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Problem Solving Brain Games for Toddlers

Problem Solving Brain Games for Toddlers | Gryphon House

We all know that early childhood is a crucial time in the lives of children, but many do not realize just how important brain development in early childhood is for all young learners. Within the first three years of life, research shows that children’s brains are already busy forming connections that will impact their lifetime potential for learning. Brain games for toddlers are a fun and easy way to ensure that your little learners have interesting and impactful experiences that “safely stimulate” and unlock their peak development. 

Full of toddler brain games, Jackie Silberg’s book, 125 Brain Games for Toddlers and Twos: Simple Games to Promote Early Brain Development, provides safe, quality activities to help positively shape your child’s developing brain structure.

Here are a few fun problem solving brain games for toddlers that will have your learners expanding their growing brains in no time!  


Sink or Float

Age: 21 to 24 Months

  • Gather together several objects. Include some that will sink and some that will float.
  • Suggestions include sponges, soap, empty containers, full containers, floating toys, and small toys that will not be damaged by the water.
  • Fill a dishpan or bucket with a few inches of water. Safety Note: Never leave a child unsupervised around water.
  • Put one item at a time in the water.
  • After each item, use the words sink or float to describe what each item does.
  • After you have tried each object individually, start again.
  • This time, before you put an item into the water, ask your toddler, “Do you think it will float or sink?”
  • Soon your toddler will be looking for other items to see if they will sink or float.

What brain research says:

Problem solving leads to new understanding. A playful, nonthreatening atmosphere supports brain development.



Age: 24 to 27 Months

  • Cut sponges into different shapes.
  • Encourage your child to take the sponge shapes, dip them in nontoxic tempera paint, and print with them on a large piece of paper.
  • Use other nontraditional materials for painting. A few ideas included feathers, an old toothbrush, pieces of balled-up paper towels, spools, and of course, fingers! Let your imagination guide you!

What brain research says:

Encourage your child’s creativity and imagination, which will develop her abstract thinking and problem-solving skills.


Match Game

Age: 27 to 30 Months

  • Create color cards, shape cards, or animal pictures. Make a pair for each image- two cards that are exactly the same. Hint: Start with three or four matched sets so your child has no more than eight cards (four pairs) to match. When your child is ready, add additional cards.
  • Turn the cards over in a random fashion.
  • Encourage your child to turn over a card and name the color, shape, or animal.
  • Have your child turn over another card, and see if it matches the first one overturned.
  • If the cards do not match, place them back down in the same position and facedown.
  • When two cards are found that match, let your child keep the pair.
  • Continue until all the cards have been matched.

What brain research says:

Trial and error in a loving environment fosters problem-solving skills. 

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