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I need some ideas on tried and tested problem solving activities. Table top preferably, for 1-2 children at a time to think about. The only one I've got is the one about the farmer who needs to get the chicken, fox and corn across the river in a boat. The boat only holds the farmer and one other thing but he cant leave the fox with the chicken or the chicken with the corn.

Any other similar activities will be welcome. :D

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Hi Rea


I'm in a DN, so my ideas might not be quite what you're looking for but....

How about a narrow container containing a little water (which hands can't fit in) with a little floating frog in. Have a jug, funnel, a bowl of water and some pebbles on the table. Ask the children to think of ways to raise the water level so they can get the frog (or whatever) out of the container.


Not a table 'challenge' but....We put a teddy bear outside in a tree and when the children come out to play and they notice the bear, ask questions as to how he got up the tree, how could we help him get down, how might he be feeling etc.


I'm looking forward to seeing other responses you get so that I may adapt some of them for nursery children. I believe hands on challenges are a great, fun way to explore, encouraging children to think 'outside the box'.


I read an article in Nursery World a while back about 'philosophy sessions' a candle is lit to start the session and gain children's interest - then a talking/thinking point is put forward (often using nursery rhymes) such as "Why do you think Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall" Haven't personally tried it yet but on my to 'try out' list.


Sorry, I've gone off the thread here a bit Rea.



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The farmer has 2 fields and he puts his animals in the fields, there must always be one more animal in the bigger field. How many different ways can you do this and how can you record what you have done?


The three bears have a picnic they all need a cup, saucer, plate and spoon but they must all be different colours, they cannot have a matching cup and saucer etc. Can you solve their problem?

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