Ever felt the urge to complete the puzzle in one go? Yes! The joy of putting that last piece of puzzle in its place can’t be explained in words.
Puzzles are something that are there in the market for a toddler upto an adult. That’s how versatile and gripping they are. It can be an individual play or all family can enjoy it together.
A very engaging alternative to screen, puzzles are a major learning tool that help in cognitive development of kids like no other game.
Joining the pieces bit by bit to achieve that final picture, helps in the brain development of kids as they are manipulating the world around them through puzzles. Encouraging your kids to do puzzles can help in early brain development of kids and you’ll soon see how they outgrow their age!
They are challenging at the same time relaxing for the young minds.
They can be played over ‘n over and can also be swapped with the friends.
There’s a whole array of things child gain from puzzles, but here are some amazing benefits of puzzles to ponder on:
- Improves hand-eye coordination
Hand-eye coordination is a very basic and important skill that should develop at an early age. Solving puzzles help kids to coordinate what they see with the movement of hands. They see the color, shape and pattern of the puzzle piece and by the help of the brain place it in the correct slot with their hands.
- Refines fine-motor ability
To make those clumsy hands dextrous enough to handle spoon, pencil, crayon, or to button a shirt or lace a shoe, give them lots of puzzles to play with. They provide numerous ways for the kids to handle puzzle pieces with pincer grip, holding and manipulating them before fitting in the right place. Don’t be tempted to step in to help them out, let them explore and practice independently until they seek assistance.
- Enhances memory and concentration
To solve a puzzle, a child needs to remember and recall as to how different pieces fit together, specially when they solve it over and over again. This helps to build short-term memory by increasing and reinforcing the connections between the brain cells. A study reveals playing jigsaw puzzles also helps to reduce memory loss and dementia later in life.
Once they are pretty good at assembling a puzzle, set a time limit for them to complete the puzzle for some added speed benefit. This way they learn how to achieve goals within time.
It also helps children to focus for a long period of time as they get an opportunity to work on one task uninterrupted.
They learn patience and perseverance along the way.
- Boosts problem solving and critical thinking
Solving a puzzle is a problem, which requires logical reasoning and creativity to figure out how to put it together.
Kids need to work on different strategies to complete the puzzle, such as sorting, organising and assembling the pieces before they find the correct fit for them. These strategies help kids understand the way to problem solve later in life.
As the puzzles are auto-correcting, they force a child to think critically that a certain piece will fit in a certain place only. So there are no shortcuts.
- Develop Spatial awareness
Spatial awareness is being aware of yourself and objects in space and their interrelation, when still and also while moving. Spatial awareness comes into play in a big way while solving puzzles.
As a child try to deduce where to fit in a piece, they’ll explore the colour, size and shape by moving, turning and interlocking them in the right place.
With young kids try to use a lot of spatial language like ‘between’, ‘below’, ‘big’, ‘small’, ‘above’, ‘near’, ‘over’ , ‘together’, etc.
- Stimulates learning new things
Puzzles come in a range of topics, from animals to plants, maps to solar system, numbers to letters, fairy tales to body parts. There are myriad of options to choose from. They are a great way to arouse children’s interest in different subjects, and they learn while having fun.
You can educate the kids by sharing more subject related information about the puzzle.
- Build on Social skills
While working together with a friend or a family person to solve a puzzle, a child is practicing vital life skills of teamwork, communication, building friendships, sharing, taking turns, helping each other and lot more. They understand how to work in collaboration with cooperation and courtesy, which is a very important life skill as well.
- Better self-esteem
Placing that last piece of puzzle in its place brings a sense of accomplishment. It boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem which in turn encourages them to take bigger challenges. The great feeling of converting what was a mess initially into an organized beautiful picture, more so independently, is unfathomable.
Besides these you won’t need to pay a lot for the puzzles as they come in very affordable prices. Check out some amazing puzzles at Matoyi.
To make the puzzles interesting and engaging, they should be age appropriate with the right difficulty level. If it does not match the comprehension of the child, he’ll lose interest and may further refuse to try solving a puzzle again in the future. Once he is adept in solving a particular puzzle, bring home one with a higher difficulty level, and see how proficient he becomes in problem-solving: a skill valuable in later life.
Also take care of the kid’s interest and safety concern before choosing a puzzle.
How to find the right puzzle?
To find the right puzzle for your child, consider the factors listed below.
- Number and size of pieces : It’s very necessary that the number of pieces in a puzzle meet the ability of a child to assemble them in one whole picture. Younger kids will need a fewer pieces which are easy to assemble. Gradually introduce more complex puzzles with more puzzle pieces, to keep their interest and learning intact.
Also consider the size of the puzzle pieces, younger the child, bigger and thicker the pieces should be.
Scan the age level mentioned on the puzzle boxes before buying one.
- Topic of the puzzle : The right puzzle picture can motivate a child to embark on the puzzle solving journey. It depends on his age and interest as to what entices him the most, a cartoon character or a map, landscapes or animals, stories or maths. Selecting a puzzle which fascinate a child will definitely hold his interest for a much longer time.
- Type of puzzle : With a plethora of puzzles available in the market, there are two broad categories of puzzles: inset and jigsaw. Inset puzzles are perfect for babies and toddlers who are starting to develop their fine motor skills like pincer grip. They can again be classified in two types: knob/peg puzzles and chunky puzzles.
Jigsaws are interlocking puzzles that can be frame, floor or 3D puzzles, intended for growing and grown-up children.
- Material : Puzzles can be made from wood, cardboard or foam. Cardboard puzzles can easily wear and tear, and foam puzzles can be a choking hazard due to small tear able parts, so they are not recommended for babies and toddlers.
Wooden puzzles are the safest and best option as they are sturdy and mostly inset and frame puzzles, made specially for the babies and young kids.
By considering these factors, you’ll be able to select the ideal puzzle for your child, that will not just keep him hooked but also help build various skills.
Puzzles are the most popular game for all age groups, that are challenging and fun at the same time!
Give them a challenge, they’ll love to overcome!