

Helps with: Decision-making, adaptability

  • A blindfold
  • 1 packet of construction materials (such as card stock, toothpicks, rubber bands, and sticky notes) for each team
  • An electric fan

Instructions:  Your employees are Arctic explorers adventuring across an icy tundra! Separate them into teams of four or five and have them select a leader to guide their exploration. Each team must build a shelter from the materials provided before the storm hits in 30 minutes. However, both the team leader’s hands have frostbite, so they can’t physically help construct the shelter, and the rest of the team has snow blindness and is unable to see. When the 30 minutes is up, turn on the fan and see which shelter can withstand the high winds of the storm.

8. Minefield

  • An empty room or hallway
  • A collection of common office items

1. Place the items (boxes, chairs, water bottles, bags, etc.) around the room so there's no clear path from one end of the room to the other.

2. Divide your team into pairs and blindfold one person on the team.

3. The other must verbally guide that person from one end of the room to the other, avoiding the "mines."

4. The partner who is not blindfolded can't touch the other.

5. If you want to make the activity more challenging, have all the pairs go simultaneously so teams must find ways to strategically communicate with each other.

9. Blind Formations

1. Have the group put on blindfolds and form a large circle.

2. Tie two ends of a rope together and lay it in a circle in the middle of the group, close enough so each person can reach down and touch it.

3. Instruct the group to communicate to create a shape with the rope — a square, triangle, rectangle, etc.

4. If you have a very large group, divide them into teams and provide a rope for each team. Let them compete to see who forms a particular shape quickest.

Quick and easy problem-solving activities

10. line up blind.

1. Blindfold everyone and whisper a number to each person, beginning with one.

2. Tell them to line up in numerical order without talking.

3. Instead of giving them a number, you could also have them line up numerically by height, age, birthday, etc.

11. Reverse Pyramid

Helps with: Adaptability, collaboration

1. Have everyone stand in a pyramid shape, horizontally.

2. Ask them to flip the base and the apex of the pyramid moving only three people.

3. This quick exercise works best when smaller groups compete to see who can reverse the pyramid the fastest.

12. Move It!

  • Chalk, rope, tape, or paper (something to mark a space)

1. Divide your group into two teams and line them up front to back, facing each other.

2. Using the chalk, tape, rope, or paper (depending on the playing surface), mark a square space for each person to stand on. Leave one extra empty space between the two facing rows.

3. The goal is for the two facing lines of players to switch places.

4. Place these restrictions on movement:

  • Only one person may move at a time.
  • A person may not move around anyone facing the same direction.
  • No one may not move backward.
  • A person may not move around more than one person on the other team at a time.

13. Human Knot

1. Have everyone stand in a circle, and ask each person to hold hands with two people who aren’t directly next to them.

2. When everyone is tangled together, ask them to untangle the knot and form a perfect circle — without letting go of anyone's hand.

Our last two problem-solving activities work best when dealing with an actual problem:

14. Dumbest Idea First

Helps with: Instant problem-solving

1. "Dumb" ideas are sometimes the best ideas. Ask everyone to think of the absolute dumbest possible solution to the problem at hand.

2. After you have a long list, look through it and see which ones might not be as dumb as you think.

3. Brainstorm your solutions in Wrike. It's free and everyone can start collaborating instantly!

15. What Would X Do

1. Have everyone pretend they're someone famous.

2. Each person must approach the problem as if they were their chosen famous person. What options would they consider? How would they handle it?

3. This allows everyone to consider solutions they might not have thought of originally.

Looking for more team-building and virtual meeting games? Check out these virtual icebreaker games or our  Ultimate Guide to Team Building Activities that Don't Suck.

Additional resources on problem-solving activities

  • Problem-Solving Model : Looking for a model to provide a problem-solving structure? This detailed guide gives you the tools to quickly solve any problem.
  • The Simplex Process:  Popularized by Min Basadur's book, The Power of Innovation , the Simplex Process provides training and techniques for each problem-solving stage. It helps frame problem-solving as a continuous cycle, rather than a “one and done” process.
  • Fun Problem-Solving Activities and Games : Looking for more ideas? Check out this list of interesting and creative problem-solving activities for adults and kids!
  • The Secret to Better Problem-Solving:  This article provides tips, use cases, and fresh examples to help you become a whiz at solving the toughest problems.

How to organize problem-solving activities with Wrike

If you want to make problem-solving activities more effective, consider using team collaboration software such as Wrike. 

