Puzzles comes in all different shape, sizes, themes and colors.
Puzzles can be played from early childhood straight through to adulthood.
I just love the way puzzle building challenges my thinking and it’s good exercise for our brains too.
I would like to share a few benefits and how to get your little one engaging puzzle play.
The benefits that comes with playing puzzles;
- Hand & eye coordination
When your toddler is playing with the puzzle. They flip, turn, remove, place etc. the puzzle pieces. This helps to connect their hands and their eyes.
- Fine motor skills
Fine motor skills require small, specialized movements that puzzle play provide.
- Shape recognition
Puzzles comes in a whole range of themes, colors and topics. This helps your little one with shape recognition. All puzzles needs to be recognized and sorted before they can be assembled. Learning to sort and recognize shapes is very important part your toddlers development.
When doing a simple jigsaw puzzle, your toddler will try and fit the puzzle piece, when it doesn’t fit it will be put aside. He or she will then have to remember that puzzle piece for when it is needed at a later stage.
- Problem solving
As your toddler looks at the various puzzle pieces, trying to figure out where they fit, he or she is developing the valuable and very important skill of problem solving and logical thinking. Puzzles gives them the opportunity to practice the trial and error method of finding a solution.
- Spatial Language
Puzzle play may increase children’s exposure to spatial language as parents frequently use such terms (e.g., “edge”, “flat”, “straight”, “corner”, “curve”, “side”, “top”, “bottom”, “long”, “short”, “inside”, “outside”, “between”, “upside down”, “flip”) to guide children’s efforts during puzzle play.
- Social skills
When playing a puzzle with others, your toddler will have to communicate when a puzzle piece is required or to instruct where the piece should fit.
- Self esteem
I have seen this in Mason (my eldest) over and over. When he completes a puzzle he is on such a high. Achieving a goal brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in any child, this in turn boosts their pride and builds self confidence.
Puzzles can’t be completed by cheating , they take a lot of patience and concentration. Your toddler must practice patience and slowly work through the puzzle before they are rewarded on completion of the puzzle.
How to get your little one to engage in puzzles;
- Ensure the puzzle is age appropriate
You don’t want the puzzle to be too easy so your little one can do it eyes-closed, and you also don’t want it to be so difficult that the challenge frustrates them to a point of giving up or damages their emotional skills.
(All puzzles do indicate what ages are appropriate for the specific puzzle)
- Ensure the puzzle is of interest
Mason currently loves everything and anything Ben10, so he would want to engage and complete the Ben10 puzzle rather than an ABC one.
Find something your little one is obsessed or an fanatic about. Smaller children (babies) would rather engage in a colorful, bright and fun puzzle.
- Try and encourage them
Encourage your toddler on completing the puzzle, even if this means you need to work with them. This way you will also have some quality time with your little one. – BONUS!