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It has been long known that puzzles play a major role in a child’s learning and development. From early childhood right through to adulthood people of all ages can engage with puzzles. Puzzles challenge our thinking and exercise our minds. As much as being an important educational tool, they provide many skills and learning benefits and opportunities. They are also a great source of entertainment.
What we may take for granted as a “toy” is actually a very valuable teaching tool! Toddlers can begin with puzzles consisting of two or three large pieces and then move to more complex puzzles with more pieces that are smaller and more intricate. Adults can also use puzzles to keep their minds sharp. Putting together elaborate jigsaw puzzles or completing crosswords helps activate thoughts and improves memory. Educators often use puzzles to teach and review curriculum material as well as help develop logic and reasoning. Occupational therapists use puzzles to help patients develop fine-motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial skills.
Types of Puzzles
There are hundreds of types of puzzles. Here are just a few types of puzzles that help encourage visual perception, fine-motor skills, thinking, reasoning, and logic. Jigsaw Puzzles, Insert Puzzles, Sorting Puzzles, Connect the dots, Finding hidden objects, Spot the difference, Rubix Cube , Tower of Hanoi, Crossword Puzzles, Mazes, Word Search, Missing Object in picture, Matching Puzzles, Riddles, Sudoku, Pattern Guessing, Cryptoquotes – Choose depending on your child’s age and interest.
8 Benefits of Puzzles for Children
Even in today’s technology-driven games, puzzles continue to be popular. Here are 8 reasons why you should encourage your children to play with puzzles.
Valuable Educational Tool
Jigsaw puzzles of maps, animals, numbers, etc., are a great way of kindling children’s interest in different subjects. They help to develop cognitive, visual-spatial, collaborative and social skills. Puzzles help children gain confidence in a wide array of skills.
Puzzles offer great learning benefits for children. Puzzles offer opportunities to learn many things from shapes, colors, size, numbers – almost everything! They also help teach:
Puzzles need children to fit pieces in the right place. This helps children coordinate their hand and eye movements. The ability to coordinate what the eyes see, with what the brain pictures and what the hands do, takes a lot of practice and puzzles are an enjoyable way to develop this skill.
Fine Motor Skills
Toddlers and Infants need to strengthen the muscles in their fingers so they can grip and hold things. Movement of fingers to get the pieces in the right spot will do just that, which in turn will help them to develop better finger skills.
Puzzles enable children to use adaptable thinking and deductive reasoning skills, trying to find different ways to put the pieces together and work out which piece they need to use where.
Problem Solving / Logical Reasoning
Puzzles encourage children to use their critical thinking skills to complete it. They offer very few chances of cheating or copying! When solving puzzles children need to think about how and where to fit the different pieces and this requires children to apply critical thinking. As they keep solving puzzles, children develop strategies to solve them faster the next time. Thus, puzzles help children to develop and hone critical problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, and logical reasoning ability.
Looking for puzzle pieces or discussing the puzzles help children to use their vocabulary to describe it. Also, the subject matter of the puzzle, such as animals, numbers, shapes, vehicles, will all help encourage speech and identification.
Puzzles help children learn to classify, organize, categorize and label in addition to basic number skills.
Social Interaction & Family Bonding
Puzzles encourage children to work cooperatively with a friend or teammate, as they try to complete the puzzle together chatting while they work out where the pieces need to go, developing a plan to solve. What’s more, you can bond with your children over puzzles!
Improves concentration and memory
Puzzles help to boost memory. It also helps children to improve their ability to focus for long hours, which is a great asset in every walk of life.
Great source of entertainment
Puzzles are a healthy source of entertainment for children. They are interesting and can hold children’s attention and keep them engaged for hours. They exercise the brain while also helping the mind relax by diverting attention from any stressful thoughts.
Wallet-friendly & Reusable
Most puzzles are not expensive also reusable. Children can play with them again and again. You can also use the puzzle in a variety of ways to offer challenges to children. – like setting time limits. You can use this tactic to even teach children about goals – setting and achieving them.
Spurs Imagination and Creativity
Playing with puzzles stimulates brain cells and kindles imagination and creativity.
Teaches patience and perseverance
Solving a puzzle is a challenge, and overcoming any challenge requires time and patience. Children learn patience and perseverance while working on a puzzle, and then are rewarded once it is completed. This boosts their independence and self-esteem as they will feel a sense of accomplishment.
Now that you know about the benefits of puzzles for children, why wait? Head out to the nearest store and gift your child a challenge that he will love to overcome.
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