One of the fonder memories I have from my early teen years is spending hours together with my siblings putting together huge jigsaw puzzles while listening to our favorite records.
For some reason, I always had a sense of calm and security, satisfaction and joy.
I still love a good puzzle!
And I’m so glad that my sons have inherited that same love. They boy love putting together puzzles. My oldest especially. In fact, once he’s put together a puzzle, he memorizes where each piece goes and can put it back together in a flash.
Puzzles have many benefits: from cognitive skills, to fine motor skills and character development. They help to improve every part of us!
10 Benefits to Doing Puzzles
1. Fine motor skills – from grasping the thin pieces with their fingers to manipulating each piece together to form a picture, doing puzzles helps children to develop their fine motor skills.
2. Problem solving – putting puzzles together can be tricky because sometimes several pieces look similar and the child must determine which piece goes where.
3. Patience – putting puzzles together requires a lot of patience. Especially large jigsaw puzzles. Most times you can’t put these puzzles together in a day, much less minutes or hours. This teaches children the benefit of long-term projects and the patience they need to see the project through.
4. Team work – large puzzles often require multiple sets of eyes to see the varied hues and patterns in each piece. Learning to work together as a team to finish a puzzle is so important, learning to value each person’s ability to see each piece from a new perspective helps push the project through those moments when you feel you’ve taken on an impossible task!
5. Hand-eye coordination – for smaller children, this is so important to be able to see where a piece should go and manipulating the hand to fit the piece in its proper spot.
6. Memory – puzzles help to improve a child’s memory as they see a certain shape or part of the scenery and try to remember where they saw the piece that fits that spot. Also, to be able to look at the big picture and envision how the puzzle should resemble it.
7. Pattern and color recognition – whether they are wooden puzzles designed to teach shapes, numbers or letters, or whether they are larger puzzles with only 2-3 shapes, puzzles help children to recognize certain shapes and colors and how each piece fits it its own place.
8. Differentiation – many times several pieces of a puzzle look the same, or have enough of a variegated hue that it almost seems that the piece doesn’t fit the puzzle at all. Puzzles help children to recognize the subtle differences between each piece and how each piece has it’s own place in the puzzle.
9. Reasoning skills – puzzles require reasoning; they require us to look at a piece, determine where it fits, and when it doesn’t where it actually belongs. These types of reasoning skills are so important for life because we are often required to use those same skills in every day life situations.
10. Satisfaction – there is nothing more satisfying than taking on a difficult project and seeing it through to the end. Puzzles give that satisfaction. When presented with a mish-mosh pile of seemingly unrelated shapes a child must use problem-solving an reasoning skills to make sense of them. He must show patience an perseverance to see the project through and not give up. He must often rely on others to help him see how each piece differs from all the rest…and when the project is completed and he can see how all these skills helped him to complete a hard task, there is a wonderful sense of satisfaction!
These are all benefits your child will not receive from a screen. Even by doing puzzles on an app. There is nothing that can replace the wonderful benefits of putting together a real puzzle!
This post is day 2 of the series: 31 Days of Screen Free Activities for Kids. To see all of the posts in this series visit this page.