Puzzles are known to be really great for children. They are not only entertaining and can keep your child occupied for a long time, they are also a great way for bonding between parents and children; and if done together by more than 1 child, they help learning a virtue of cooperation.
Here are some other important benefits of other puzzle making activities:
– Hand-eye coordination
– Gross motor skills development
– Fine motor skills development
– Shape recognition development
– Problem solving skills development
– Short and long memory development
– Attention span development
– Creative thinking and imagination development
Not all children are interested in puzzle from a very early age. However, there comes time when they get very interested and can sit with puzzles for a very long time.
How to encourage a puzzle activity? Here are some tips I used with our older daughter and with children I taught in the past:
1. Start with simple puzzles (2 pieces are the best). Children get familiarized with the pictures and the concept and you will notice when they are ready for more.
2. It is the best to use puzzles made from harder material (e.g. cardboard paper, plastic, wood). Soft paper can become a choking hazard.
3. Choose puzzles according to your child’s current interest or the theme that you are currently using to introduce to your child (animals, plants, objects, shapes etc).
4. Start with basic colours and not too colourful puzzles. Why? Because for a very young child a burst of colours can be very confusing and hard to process. Basics and simple colour schemes are easier to recognize and manipulate.
5. Making your own puzzles from the safe materials is always the best choice. Your child can participate in puzzle-making by helping to cut or tear a picture.
6. For older children puzzles that require colouring after being assembled are tons of fun. Some companies make puzzles that are made for dry-erase crayons or markers that can be coloured on numerous times.
7. Always supervise puzzle-making activity with your young child. Talk through the process. And of course, help when needed. The child will be more interested in puzzle making when it is an accompanied activity. Later, when he grows older it becomes more independent type of activity.
Does your child enjoy making puzzles? I’d love to hear about it from you!