Wrike’s pre-built actionable meeting notes template helps you keep track of meeting discussions, assign action items, and keep everyone in the loop. It’s an effective tool to streamline your problem-solving sessions and turn insights into real projects.

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20 Effective Problem-Solving Activities For Your Team

20 Effective Problem-Solving Activities For Your Team

Problems are an everyday part of our life that requires the right approach to handle them. Leaders see opportunity in every problem when others consider it as a roadblock. Problem-solving activities are a great way to build comradeship and decision-making ability in your team.

A research study conducted on college graduating students revealed a lack of problem-solving ability. As a result, most companies prefer to hire candidates who can take independent decisions in a crisis rather than having good grades. The problem-solving process requires detecting the problem, determining a correct course of action and execution.

Collective activities play an important role in team building. It focuses on collaboration, communication, adaptability, and decision-making.

Here are 20 effective problem-solving activities for your team.

1. create your problem.

 Create Your Problem

In these problem-solving activities, team members need to brainstorm a problem and find a solution. First, small teams of 4-6 members are made. Next, a new problem is created, and teams are given one hour to discuss and come to a conclusion.

After one hour, each team will present their solution verbally or with the help of a PowerPoint presentation . The team with the best solution is declared the winner. This activity helps in building team coordination, decision-making, and negotiation skills.

2. Shrinking Vessel

The activity starts by making a circle on the floor. All team members are required to stay within the circle. After every five minutes, the size of the circle is reduced.

The idea is to keep the team inside the shrinking space for a longer time. Then, as the circle reduces, you can find out how the team coordinates to keep themselves within the confined space. This problem-solving activity enhances cognitive diversity with adaptability.


To begin, divide the team into small groups of 2 to 4 persons. Now select someone to make a Lego structure in 10 minutes. The competing team needs to replicate the structure by listening to the instructions. Only one team member can look at the original structure to give instructions.

The team needs to find means and ways to communicate the structure’s colour, shape, and size. In this problem-solving activity, communication ability is assessed.

4. Code Break

Code Break

It is a virtual activity designed for remote teams. The teams compete via video conferencing. The problem-solving activity is effective with a small group of four people or thousands of members together.

The coordinator gives a clue, and each team is required to break the code. The activity enhances communication and problem-solving skills.

5. Letting Go

This problem-solving activity combines mind training and meditation. It trains team members to work in difficult situations and reduces work-related stress. The activity is guided by an expert who instructs the team with mind relaxation techniques.

6. Spaghetti Marshmallow Tower

For this activity, you need some marshmallows, strings, masking tape, and 20 uncooked spaghetti. The challenge is to build the tallest tower in the least possible time. This fun activity is beneficial for team building and coordination.

7. Go for Gold

This problem-solving activity is very similar to the spaghetti marshmallow tower. The only difference is that the tower is built using rubber tubing, pipes, and cardboard. A marble replaces the marshmallow on top. In addition, the structure is required to be taken from one point to another without dropping the marble.

8. Egg Drop

This problem-solving activity enhances decision-making. First, the team needs to transport eggs using raw materials such as straw, newspaper, rubber bands, and plastic wrap. Next, the team has to build an egg carrier, drop the egg in the carrier, and see which carrier doesn’t break the egg.

9. Scavenger Hunt

In this activity, each team is provided with a list of articles. The aim is to find these articles within a restricted premise and in a given time frame. The team which finds the maximum number of articles is the winner. This problem-solving activity is great for team coordination, time management, and decision-making.

10. Escape


This activity aims to decipher the clues and find a key. The team must find the key in a limited time to unlock the door. Usually, 45 minutes to an hour is given to solve the puzzle and find the key. The activity is designed to enhance team coordination, decision-making ability, and time management.

11. Frostbite

In this enacted problem-solving activity, teams are given a scenario of being trapped in the cold Siberian desert.  One person from each team is nominated as the leader. The task is to build a snow shelter with provided materials.

The leader cannot help in the task, and he acts as having frostbite. Some members can lie down, enacting unconsciousness to make things more challenging, and some can be blindfolded as snow-blind. It is a great activity for evaluating leadership traits, team effort, and coordinated execution.

12. Human Chain

Human Chain

The problem-solving activity is designed to use the collective mental capacity to resolve a problem. First, the team stands in a circle making a chain by holding the person’s hand, not standing next to him. When a chain is formed, the challenge starts. Now the chain needs to be delinked without letting off the hands.

