Presenting Two Kids Short stories on problem solving
Short Story One: Solving problems with Lateral Thinking
Emperor Akbar held a grand court. Many foreign dignitaries visited his court. One of the many attractions of Akbar’s court was his witty minister Birbal. Word of his wit and thought process had reached many a lands.
Once a visiting foreign dignitary wanted to test the witty minister Birbal’s intelligence. He presented the court with two garlands. Both were exceptionally beautiful with natural colours. Exhibiting these in front of all the ministers, the foreign dignitary said, “Only one of the garlands is made of real flowers. The other one is made of artificial flowers. I challenge Birbal to find out which is the real one.”
The garlands were made in such a way that the texture, colour and even the fragrance of the flowers of both the garlands were alike. There was literally no difference difference between the two garlands.
Birbal thought silently for sometime. He knew that the flowers looked, felt and smelt the same. He realised that he would never be able to solve it himself. He wondered if there was somebody else who might be able to. After some thought, he took the garlands to the garden. He asked the dignitary to accompany him.He carefully placed both the garlands on a bench and waited for a few minutes. In a few minutes, butterflies and bees started to buzz around one garland, smaller insects also started marching towards the same garland. While human beings could not differentiate the two garlands, the insects could.
Birbal then handed the garland made with real flowers to the dignitary. He was amazed at Birbal’s thinking skills.
When we come across problems in life, we should stop for a bit and think about solutions. While sometimes a problem might appear too complex at the first go, you can break down the problem into smaller parts and you may also consider seeking help from experts.
As you can observe from the story, Birbal breaks the problem into small pieces. How do I differentiate a real flower from a fake flower? I can feel it , but both flowers feel the same in this case. I can smell it, but both flowers smell the same. They look alike too.Then Birbal thinks of someone who might be able to help him. The garden insects!!
You can also present this story as a puzzle to kids and give them clues and see if they are able to solve it
Short Story Two: Problem solving through power of Observation
Krishnadeva Raya was a king of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 16th Century. He was famed for being a very just king. In his court, was a minister Tenali Rama. Not only was Tenali Rama a great minister, he was also smart and a detective of sorts.
Once to Krishnadeva Raya’s counrt, entered two men asking for justice. One of them was an oil merchant and another was a rice merchant. The king asked Tenali Rama to take care of this issue.
Tenali Rama asked for all the details. The rice merchant explained, Ddear minister, this man(pointing to the oil merchant) entered my shop and asked for a kilo of rice. I went to the storeroom to get a bag of rice. When I was away, he stole money from my tressure box and tried to give the same money back claiming it to be his. “
The oil merchant did not agree. He claimed to be innocent. He maintained, “ the money I gave belongs to me.”
Tenali Rama thought for a while and asked the rice merchant to show the coins, which the oil merchant had given to him. He took the coins in hand and carefully examined it. Within a couple of minutes Tenali Rama understood that the coins belonged to the oil merchant and he had not cheated as claimed by the rice merchant.
When Rama was asked for proof, he said that the coins were smellingof oil and had stains of oil on it. As the oil merchant would be dealing with oil products, the coins would naturally have stains of oil on them. With that he could conclude that the rice merchant was cheating.
The rice merchant confessed and the oil merchant was happy .
This short story is a great example to give kids as an example for problem solving. In this case, obsrevation can be highlighted as a part of problem solving.
You may ask your kids questions during the reading of the story, such as how would you solve the problem. You can keep giving clues and prod the kid towards solving the problem. This way the story reading time becomes a great conversation builder with kids.
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About the Author:
Smitha Prasad is a budding writer who writes articles and short stories for kids. She believes that childhood is the right age to inculcate the right values in kids. It helps them to develop into confident adults. She designs and runs a kid’s magazine called A LITTLE MORE-An Engaging booklet, through which she tries to reach kids that helps kids stay away from screen, build conversations and build the right mindset in kids