social problem solving skills for elementary students

Teaching Problem Solving to Elementary Students through Videos – 2023

If you are an elementary teacher looking for videos for teaching problem solving, then you found the right place! Videos are a great way to teach social emotional learning skills at the elementary level. They provide both an engaging and informative experience for students to learn about social emotional learning skills. Check out three great videos for teaching problem solving to elementary students below!

social problem solving skills for elementary students

3 Videos for Teaching Problem Solving

Below are 3 quality videos for teaching your elementary students about problem solving.

1. Positive Problem Solving Video

This is a video about positive problem solving. It provides steps for solving problems and explains why the steps are important. After watching the video, ask students to name the problem solving steps. Create an anchor chart with the problem solving steps. This video is 2 minutes and 53 seconds long.

2. Solving Problems with Hunter and Eve Video

Pause :46 and ask students what the problem is and what solutions could they possibly use to solve the problem. After watching the video ask students to name the three problem solving steps the characters used in the video. This video is 3 minutes and 9 seconds long.

3. Big Problems and Small Problems Video

This video explains to students how to be problem detectives and identify if a problem is a big problem or a small problem. After watching the video, ask students what the difference is between a big problem and a small problem. What should students do if they have a big problem? How can they solve small problems? This video is 2 minutes and 56 seconds long.

Download the SEL Activities

Click an image below to either get this  individual problem solving unit  or get ALL  30 SEL units !

In closing, we hope you found these 3 videos for teaching problem solving helpful! They are a great way to engage your students while learning about this important social emotional learning skill. If you enjoyed this post, then you may also be interested in these other posts about social emotional learning.

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social problem solving skills for elementary students


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Teaching Social Problem-Solving with a Free Activity

February 3, 2018 by pathway2success 5 Comments

How to Teach Social Problem Solving with a Free Activity Solving

Kids and young adults need to be able to problem-solve on their own. Every day, kids are faced with a huge number of social situations and challenges. Whether they are just having a conversation with a peer, working with a group on a project, or dealing with an ethical dilemma, kids must use their social skills and knowledge to help them navigate tough situations. Ideally, we want kids to make positive choices entirely on their own. Of course, we know that kids don’t start off that way. They need to learn how to collaborate, communicate, cooperate, negotiate, and self-advocate.

Social problem solving skills are critical skills to learn for kids with autism, ADHD, and other social challenges. Of course, all kids and young adults benefit from these skills. They fit perfectly into a morning meeting discussion or advisory periods for older kids. Not only are these skills that kids will use in your classroom, but throughout their entire lives. They are well worth the time to teach!

Here are 5 steps to help kids learn social problem solving skills:

1. Teach kids to communicate their feelings. Being able to openly and respectfully share emotions is a foundational element to social problem solving. Teaching I statements can be a simple and effective way to kids to share their feelings. With an I statement, kids will state, “I feel ______ when _____.” The whole idea is that this type of statement allows someone to share how their feeling without targeting or blaming anyone else. Helping kids to communicate their emotions can solve many social problems from the start and encourages positive self-expression.

2. Discuss and model empathy. In order for kids to really grasp problem-solving, they need to learn how to think about the feelings of others. Literature is a great way teach and practice empathy! Talk about the feelings of characters within texts you are reading, really highlighting how they might feel in situations and why. Ask questions like, “How might they feel? Why do you think they felt that way? Would you feel the same in that situation? Why or why not?” to help teach emerging empathy skills. You can also make up your own situations and have kids share responses, too.

Developing Empathy

3. Model problem-solving skills. When a problem arises, discuss it and share some solutions how you might go forward to fix it. For example, you might say, “I was really expecting to give the class this math assignment today but I just found out we have an assembly. This wasn’t in my plans. I could try to give part of it now or I could hold off and give the assignment tomorrow instead. It’s not perfect, but I think I’ll wait that way we can go at the pace we need to.” This type of think-aloud models the type of thinking that kids should be using when a problem comes up.

4. Use social scenarios to practice. Give a scenario and have kids consider how that person might feel in that situation. Discuss options for what that person might do to solve the problem, possible consequences for their choices, and what the best decision might be. Kids can consider themselves social detectives by using the clues and what they know about social rules to help them figure out the solution. These are especially fun in small groups to have kids discuss collaboratively. Use these free social problem solving cards to start your kids off practicing!

Social Problem Solving Task Cards

5. Allow kids to figure it out. Don’t come to the rescue when a child or young adult has a problem. As long as it’s not a serious issue, give them time to think about it and use their problem-solving skills on their own. Of course, it’s much easier to have an adult solve all the problems but that doesn’t teach the necessary skills. When a child comes to you asking for your help with a social problem, encourage them to think about it for five minutes before coming back to you. By that point, they might have already figured out possible solutions and ideas and might not even need you anymore.