13. Dumbest Idea First

Dumbest Idea First

The name of the problem-solving activity will give you a clue. In this activity, a problem is suggested to the team. Then, each team has to come up with a dumb idea to solve the problem. The problem can be an imaginary or a real situation that the company is facing.

The ideas are evaluated once presented by teams on paper. Then, the probability of each solution is evaluated based on the chances of resolving the issue. Finally, the solution having zero probability is declared the winner. This exercise builds problem-solving ability with critical thinking.

14. Wool Web

Each team is given a yarn of wool, and they have to make a web out of it. All teams can start together, and 15 minutes are given for the task. Once completed, now rotate the teams to yarn web they have not created.

All teams will nominate a person to untangle the yarn web blindfolded. Team members can verbally guide the nominated person but cannot help physically. The team that untangles the web first wins.

15. Clue Me In

It is one of the most enjoyable problem-solving activities for teams.  It helps in training the team for cognitive and logical thinking. To begin the task, select things related to your profession; now place all the things in a bag and let each team send a representative to pull out a clue. The team has to find the clue as quickly as possible to win.

16. Paintball


Paintball is another fun activity designed on the military pattern. There are two contesting teams in a predefined combat zone. The task is to fire paint pellets on the opposing team. The person who is hit is dead and out.

17. Problem Solving Box

Problem Solving Box

It is an effective way to know your teams’ problems and help resolve them. A box is placed in the center called ‘The Problem-Solving Box.’ All members will write a problem on a piece of paper and put it inside the box. Now the paper is taken out, and the problem is read out loud. Finally, all members will give a workable solution for the problem. This problem-solving activity is a discrete way for management to understand the problems of its team.

18. Blind Drawing

Blind Drawing

The activity requires a pair of contestants sitting back-to-back. The first person describes an image without giving obvious clues, while the other draws the image as a guide. The team with the best communication technique and understanding wins.

19. Stranded

It is a great activity to enhance effective communication strategy. In this problem-solving activity, the team is locked in a room. The team has to consult each other and list ten items that they will need for survival. The items are listed in order of importance. The team that has the best thought of the list of the essential items is the winner.

20. Bonded Buddies

Bonded Buddies

The activity groups teams into 5 to 6 people tied together, limiting their movement. In addition, each team has to cover a distance. The team that takes the least time is declared the winner.

It is a great activity for building team collaboration and collective problem-solving techniques. In addition, the group activity helps teams work together to resolve a problem.

One of the biggest challenges that organizations and companies face is people working in tight compartments. These 20 problem-solving activities are scientifically designed for team collaboration and decision-making ability. In addition, all these activities are easy and can be tried to improve your team’s capability.

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5 Problem-Solving Activities for the Classroom

Problem-solving skills are necessary in all areas of life, and classroom problem solving activities can be a great way to get students prepped and ready to solve real problems in real life scenarios. Whether in school, work or in their social relationships, the ability to critically analyze a problem, map out all its elements and then prepare a workable solution is one of the most valuable skills one can acquire in life.

Educating your students about problem solving skills from an early age in school can be facilitated through classroom problem solving activities. Such endeavors encourage cognitive as well as social development, and can equip students with the tools they’ll need to address and solve problems throughout the rest of their lives. Here are five classroom problem solving activities your students are sure to benefit from as well as enjoy doing:

1. Brainstorm bonanza

Having your students create lists related to whatever you are currently studying can be a great way to help them to enrich their understanding of a topic while learning to problem-solve. For example, if you are studying a historical, current or fictional event that did not turn out favorably, have your students brainstorm ways that the protagonist or participants could have created a different, more positive outcome. They can brainstorm on paper individually or on a chalkboard or white board in front of the class.

2. Problem-solving as a group

Have your students create and decorate a medium-sized box with a slot in the top. Label the box “The Problem-Solving Box.” Invite students to anonymously write down and submit any problem or issue they might be having at school or at home, ones that they can’t seem to figure out on their own. Once or twice a week, have a student draw one of the items from the box and read it aloud. Then have the class as a group figure out the ideal way the student can address the issue and hopefully solve it.

3. Clue me in

This fun detective game encourages problem-solving, critical thinking and cognitive development. Collect a number of items that are associated with a specific profession, social trend, place, public figure, historical event, animal, etc. Assemble actual items (or pictures of items) that are commonly associated with the target answer. Place them all in a bag (five-10 clues should be sufficient.) Then have a student reach into the bag and one by one pull out clues. Choose a minimum number of clues they must draw out before making their first guess (two- three). After this, the student must venture a guess after each clue pulled until they guess correctly. See how quickly the student is able to solve the riddle.

