Featured Summer Adventure Activity: Find Different Ways to Solve a Problem from a Story

This is a guest blog written by Andrea Davis & Chris Kyauk. 

Looking for More Adventure?  

We are on the final stretch of our Summer Adventure. What an incredible journey it's been! 

To celebrate, we have a guest post about problem-solving by Andrea Davis, Alameda County Library’s Family Services Coordinator, and Chris Kyauk, Alameda County Library’s Coordinator of Innovation and Cultivation.  Together, they enjoyed finding different ways to solve a problem from a story. You can try it too as an activity for Summer Adventure, and submit your response through our submission form for the chance to win a prize! 

Find different ways to solve a problem from a story 

Quite often in the stories we read, watch, and listen to, the story involves solving a problem. Maybe the problem is about giving a mouse a cookie, or monkeys that have stolen all our hats, or how to save an astronaut who got left behind on Mars, or how to deal with difficult feelings. What if you had to solve a problem like that? What if there was no right or wrong answer? What would you do? 

To show the many ways a problem could be solved, we recently asked children in Cherryland to solve a specific problem from the story, “Soy un barquito.” We invite you to problem solve along with us!  

Problem to solve: Build a boat that can float on water and be moved by wind. Get creative using everyday materials you can find lying around. For example, instead of a straw you can use a pencil, or a rolled up piece of newspaper. 

Example Supplies: 

  • Cardboard Tray, or an Empty Container
  • Straw or Pencil or Chopstick
  • A piece of paper or Fabric
  • Tape or Glue or Play Dough
  • Coloring materials like Crayons, Colored Pens or Pencils


Image Credit: Little Boat / Soy un Barquito by Thomas Docherty 

We saw a lot of different solutions to the problem. 




Being good at problem-solving is important because sometimes we need to fix something without having everything we need. Often it is being willing to say, “Let’s give this a try.” Problem-solving has many other names. It is sometimes called  “design thinking” or “engineering thinking.” At the Library, we have been working to build this type of open-minded thinking into our programs!  


The children who built boats were learning design thinking, they just didn’t realize it! 

Empathy: Our little boat wants to sail the seven seas. 

Define the Problem: Our little boat needs to float on water and be moved by wind. 

Brainstorm: How can we build a boat with a limited set of supplies? 

Little Bet: Build a boat! 

Test: See if the boat floats and is moved by wind 

Thank You for Adventuring with Us!  

Thank you to everyone who has participated so far! Feel free to submit as many activities as you’d like through August 15. Check out what other people have been doing in the Submission Showcase on our Summer Adventure webpage 

Did you know that we also have a Summer Adventure survey available right now? Your feedback helps us plan for future adventures. If you haven’t had the chance, please take a couple of minutes to share your thoughts. As a thank you, those that submit a survey will be entered into a bonus prize drawing. If you have already submitted a survey, thank you for helping us ensure that every summer continues to adapt and improve! 

We’re so happy to have you on this adventure with us! 

Ready for an Adventure? 

There are plenty of ways to adventure with the Library this summer. Every week we have story lists and programs related to our theme, A World of Stories. 

Imagine Writing That! - Summer Adventure 2021

List created by ACLVivianJ

Children: Here are some books to spark your imagination and encourage you to try your hand at creative writing. Alameda County Library invites you to come along for our 2021 Summer Adventure, A World of Stories! From June 15 to August 15, let’s explore new and creative ways to share our stories while also learning about others’ stories through listening, watching, and of course—reading! Pick up an Adventure Guide at any AC Library location starting June 15.

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