Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hooked on puzzles

My daughter is currently hooked on puzzles. While other children have stories at bedtime, we actually do a combo of puzzles and story books. Every night. And not just one puzzle, mind you, we do about 4 puzzles each. She likes it when she and Daddy or Mommy (whoever turn it is to put her to bed that night) work on the puzzles separately but she likes it more when she finishes her puzzle early and she gets to help out Daddy or Mommy finish theirs. 

I mentioned before in a previous blog post. that we started out buying puzzles so she could practice at home since she was doing them at school. These were the starter puzzles, 5 in a box, with differing number of pieces, starting from maybe 6 pieces all the way up to 10. But now a few months later, she can already work out 48 piece puzzles on her own.

If you have a child that's in preschool or even in school this would be a great activity to do at home. 

According to sensory edge, which is an online resource for anything related to children, the following are skills enhanced by playing with puzzles: 

Cognitive skills: Puzzles improve a child's problem solving and reasoning skills. It helps them to see whole-part relationships, increase their visual spacial awareness.

Fine motor skills: Puzzles are a fun way to improve fine motor skills. Fine motor manipulation is key for writing but children start learning this skill long before they can hold a crayon or a pencil.

Hand-eye coordination: As a child places each piece in the puzzle they are manipulating it to see if it fits. Their hand-eye coordination is enhanced through this trial and error process.

Social skills: Puzzles can be done alone but also a great way to foster cooperative play.

Of course, you still need to find the appropriate puzzles for your child though you don't necessarily need to strictly adhere to the age recommendation on the box. For example, we realized when we bought the starter box that she could already do all the puzzles in one go and so a week later we already moved our daughter up to 24 piece puzzles. 

Age isn't the only consideration, you need to check for quality of the material as well. Most will be in sturdy cardboard but for younger children, wood-based puzzles are better since they're only starting to manipulate objects and might handle puzzles roughly.

Design is also another area to consider. My favorite puzzles show not just pictures of cartoon characters but show the alphabet and various fruits and vegetables. So she can also learn something new while she's doing her puzzle.

Below are some of our daughter's puzzles:

 Fairy Floor Puzzle with large-size pieces bought from prologue.

Set of 4 puzzles based on Disney characters, 24 piece puzzles, wooden material and comes in a box bought from Toys'r'us.

Alphabet and Fruit and Vegetable puzzles, 48 pieces each bought from Robinson's. 

Ravensburger 3-in-1 puzzle set, 25- 36- and 49-piece puzzles. Winnie the Pooh design.

It's actually quite mentally stimulating and way more interesting than reading Dora books out loud for the nth time. A win win situation for both children and parents. 

No comments:

Post a Comment