problem solving activitiesYou just spilled your $5 double shot macchiato on your lap = problem.  The internet is not connecting and you cannot get online to find a toll-free help number = problem.  Your project is due in 20 minutes and you overlooked two pages of additional instructions = problem.   Yes, problems are unavoidable.  They happen on a monthly, daily, and hourly basis.  Unfortunately, we are not equipped with a crystal ball to foresee that hurdles we will eventually have to face.  What we can do for ourselves, however, is prepare the best we can for the unavoidable.  We can equip ourselves with problem solving methods and strategies to tackle our problems head-on whether it is in a group or individual setting.  We are going to go over with you some great problem solving activities that are going to benefit you the next time you find yourself in any type of emerging problem.

Stages Involved in Problem Solving

Before we go over activities that you can apply to problem solving, let’s touch on some of the basic elements and stages involved in problem solving.  Knowing stages is going to prove helpful in problem-solving activities as well to help guide you in your thought process.

  1. Identifying the Problem:  The first step in tackling a problem is not tackling it; but knowing, recognizing, or admitting that there is a problem.  Identifying the problem means that you should be able to verbalize and define it.  When you can communicate the problem aloud, or to someone else, you will get a stronger grasp on its nature and what can be done to rectify it.
  2.  Analyzing:  If you have a simple problem, there might not be much analysis involved, but bigger problems need to be looked at with a magnifying glass.  This involves finding unknown facts, inspecting, and analyzing the barriers to the problem and how they can be crossed.
  3. Drafting Solutions:  It is always nice to have more than one!  By now you can start thinking of possible ways that you can go about solving your problem.  Some solutions might seem easier, but write them all down so that you can brainstorm later.
  4. Deciding on a Route:  After analyzing your possible solutions, you can come up with the route that best fits you and the rectification of the problem.  Decision making in itself is an important skill to have, and is not an easy one for most people.  Laying out all your options and possible solutions, however, will make it easier for you to make a decision.
  5. Solving: The implementation stage involves following through with your chosen route of problem solving.  Here you will put action to your decision and, hopefully, be able to seal your problem shut.

Problem Solving Activities

Solving problems, or the process of learning how to solve problems, does not have to be all work and no play.  There are plenty of helpful and fun activities that you can engage in with a group that will be beneficial to you problem solving skills.  Here are a few:

Pieces of Advice

Problem solving activities and exercises not only work to help you tackle some real-life hurdles, but they also help open lines of communication, understanding, and efficiency among groups of people, and even with yourself.  Remember that no matter what happens, it is always good to be prepared with the basic building blocks and tools that are going to help you navigate your way through some tough situations.

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