My son (22 months old) is currently enjoying completing a variety of puzzles. I’ve been amazed at how well he can do them. All my mindees get a great sense of satisfaction from completing puzzles. It’s got me thinking, in addition to being fun to complete, just how good they are for children’s development.
Here at Aston Childcare we have lots of different puzzles for all ages including Number puzzles, Alphabet Puzzles, Sound puzzles, Word puzzles, Shape sorter puzzles, Cube 6-in-1 puzzle, Parts of the body puzzles, Dinosaur puzzle, Large floor Fire engine puzzle, Map of the world puzzle, Solar system space puzzle to name but a few!
Puzzles are great for –
- Fine motor development: Puzzles are a fun way for children to develop their fine motor skills. Children are required to pick up, pinch and grasp pieces and move them around, manipulating them into slots, sorting them and fitting them into the correct places. Small and precise movements, such as the movement of fingers to get a puzzle piece in exactly the right spot, are built and can lead to better handwriting and typing skills.
- Gross Motor Skills: Larger puzzle pieces and stacking puzzle games can enhance the large movements of children to the point where they can then work on their fine motor skills.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: Children will develop a keen relationship between what their eyes see, what their hands do and what their brain relates to this information. Playing with puzzles requires a trial and error process which involves a lot of hand and eye manipulation. For example, as a toddler or child places a piece of the puzzle that does not fit, they will try all over again where their actions involve doing what they actually see.
- Puzzles come in a whole range of themes and topics. It increases their visual spacial awareness and develops a deeper understanding of these themes and topics. All children learn differently and puzzles may be their medium for grasping an understanding of certain themes such as alphabet letters.
- Understanding the surrounding world: Puzzles are a great way for children to gain an understanding of the world around them than by letting them literally manipulate the world around them.
- Shape recognition: First puzzles use simple shapes – triangle, squares and circles. From there more complex shapes are used until the abstract jigsaw puzzles are used.
- Memory: Children have to remember the shape of pieces that don’t fit first when they will fit later on.
- Problem solving: Either the puzzle piece fits or it does not. Children have to use critical thinking skills to solve the puzzle and, best of all, you can’t cheat a puzzle!
- Setting goals: The first goal is to solve the puzzle, the next goal will be a series of strategies children come up with to solve the puzzle. Such as putting familiar shapes or colors in one pile for future reference.
- Patience: Children must practice patience and slowly work through the puzzle before you reach the ending.
- Social: Puzzles are a great educational tool to enhance and promote cooperative play. As children work together to complete a puzzle, they will discuss where a piece should go and why, take turns and share and support each other when handling frustration, then sharing the joy of finishing the puzzle.
- Self Esteem: The accomplishment of achieving a goal brings so much satisfaction to a child. Overcoming the challenges involved in solving a puzzle really gives them a sense of achievement and pride within themselves. It provides a boost to their self-confidence and self-esteem as this prepares them for other challenges in life. Puzzles are a fun educational toy that challenges young minds, teaching and preparing them early in life some very important life skills.
- Problem Solving: Completing a puzzle, even the most simplest of puzzles sets a single goal to achieve. Toddlers and children must think and develop strategies on how to approach in achieving this goal. This process involves problem solving, reasoning skills and developing solutions which they can later be transferred into their personal/adult life.
Areas of Learning Covered: Mathematics, Understanding the World, Communication & Language, Literacy, Expressive Arts and Design, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development