For teenagers, it is essential to learn the art of problem solving, as at every step of life, it is a vital tool to live a more enriching and meaningful life. Social scientists, teachers and educators stress on the need of teenagers to be exposed to different types of problem solving exercises so that the budding citizens of a nation, can have a better decision-making ability.
Problem Solving Exercises for Teenage Groups: An Overview
Teenagers are a storehouse of hidden feelings, dreams and aspirations. During teenage years, most of them will appear restless, reckless, and can be very demanding. These are obvious features of the fact that the individual teenager is trying to find his identity through his education, sports or even with the personal relationships with his siblings and parents. He wants to get out into the world and prove himself, but hosts of mental blocks stop him from doing so. This makes it essential for schools, colleges, and parents to bestow trust in their teenagers. We needn't go out, way too far in search of good problem solving exercises for college students, because just within the confines of our homes, we can inculcate values of responsibility in teenagers.
Giving them small works like running an errand, picking up a little sister from school, shopping for groceries, going to the bank, booking transportation tickets, teaching them to cook, paying house/telephone or electricity bills and requesting them to look after the home while parents/guardians are out - all these lead to development of good problem solving skills amongst teenagers. Moreover, by engaging in such activities, teens learn to understand about daily life and the way it works, in general.
If you leave them secluded, locked in their rooms, with an idiot box to entertain them, it will eventually rot their minds and they will think that the world revolves only around them. This is the reason why teenagers, who think a lot, more than their age, turn to be depressed and eccentric. If you are here to find some typical exercises to boost their minds, keep reading.
Exercise #1: Celebrate a Festival
This requires a group of college students or at least five teenagers. If any festival is heading closer, be it Halloween or Christmas, allot a specific budget for home decoration, eating, and other expenses that may incur during the celebrations. Now, ask the group of teenagers to do all the arrangements. This is a great community problem solving exercise. If possible, all parents in a community must encourage their teenagers to participate in any such event celebration.
Parents are bound to get surprised when they watch their sons and daughters handling everything so smoothly. Don't stop teenagers from including their ideas and just watch from a distance how they coordinate the work. Team work, communication skills, brainstorming, planning and time management are some virtues that teenagers will learn through this exercise. The most vital thing they will learn at the end of the celebration will be a great lesson in team work. Don't forget to reward teenagers based on their efforts!
Exercise #2: Find the Treasure
Blindfold games are a lot of fun besides being a great learning experience. Here's one such game. This game can be played by any number of teenagers. It's good if there are four-five teams of four teenagers each. One member from each team has to be the leader. Everyone apart from the leader is blindfolded. Few things, this may include balls and handkerchiefs, are hidden in the grass or bushes, or any secret place in a wide and huge ground, at night. Now, the leader of the team has to direct his team, only by the help of his voice and using a torch light, to find the hidden objects in a limited time period.
The fun part is that only the leader is able to see things and it is great to observe teens coordinating among themselves to find the hidden objects. Leadership skills, effective listening, team work, trust, time management are some vital virtues teenagers learn through this fun exercise. Make sure to check the safety arrangements so that the teenagers don't get hurt or injured. Be present with a first aid box to help in any situation.
Exercise #3: Prepare a Report
This one is quite an academically oriented exercise but it helps teenagers in understanding the business world, in a more profound way. It can be carried out by a group of 2 teenagers. Two teenagers can be given the task of going to retail shops and malls in their area and analyze the business strategies of retailers. Teenagers must make a note of the important points regarding the business. They must research about the retail business even on the Internet, prepare a questionnaire and do everything related to it. We will generally think that most of teenagers won't be able to do this task but the fact is that, if they are ready to do, they will surely come up with an interesting report.
What will this exercise teach them? Well, it has lots of benefits like it will help them to develop their research and people skills. They will learn to interact with senior people and they will get exposed to the practical world. This project is ideal during summer vacations when teenagers work for part-time jobs. Even giving the task of preparing a project report in the same industry a teenager is employed with, is a great way to make them more aware about their chosen field.
Exercise #4: Get the Box
This game can be played by including two groups of at least four teenagers. Both groups are divided by a fence or a line. A teenager has to go into the area of the other team and has to come with the box, that is kept at some distance from the opponent's team. Since this game involves lots of thinking as well as physical endurance or aggressiveness, it is a great option for teenagers. If a member of the team is caught by the opponent team, the next member has to try. When the opponent runs with the box, he or she can be chased by the other team. The person running with the box has to enter his team's area to register a point. Play five rounds for each side and give points for every successful attempt to bring the box back.
Exercise #5: Build a Bridge
Make four groups of teenagers, with two members in each team. Give them all the necessary items, hammer, nails, wooden plates, ropes etc. Ask them to build a bridge by using the materials given and then cross the bridge. You will have to make an arrangement for the place in your own garden or in a local park. Don't make the elevation for the bridge high as the teens may hurt themselves if the bridge breaks. Keep the height at a minimum. This exercise is just made to test their quick thinking, analytical skills and ability to use the given resources smartly. You may be required to consult a team building expert for doing this exercise in a more effective way.
Some Other Problem Solving Games
- Blindfold all the members in a group. The host of the game must whisper a number in the each participant's ear. The numbers will start from 1 and will be equal to the number of people in the group. Now the team has to stand in a line in the order of the number whispered to them. They don't have to disclose their number to each other. They can keep their palms up and facing outwards to detect their team members.
- Build a structure made of straw and cardboard to prevent an egg from breaking even when it is dropped from 5 feet high. The goal is to use a minimum amount of material.
- Ask all the members of a group to hold each others hands and stand on one leg only. There must be no support except for the teammate's hand. Even if once a team player puts the leg down, he or she is out of the game. The team member that stays till the last is the winner.
- Blindfold all the members of a group (at least five in each team). Using a long rope and without talking ask the members to make triangle, pentagon, and quadrilateral shapes. The team which completes all the figures first is the winner.
- Make all the members of the group stand at one foot apart, in a circle. Give them a soft drink can. The members have to pass the soft drink without using their hands. The soft can must not fall. To make the game more interesting, fill the can with water!
The aforementioned exercises are just the tip of the iceberg. There is no dearth of problem solving exercises for teenagers and even you can use your creativity to chalk out interesting exercise plans for teenagers. Teenagers must be encouraged to participate in sports competitions as it is a great way to inculcate real life skills. Something like playing checkers or chess, is a great way to develop strategies and problem solving skills!