Look at what the child does when pieces are missing from a desired routine or play activity.
Provide a toy or materials needed for a situation, but omit a key element or two (e.g., plates with no utensils, doll with no clothing, puzzle with pieces missing).
See if the child understands what is needed to reach his desired goal. Watch for the child to request or search for what is missing. This indicates the child has an idea and plan for what to do in a given situation.
Explain that not having everything set up perfectly is a good way to encourage children to think for themselves. It makes them consider what is needed and then problem solve how to find it.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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