How Can I Help My Child with Puzzles?
With National Puzzle Day right around the corner, we are looking at everything that is so special about the joy of the jig. Did you know that there are many wonderful skills that children can learn when completing their favourite cardboard conundrum? Join Jaques of London, as we take a look at how you can help your kids get the most of out their next jigsaw and achieve puzzle perfection.
Pick a Puzzle they will be Excited to Complete – Placing the tip upon the Eiffel Tower may seem like a rewarding task for a lover of all things Paris. However, it isn’t likely to inspire the younger members of our family to complete their jig journey. So, when it comes to inspiring learning through puzzle play, be sure to match the puzzle to the participant. Whether that means a dinky dinosaur puzzle for an aspiring archaeologist, or a fantasy fairy puzzle for those with imaginative minds, there is always the perfect puzzle match to be made.
Pick the Right Puzzle for the Right Age-Range - Mozart began with a single note. When it comes to becoming a puzzle maestro, the same principle applies. We can’t expect to run before we can crawl, so 1000-piece puzzles are not likely to inspire toddlers onto greater things. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent options when introducing kids to the world of jigsaws:
- Peg Puzzles – Piecing together early fine motor skills is one of the essential skills we learn when first experimenting with puzzle play. Peg puzzles provide newbies with the most accessible way to enjoy learning these key skills. Check out the Jaques of London Shape Puzzle – the ideal way to teach shapes and colours, whilst building upon physical early-learning activities.
- Single Piece Puzzles – Shape sorting toys are well known for their ability to boost motor skills whilst helping youngsters develop key problem-solving abilities. Single piece puzzle sets serve the exact same purpose. Built specifically for little hands, these simple single piece puzzle boards for kids also help with basic shape recognition – the perfect starting point for a lifelong love of all things puzzles.
- Moving on Up – Having completed single piece puzzles, there are plenty of steps available to graduate into a puzzle pro. Two piece puzzles give way to three piece puzzles. Before you know it, your puzzling pup will have developed into a jigsaw genius
Be a Puzzle Pal - When advancing on to larger puzzles, allow your child to determine their own level of interest. Larger puzzles can be quite daunting at first, so why not play puzzle pal to your little learner and leave a partially completed puzzle for them to attempt to continue. By doing so, you will allow them to gain a more natural level of confidence with completing difficult tasks.
Sort Edges from Cut-Outs – Larger puzzles present many chances for our kids to develop important cognitive skills, but some of these challenges can be quite daunting to a puzzle apprentice. One of the trickiest tasks is locating the pieces that form the frame of your picture. Picking out these straight edged pieces is the perfect place to start when moving on from simpler jigsaw designs. So, be sure to explain the basic steps of completing the puzzle to your child. If they still struggle, you can always help them out by piecing the frame together yourself, allowing them to attempt to continue your hard work.
Wooden Puzzles – When introducing toddlers to puzzles, it is important to consider the size of the pieces and the materials used. Teething toddlers love to introduce every new toy and game to their gums, making traditional cardboard pieces a certain disaster. Fortunately, wooden puzzles are not only easier for youngsters to get to grips with, but wont fall to pieces after being used as a temporary dummy. When it comes to junior jigsaw makers, always stick to more durable materials.
Sort by Colours
Toddler puzzles give us the perfect chance to boost colour recognition, with vibrant prime colours forming some of the best puzzles for toddlers to get to grips with the basics of piecing a jigsaw together.
We can also add an extra step to make puzzle play even more fun. Firstly, why not try getting your child to group all the matching colours together before they begin. Of course, if they aren’t quite at this stage yet, you can help them out by starting each group off. Make sure to name the colours as you go.
As you can see, there are more than enough ways to make sure that puzzles are anything but puzzling. In fact, with the right guidance, jigsaws are the ideal way to boost any number of early learning skills. So, whether looking to develop motor skills, introduce colour and shape recognition, or simply have fun doing activities with your child, look no further than the joy of the jigsaw.
For a selection of puzzles for all ages, visit Jaques of London’s puzzles collection, and for even more parenting blogs and FREE printable learning resources, why not stop by the Mini Minds Hub. We look forward to seeing you there.