My 2 year old loves her Russian doll. Pulling it apart, rebuilding it. For weeks she struggled with finding the right top and bottom, how to put the smaller, complete figure into the the larger one.
Then a couple of days ago, my partner and I started to line them up. All the heads in a row, all the bottoms in another. She immediately started to do it quicker.
By breaking the task into 2 and simply ordering the pieces in height order we'd made it exponentially easier.
I found myself explaining to her the Victorian obsession with measurement and cataloguing was the driver behind the modern industrial age. That 400 years ago people started to figure out that simply to compile. To develop a more ordered view of the constituent parts of a task - aided understanding.
No big insight. I'd just never thought of problem solving in such simple terms.