4. Survivor scenarios

Create a pretend scenario for students that requires them to think creatively to make it through. An example might be getting stranded on an island, knowing that help will not arrive for three days. The group has a limited amount of food and water and must create shelter from items around the island. Encourage working together as a group and hearing out every child that has an idea about how to make it through the three days as safely and comfortably as possible.

5. Moral dilemma

Create a number of possible moral dilemmas your students might encounter in life, write them down, and place each item folded up in a bowl or bag. Some of the items might include things like, “I saw a good friend of mine shoplifting. What should I do?” or “The cashier gave me an extra $1.50 in change after I bought candy at the store. What should I do?” Have each student draw an item from the bag one by one, read it aloud, then tell the class their answer on the spot as to how they would handle the situation.

Classroom problem solving activities need not be dull and routine. Ideally, the problem solving activities you give your students will engage their senses and be genuinely fun to do. The activities and lessons learned will leave an impression on each child, increasing the likelihood that they will take the lesson forward into their everyday lives.

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15 Best Problem Solving Activities for Kids to Encourage Critical Thinking

Kids playing in the park

1. Rolling Dice

2. build a tower, 3. tic tac toe, 4. scavenger hunt, 6. activity books, 7. board games, 9. human knot, 10. open-ended questions.

Problem solving activities for kids are a great way to teach them how to think critically and creatively, and how to develop a growth mindset . We’re sure you must have also played many educational games as a kid that helped you develop critical thinking or problem-solving- skills you’re using even today. These activities can be tailored to be fun and engaging, and they help kids understand that challenges and difficulties are opportunities to learn and grow instead of things to be feared. 

By providing kids with problem-solving activities, we can give them the tools to develop their problem-solving skills and build the confidence to tackle difficult challenges, which will be valuable to them throughout their life. It will also help them understand that their abilities can be developed with practice and hard work, encouraging them to persevere through difficult tasks and not give up easily when faced with obstacles. If you’re looking for some fun and engaging problem solving activities for children to develop a growth mindset, we have curated a list of activities for you.

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15 Best Problem Solving Activities for Kids

Kids playing in the park

Things you’ll need: A die or dice, some flashcards and a pen

How to do: You can play tons of different games with dice. Playing with two dice encourages kids to quickly add up numbers and learn math in a fun way . One fun game you can play with a single die involves flashcards. For this game, you can assign a category to each number on the die and when the kid rolls the die, they have to name any 3 examples from the category assigned to the number rolled. For example, if number 4 is assigned to animals and it is rolled, they will have to name any 3 animals. 

Things you’ll need: Building blocks, lego, toilet rolls or anything that can be stacked

How to do: If you’re looking for problem solving activities for 5 year olds, this is for you. To play this game, just give the kids anything that can be stacked on top of the other. This can be building blocks, lego, Jenga blocks, toilet rolls, etc. The challenge is to stack one on top of the other and see how high a tower they can build. This game can be played in teams or individually as well. 

Things you’ll need: A tic tac tow board or pen and paper

How to do: This is one of the most exciting problem solving fun activities for students. You can either play this game on a tic tac toe board or on paper. If you’re playing it on paper, draw a table so that you have 9 boxes. Now each player must choose X or O and try to make a continuous row of their chosen symbol. Whoever succeeds wins. 

Things you’ll need: Small toys, stationery items, or anything you want to include in a scavenger hunt

How to do: Assign the teams or individual players specific items they have to find in a defined area. This can be an indoor or outdoor activity for kids . Give them a list of the things they need to find, and you can also give them hints on where to find these things. Whoever or whichever team finds all the things first wins. 

Things you’ll need: A puzzle game

How to do: Get a puzzle set. This can be a regular cardboard puzzle or a wooden puzzle and ask the players or teams to arrange it. You can make this a timed challenge or just let the kids solve the puzzle in their own time and have fun. 

Things you’ll need: Activity books and pencils

How to do: This is one of the best problem solving activities for kids. Activity books are great for children’s problem-solving skills to develop. Buy them activity books containing games like find the element, what’s wrong with the pictures, or hidden picture books. 

Things you’ll need: Board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly Junior, and Go Fish

How to do: Give them board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly Junior, Go Fish, etc. These board games help kids to develop logic, think deeper, plan ahead and solve problems. 

