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# Our learning areas - Problem Solving

By Susan Richmond

## Introduction to ‘Problem Solving’

Problem Solving is all about looking at patterns and colours, understanding numbers and shapes as well as comparing measurements. It’s much more than just adding up and taking away.

It also looks at the thinking behind what children are learning and how maths skills can be used in everyday life. Very early on, children become aware of similarities and differences between the things around them. This is a basis for understanding and using mathematical thinking and language.

At CBeebies, we have linked our 7 learning areas with the EYFS curriculum. ‘Problem Solving’ closely matches the EYFS curriculum area of Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy/ Mathematics.

## What is the EYFS?

The Early Years Foundation Stage is a curriculum used by all care and education providers working with children from birth to the age of five (or the end of your child’s reception year).

It describes how adults working with young children can support the development of a child’s existing knowledge, skills and understanding in all areas of their learning.

The EYFS recognises that all children are individual and will learn and make progress at their own pace, aiming to achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of their reception year.

The EYFS curriculum is delivered through a play-based approach to learning, offering fun and practical activities and hands-on experience. As a parent or carer, you will know your child best and it’s important that you share your knowledge of your child’s achievements with the adults they are working with.

The EYFS is currently divided into 6 areas of learning. These areas are:

• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Physical Development
• Communication, Language and Literacy
• Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
• Knowledge and Understanding of the World
• Creative Development
• ## Problem solving ideas with CBeebies

CBeebies games, shows and pictures are packed full with images of different numbers, shapes, colours and sizes to inspire mathematical thinking and language. Here are a few ideas for games you can do at home to support Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy/ Mathematics:

• Big and Small and Big Cook Little Cook are a perfect starting point to get your child thinking and talking about sizes and recognising differences. Have a go at playing the Big Cook Little Cook Baking Bread game.Talk about the numbers changing as you measure the ingredients and use the numbers on the timer to see when the bread is ready. Alternatively, you can print off the recipe and get busy with some real baking! Use lots of language such as ‘more and less’, or ‘heavier and lighter’ to compare quantities and help your child to recognise numbers as they weigh - this is all part of the EYFS curriculum.

• Enjoy the many number recognition games in Numtums, or the Number Jumping Generator with the Numberjacks and match the Numberjack characters to numbers in the ‘real’ world. Pack a camera or a pen and paper, and set off on a number ‘hunt’ of your own. Say each number name as your child plays or stick some magnetic numbers on your fridge where they can be talked about as your child plays.

• Play the Jigsaw Puzzle game with In The Night Garden. Together you can match the different shaped pieces to the correct spaces on the Ninky Nonk. Ask lots of questions about what your child notices about each shape, and encourage them to describe them using words such as ‘small’, ‘round’, ‘tall’, ‘long’ etc. This mathematical language forms part of the EYFS curriculum developing children’s understanding of shape, space and measures.

• Make a picture with Show Me Show Me by adding the toys to a chosen scene. You can really help your child’s learning by using lots of language such as ‘next to’, ‘on top of’, or ‘between’ to describe where each toy is in the picture. Have fun by putting some of your child’s own toys in different places and ask them to describe where each toy is. This links to the EYFS curriculum by encouraging the use of everyday words to describe the position of something.

## Top tips

•  Try to make a game with the number you see everyday such as coins or the busTry matching pairs such as socksTalking about how things fit when tidying away toys into boxes or cupboards.