If you are interested in helping your kids learn social problem solving skills right away, consider trying out these Social Problem Solving Task Cards . They highlight real social scenarios and situations that kids can discuss. The scenarios include a variety of locations, such as in classrooms, with family, with friends, at recess, and at lunch. This set is targeted for elementary-age learners.

Social Scenario Problem Solving Task Cards

Of course, older kids need social problem solving skills, too! If you work with older kids, you will love these Social Problem Solving Task Cards for Middle and High School Kids. These situations target age-appropriate issues that come up in classes, with friends, with family, in the hallway, in the cafeteria, and with online and texting.

Social Problem Solving Task Cards for Middle and High School

Remember that teaching social problem skills does take a little bit of planning and effort, but it will be well worth the time! Kids will use these skills to help them make social decisions in their everyday lives now and in the future!

Social Problem Solving with a Free Activity

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social problem solving skills for elementary students

February 22, 2018 at 12:03 am

Thank you for sharing>

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March 3, 2018 at 8:59 am

Good thought ful

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March 20, 2018 at 9:24 pm

They are not free

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March 21, 2018 at 8:58 am

They are! Here is the link (it’s listed under number 4): https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Free-Social-Problem-Solving-Task-Cards-2026178 I also have a paid version with a bunch more cards (for both elementary and older kids), but that will give you the freebie. Enjoy!

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July 15, 2018 at 3:41 am

Awesome way to teach the skill of social problem solving.

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⭐ Kristina 💖 SEL & Executive Functioning 💻 Blogger at www.thepathway2success.com 👩‍🏫 Special Educator turned Curriculum Specialist Links here 👇

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Interactive resources you can assign in your digital classroom from TPT.

social problem solving skills for elementary students

Easel Activities

social problem solving skills for elementary students

Easel Assessments

Social problem-solving task cards for sel skills and activities.

social problem solving skills for elementary students

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social problem solving skills for elementary students


Build skills for social problem-solving by getting your students talking! Use these 100 task cards to highlight social scenarios and situations that teach social emotional skills at the very same time. Your students can discuss and identify how they would solve each situation. The cards are organized into five different sets that target different situations: With friends, with family, in the classroom, at recess, and at lunch.

These cards are great for students with social difficulties and those who are rigid and might get "stuck" in their way of thinking. Use these task cards to allow students to discuss a variety of social situations and brainstorm for the best solutions to problems.

Digital Version

Digital and print versions are included for these task cards. The digital version includes individual prompts on each card for students to respond to.

Encourage Making Positive Choices

This document includes a "Task Card Discussion Questions" page that allows the teacher and/or the students to guide meaningful questions about each task card. Some of the questions include: "What is the problem in the situation?", "How might you feel?", "What are your options for how you could react?", and "What would be a good choice in this situation?". The questions focus on understanding the situation, considering the perspectives in the problem, considering options, and then making the most positive choice.

How to Use the Task Cards

The task cards can be used in guided small groups, as part of class discussions, or in partner discussion before sharing out with the larger group or class. Regular education teachers, special education teachers, and other support professionals could all benefit from using these task cards with their students. Possible answers are included to help students work as independently as possible.

Note that both color and black/white options are included.

Buy The Bundle and Save Over 20%!

{ Social Skills MEGA PACK Bundle }

Bundle includes over 350 pages focusing on teaching, discussing and practicing social skills. Includes 80 social skills task cards, social scripts, perspective-taking practice, social cue cards, and over 30 lessons with student worksheets.

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Disclaimer: These resources are for supplementary support/education purposes and are not a replacement for education or other necessary supports. Educators, parents, and others who utilize these materials are encouraged to seek out additional support, as needed.

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71+ Free Social Problem-Solving Scenarios

Do you have kiddos who struggle with their social problem-solving skills? Teach your students the simple process of how to solve a problem along with having them review how well their solution worked or didn’t work.

Learning to problem solve is an essential skill that is used not only throughout childhood but also into adulthood. Social problem solving is the ability to change or adapt to undesirable situations that arise throughout our day. On a daily basis, a child will encounter social problems that they will need to solve. Anything from arguing with another student, to hurting a friend’s feelings, to having a difficult conversation, or working with others.

Start with Small Problems

Many of the “problems” children encounter are often small problems which the child may be over-reacting to, such as wanting a different coloring crayon or wanting to be first in line, however, these small problems are still very real to the child. Practicing problem-solving with these small problems can be a great learning opportunity. Children can practice problem-solving with a small problem which can help them learn how to handle bigger problems in the future.

Problem Solving Importance

Social problem-solving skills are critical to a child’s social interactions, personal and professional relationships. A child’s ability to handle change, cope with stress, and handle challenges improves with a child’s ability to successfully solve social problems.

