Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to help the brain function properly later in life, but what benefits do they have for young children? Here are some key facts to show that puzzles are the perfect brain food, no matter your age.
Our Play Packs contain a storybook, activity book and jigsaw puzzle, and are perfect for using at home or when travelling.
1. Basic concepts and skills
A puzzle teaches young children about the concept of a 'whole' and that each piece is a fraction of the bigger picture. It also helps develop basic skills such as shape recognition, concentration, goal setting, patience and a sense of achievement, which will stand children in good stead for starting school. Puzzles are mind-boggling to a child when they first start, but don't worry and it's ok to help them. Point out why the pieces fit together – e.g. half a flower on each piece – and your child will soon pick it up.
2. Physical skills
Puzzles help develop hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills due to the precise nature of matching each piece exactly. Some correlation can be seen in a child's ability to complete puzzles and their handwriting skills as they have to work carefully. To make it easier, try to do puzzles on a hard surface and lay each piece the right way round. If your child finds it overwhelming, simply give them just a few pieces at a time to choose from.
3. Problem solving
Critical thinking, judgement, visual-perceptual skills and memory are all tested with a puzzle. There is only one way to complete a puzzle and it cannot be cheated. Children will find that they improve with each puzzle as they start to think more logically and develop tactics. Some children may want to group pieces by colour, by straight edges and middle pieces, or just follow the picture and look for single pieces. Whatever works!
4. Team work
Sometimes children will take on the challenge of a larger puzzle with a friend or grown-up. One child could be in charge of finding the outside edges while another focuses on an element within it – communication and working things out together is key to completing the puzzle as a team.
Take a look at our new Play Packs for children aged 3+. They each contain a jigsaw puzzle, mini activity book, mini storybook and push out characters, all in a handy carry case. The Play Packs are perfect for using at home, travelling to at a place that requires distraction (e.g. hospital, dentist, restaurant).