Little Detectives (Problem Solving)

Teaching little minds how to solve problems is a big deal. They often say "I can't" before they even try. Being a problem solver is a huge step towards independence! For preschoolers, solving mysteries sounds like a lot of fun, so we will use that term to help get them engaged in these lessons.

Circle Time Activity:  To begin this lesson, talk to the kids about solving mysteries. What is a mystery? A mystery is when you find something that you do not have an explanation for. To solve a mystery, you must investigate or find out about the mystery, ask questions, look for clues, and try to solve the problem. When they come across a problem and they aren't sure what to do, what next? Cry? Ask for help? Try to see what might work (investigate)? 

Mark 2 lines on the floor using masking tape. Make the lines about 1 foot apart. Crumple up a piece of paper and place it inside the lines. Tell the children to solve the mystery of how to make the paper move to the outside of the line without touching it. Let them investigate or try to think of ways to accomplish this. Before they try something, ask them to tell you about it or ask you questions. Guide them and give them some examples of your own, if necessary. If they try something and it does not work, make sure to encourage them to try another way. Once the task has been accomplished, discuss the process of solving the problem. They should feel proud that they were able to work through and solve the mystery!


M is for Mystery! Color the letter M coloring page. Trace the letter with your finger and then with a crayon. Also help them work through the letter M sound worksheet.

M Sounds                             Letter M Traceable


Mystery Bag

Use a small bag which is thin but isn't see through. Collect some basic items that could be guessed by this age group pretty easily. These items could be a plate, diaper, toy car, duplo block, stuffed animal, hanger, etc.

Without them being able to see, place 1 item in the bag and close up the top. Pass it around to each child and ask them to feel it and try to guess what it is, but do not say it yet. Once each child has had a chance to feel it, see if anyone knows what it is. If they do, let them guess and show it to them if they are right. If they do not know what is in the Mystery Bag, discuss how they can figure it out without opening the bag. Ask questions: is it hard or soft, is it heavy or light, if you thump it does it make a sound, does it have a smell? Work through each item until all items have been guessed correctly.


Size Sorting

Provide a large bowl with beans, rice and salt mixed together. Give the children a spoon, a strainer and a colander and ask them to figure out how to sort the items into 3 smaller bowls. Watch how they process through the mystery! If they need a hint, give them one. Once they have completed the task, talk about why and how the different sifters worked for the different sized items.


Puzzle Craft

You can use coloring book pictures, pictures from magazines, photographs of people, etc
Cut a picture into multiple pieces to make a puzzle.
In order to solve the mystery of what the picture is, they will have to solve the puzzle!
Give the pieces to a child and have them put it back together and glue it to a piece of construction paper. When they have figured out what the picture is, they need to tell you. They should get a sticker for solving their mystery!



Memory Game

If you have the game Memory, you can use that. Or you can make one of your own! DLTK has printable memory cards that you can customize! Since St. Patrick's Day is this weekend, you can use these:

If you want to create your own, use this link:


Same & Different

Use these worksheets to talk about things that are the same and things that are different


Detectives are special police officers who solve mysterious crimes. They find clues, like pieces of a puzzle, and put them all together to find out what happened. When they solve a crime, the person who did the crime will get punished.


There are some really cool online problem solving games available on Check them out HERE.


Mystery Bag

Mystery Bag, Mystery Bag
What is inside the Mystery Bag?

Little Joe

Find this on!  It is a really cute song about a little boy who comes home to find his caterpillar missing. Solve the mystery of where he went!



A story about a boy who is afraid to go to the playground because of a bully. Find out how he solves this problem!


    Find out how this man solves his pesky problem!


Mystery Snack

This one isn't really about cooking. Place any snack you wish into the Mystery Bag. Describe it to the kids and let them solve the mystery! When they figure it out, they can eat it.



St. Patrick's Day Craft

DLTK has a really easy and fun Shamrock Craft HERE. It comes with a fun song too!


  1. This is just what I was looking for...for my preschoolers. Thanks for doing the work!!

    1. You are very welcome! Let me know how it works out for your class :)