Creative Solutions: A Balloon for Isabel

We just found a book at the library that we love.

A Balloon for Isabel by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Laura Rankin, 2010, Greenwillow Books.

It’s the story of a little porcupine named Isabel and her friend, Walter who want balloons for graduation, but they are told that they can’t have them because of their quills.  So, Isabel comes up with a myriad of solutions until they can find the perfect one.  It is clever and fun and the pictures are delightful. My daughters and I giggle every time we read it.

I especially love it because of the emphasis on finding different ways to fix a problem.  Creative problem solving is an important aspect of development and can be easily cultivated by allowing our children to come up with the answers.

An example of this happened at our house a few days ago.  We were working on a craft for a doll house.  It was a miniature beach towel and sun umbrella.  My two year old kept singing “Party on the beach”  – a song that she had made up.

While we were working on the umbrella, I didn’t have the lollipop stick that the directions called for.  I asked my five year old what she thought we should do.  Apparently, she’s been through my craft boxes more than I have lately, because she pulled out some wooden manicure sticks that I didn’t know we had.  They worked like a charm!

Two things to remember – have them find solutions to things that can have unusual answers (that you’re willing to follow through on), and if you are unable to use their ideas, still praise them for thinking of a solution.

What are some ways that you teach your children to be creative problem solvers?

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