Want a simple recipe that will entice your kids to move their bodies, think creatively, and work as a team -- all at the same time? Combine a simple, solvable problem with a sense of urgency -- then add water! This collaborative challenge is tailor-made for kids ages 3 to 5. Start with a “burning” tree. In order to save it, your team will need to fill a bucket with water quickly, then carry it to the tree. Here’s the real challenge, though: Kids will use jugs to fill the bucket with water, and there aren’t enough jugs to go around. How will everyone get a chance to use the jugs -- and still save the tree? You'll be floored by how excited kids get -- and it’s a great way to encourage older kids to work as a team, building collaboration skills for later on. Fill a bucket, save a tree!
Just walking through the process of understanding the problem and discussing ways to overcome the challenges gives kids experience with solving ambiguous problems. As kids consider and test out different strategies, they develop the basis for creativity. Hustling back and forth, carrying and dumping water and the leaping they’ll undoubtedly do when the bucket is full are all great ways to develop gross motor skills. Finally, the simple requirement that all friends need fair turns helps kids develop the capacity for consideration and compromise required for genuine teamwork and collaboration.