• Dr Nikki James

Problem Solving Skills # 1

Did you know that playing video games can actually develop your child's problem solving skills? Think about it. They play, hit a challenge, try multiple different ways to solve the challenge, ask for help from others who have gotten past the challenge and keep trying until they WIN!


In learning there is a concept called TRANSFER. Transfer is the cognitive process that takes place when we take a skill or piece of knowledge from one situation or context and apply it to a different one. Transfer does not happen automatically, it is a process. It is a thinking pattern that needs to be developed.


Below is a quick activity you can do with your kids to help them transfer the critical thinking skills they are developing playing video games into their real life!



1. Pick a video game! (Preferably one your kids find fun!)

2. Play the game up until a fail point (Run out of moves, Loose a life!)

3. Ask your kids these questions in sequence:

  • What happened?

  • What did you do well?

  • What did you not do well?

  • How could you do that differently to WIN next time? (Things to look for: Asking for help, trying different ways, research and practice)

4. Let them play again (a few times if needed)

  • If they are still struggling go back to STEP 3

  • If they WIN go to STEP 5

5. Celebrate the WIN! And then ask these questions in sequence:

  • What happened?

  • What did you do differently to WIN?

  • Explain some of the different ways you tried to WIN. (You can help them with this one if they are struggling)

  • Have you had a problem lately that you do not know how to solve?

  • How could you use the things you did to WIN in the game to solve your problem? (Things to look for: Ask someone for help, try different options, practice)

6. Encourage your kid/s to try and solve the problem.


Good luck! If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments!


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