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Today's focus is problem solving and reasoning!


Every term we have do a range of activities that develop problem solving and reasoning skills. These are equally important as other maths skills and where possible we try to build these in to many cross-curricular activities. Over the next two days we are going to focus on reasoning skills, building on the sorting we have done yesterday. 


For this activity you will need a range of shoes, boots, sandals, slippers and wellies (singles only) of different colours, styles, shapes, ways in which they secure to the foot (buckle, lace, velcro, slip-on), and sizes. 



*Ask them to look at the shoes and see if they can tell you anything that they notice about them. They may respond with "they are our shoes" or "these are my shoes". Keep asking them, what else do you notice? This is encouraging your child to look more closely and carefully at the shoes in front of them. Some have laces, some are velcro, some are black etc. All of this detail is really important and a key part of developing reasoning skills is about noticing the detail!


*Now ask them to identify a shoe that has black on it. This could be the lace, the sole, the fabric. It can even be a tiny brand label on the tongue, or even in the liner. Really encourage your child to look closely and make sure that their selections meet the criteria. Don't stop until they have identified them all. If they get stuck remind them to look at all the detail on the shoe.


*Now put all the shoes back and give a criterion of two - for example, brown with laces. Again, making sure that once they have chosen the shoes that they check closely their answers. Once complete again put these back in with the rest of the shoes. 


*Time to play 'Missing Shoes!' This activity is written for a small group of children with a teacher, but it works perfectly with just you and your child.

Need a stepping stone?

Narrow down the wide range of shoes that you have found. This will help focus your child and not become too distracted. Remember to not give your child the answers but to gently prompt or ask questions to get them thinking. It takes time to develop problem solving and reasoning skills. 


Other games such as 'Guess Who' board game or age-appropriate 'spot the difference' puzzles will really help to focus your child to look carefully for differences and to spot detail. 


Need a further challenge?

Ask your child to help you find the best shoes for the different seasons. What shoe would be best for Autumn? Once they have selected the shoe ask them for a reason why, encouraging them to explain their choice. If their response is short or without detail then ask for me information. It is natural for us to give the first answer but with problem solving and reasoning we try hard to explore and delve as a far as is reasonable.