Things you’ll need: A chalk

How to do: Build a maze with chalk on the sidewalk. Make sure you add a few dead-end ways to make it more challenging for the kids. Once the kid is able to walk through and come out of the maze, take the game to the next level by adding even more dead-end ways and see how they overcome the challenge. 

Things you’ll need: Just a playground or garden

How to do: This is a great group activity for kids that’ll also teach them lots of skills. Ask the kids to form a circle and raise their right arm up. Now ask them to reach out to someone standing opposite to them in the circle and hold their left hand with their left hand. Now ask them to raise their left hands up and repeat the process with their right hands. The objective is to entangle them completely and then ask them to detangle themselves without letting go of anyone’s hands. 

Things you’ll need: Pen and paper 

How to do: Once you’re done with an activity, ask kids open-ended questions. These are questions that have no right or wrong answers. Some examples of such questions are- “Did you find this activity easy?”, “What did you enjoy the most about this activity?”, “How would you make this activity more fun?”, etc. 

11. Wool Web

Things you’ll need: Balls of yarn

How to do: This is one of the most exciting group problem solving classroom activities for kids . Divide the players into equal teams and ask them to form a circle. Hand them over one ball of yarn each and ask them to make a web of it amongst the teams. Set a time limit for this step, and once it is done, switch the webs so that none of the teams has their own webs. Now the teams will decide on one player from each team to be blindfolded. This blindfolded player will have to untangle to web assigned to their team with the help of verbal instructions from their teams. The team that untangles the web first wins. 

12. Fingertip Hula Hoop

Things you’ll need: Hula hoops

How to do: Divide the kids into teams of 6-8 for this game. Each team will stand in a circle and then be asked to raise their hands up. Now, place a hula hoop on top of their fingertips and ask them to bring it down slowly and make it touch the ground without it falling down or leaving the fingertips. The team to finish the task first wins. 

13. Obstacle Course

Things you’ll need: Pillows, blankets, mattresses, cones, balls, chairs, etc. 

How to do: Build an obstacle course indoors or outdoors with whatever you can find. This makes for one of the most engaging problem solving games for kids. Ask your kids to cross the obstacle course as fast as they can. To make it a bit more challenging, you can also ask them to race against each other to cross the obstacle course. 

14. Memory Games

Things you’ll need: Playing cards

How to do: For this fun cards game, place all the cards face down and take turns to turn 2-4 cards. If you are able to open two similar cards (in number), you get to keep the pair. The player with the highest number of cards with them in the end wins.  

15. Impromptu Plays

Things you’ll need: A stage

How to do: This is one of the best problem-solving exercises for kids to play in groups. If you have a large group, divide the kids into teams of 6-8. If the group is smaller, just make the kids stand individually. Now make a few chits on a theme that has questions that form a difficult situation or a challenge. For example, you can put in chits with questions like “You just found your friend cheating in an exam. What do you tell them?” or “Your younger sibling just broke your favorite toy. How do you react?”. Each team must enact a scene that includes the situation their chit has. If the group isn’t that big, each kid must speak about the same chit but have different perspectives. 

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important for Kids?

Little girls playing with sand

Developing problem solving skills is extremely important for kids as it helps them to navigate easily around difficulties later on in life. As adults, we’re faced with challenging situations every day, and without our basic problem-solving skills, we wouldn’t be able to survive.

Problem solving skills also help kids to make effective decisions. It helps them resolve problems all at once without reducing them to smaller problems. Once kids develop problem solving skills, it is easier for them to develop other skills as well like critical thinking, cooperation and collaboration with others.

Having problem solving skills helps kids to become more creative and think differently than others and enables them to become independent. These skills also help kids develop decision-making skills and build their confidence along the way as they take the right decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the 5 problem solving skills.

The five problem solving skills are identifying the problem, producing possible results that might work, picking one solution from these, applying the chosen solution and evaluating the results.

What are some examples of problem-solving skills in kids?

Some of the problem solving skills in kids are research, creativity, team-building, communication, active listening, decision-making, and analysis. If you find some of these skills in a kid, chances are they’re great at problem solving.

What is problem solving learning?

According to cornell.edu, Problem solving learning is an approach wherein students are asked open-ended questions about a certain topic, and they must resolve and answer  the same in groups.

At what age do children begin problem-solving?

According to a study by Shaffer , kids can start developing basic problem solving skills from the age of three. This further continues to develop as they grow.

What are three problem-solving techniques

According to deakin.edu , the three most basic problem solving techniques are defining the problem, listing out all the possible solutions, and evaluating the options.

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