The ultimate goal is that the child will be able to solve social problems all on their own, but until they can independently solve a problem they will need to learn how to communicate and self-advocate to positively solve their problems.  

Students with Autism Problem Solving

Students with autism and other social challenges need to learn to problem solve as well. These social problem-solving skills will help them throughout their childhood and into their adulthood. Children can be taught how to problem solve through a guided process of breaking down the problem and using simple steps to solve the problem. Learning specific steps to problem-solving can allow children to remember how to solve a problem when they become overwhelmed or stressed. Although learning to solve a problem independently can take some time and practice it is well worth the investment to have a child who can eventually solve most social situations in a positive manner on their own.

Make Problem Solving Easier with this Freebie!

Download yours today to get started.

social problem solving skills for elementary students

Problem Solving Form

Teach your students the 4 steps to becoming a social problem-solver.

Problem Solving Graphic Organizer

What we learnt about solving problems is don't freak out, if one thing doesn't work , try something else out. And work together as a team. #melthammathsweek #MELTHAMPUPILVOICE @problemsolveit pic.twitter.com/iVm1Im4Aue — yr6melthamce (@yr6melthamce) February 4, 2019

Problem Solving Review Form

After your students go through the social problem-solver have them use the social problem-solving review form.


71+ Social Problem Scenarios + 6 Blank Scenarios

Use the 71 social problem-solving scenarios to have your students get great experience practicing how to solve a social problem. Also, included are 6 blank scenarios. Then laminate them so you can use them over and over again. Therefore, create social problems that the student experiences and needs help solving.

Problem Solving Scenarios

Wordless Video teaching Problem Solving

Watch this super cute wordless animation with your students and have them discuss the problem they see and how to best solve the problem.

Use this as a fun practice example to get your students started towards learning how to problem-solve.

Demonstrate Through Modeling

Teach Communication

Encourage Independency

Teach How to Disagree and How to Make Up

Get your free social problem solver today!

I hope you and your students love this freebie!

Students are really having to stretch their brains today. It's @NSPCC #NumberDay and @problemsolveit are challenging Y9 and 10 to solve the escape room boxes. It's not as easy as it looks! The promise of a few sweet treats for the winners seems to be helping though! pic.twitter.com/AxRRJnJIv2 — CongletonHS (@CongletonHS) February 2, 2018

Have your students use task card scenarios to help them identify how they and others might feel in different social scenarios. Be sure to discuss the problem, identify possible solutions, identify the consequences of those possible solutions, and then based on those consequences pick the best solution. Make social problem-solving a game by telling the students that they are social detectives and that it is their job to use what they know about social rules to help them identify the possible and best solutions. Start practicing today with 71+ free social problem social task cards! Do your students need more practice? Be sure to check out my other freebie for 31 wordless animated videos to teach problem-solving and so much more.

Get More Problem Solving Time Saving Materials

Next, be sure to check out the following time-saving materials to continue to teach your students how to solve their social problems in addition to this freebie.

Weekly Social Pragmatics Homework

Social Pragmatics Homework

Weekly Social Pragmatics

Restorative Justice Problem Solving Flip Book

Restorative Justice

restorative justice

Self-Advocating Role-Play Scenarios

Self Advocating

Self Advocating Practice

5th-12th Grade Life Skills Problem Solving

Life Skills Social Skills

social problem solving skills for elementary students

I recommend you read Problem Solving Wheel: Help Kids Solve Their Own Problems , 61+ Free Fillable SLP Planner Pages 2020-2021 , 430+ Free Multisyllabic Words List Activity Bundle , or 432+ Free IEP Goal Bank to Save You Time posts because they include freebies as well and who doesn’t want more freebies!

Got questions? Leave a comment. Let’s chat!

Monday 30th of January 2023

Hello! I have entered my name and email twice (yesterday & today) to receive to 71+ Free Social Problem-Solving Senarios, but I have not received anything yet. Not even an email back to mine in order to subcribe. Thanks for your help! Tracy

Melissa Berg

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

Hi Tracy, Thanks so much for reaching out! Sorry about that. We went ahead and sent you an email with the PDF attached. Wishing you all my best, Melissa

Problem Solving Skills

Tuesday 30th of August 2022

I truly love your site. Excellent colors, theme and writing. Thanks for sharing.

Laura Ricca

Monday 11th of April 2022

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Hi Laura, I'm glad you found this resource helpful. Melissa

Modified Mental Health and Suicide Prevention - Speech Therapy Store

Monday 11th of May 2020


Problem Solving Wheel: Help Kids Solve Their Own Problems - Speech Therapy Store

Monday 4th of May 2020

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