When your toddler or young child is working on putting together a colourful puzzle, you might think that they are just having fun. However, while they are enjoying themselves they are also learning valuable lessons and undergoing cognitive development.
How do puzzles help children learn? Here are a few of the ways that puzzles can help foster development and teach your child something new:
Have you ever noticed how your child likes to choose a favourite puzzle that they have already completed many times before and put it together from memory? They might even tell you how all of the pieces fit together. Every time they put the puzzle together, they are exercising their memory as well as building their confidence.
Fine Motor Skills
Watch carefully as your toddler uses their little hands and fingers to pick up the puzzle pieces and position them in the right spots. This is helping them to practice their fine motor skills and become more accurate with their hand movements.
There are many different types of puzzles with large, chunky and easy to hold pieces for little hands. When your child gets older, they can move on to more complex puzzles with smaller pieces. This will help them in the future when they move on to writing, drawing, buttoning their own clothes, feeding themselves and performing other tasks.
When your child is putting together a puzzle, their brains are piecing together the patterns within the image to figure out what goes where. When your child sees a puzzle piece with a dog’s body on it and goes looking for the head, this is a sign of a cognitive milestone which shows that your little one is starting to understand how the pieces of the image work together.
Problem Solving Skills
Doing puzzles together with your child can help them to learn problem solving skills, especially if you talk through the puzzle with them as you do it together. You can say things to them like, “the next piece will be red on the top and blue on the bottom” or “look, we have a hole here where a round piece would fit, can you find it?” Solving these problems increases their mathematical awareness and problem solving skills as well as improving their confidence. Working together with your child on a puzzle is also a great opportunity to bond with them and show them that you are interested in what they are doing.
Tips for Choosing Puzzles for Your Child
Puzzles are great tools for learning and development and can teach your kids many things. They are also lots of fun and children love to do their favourite puzzles over and over again. Here are some tips for choosing the right puzzles that your kids will love:
- Make sure that the puzzle is the right difficulty level. A puzzle which is too difficult will be frustrating and a puzzle that is too easy will be boring. The ages on the box are a good guideline, but your child might be more or less advanced than the average child their age.
- Choose puzzles with a subject that your child will enjoy once it is assembled, such as their favorite animal or cartoon character. This will give them a reward when they successfully complete the puzzle.
- When choosing puzzles for very young toddlers, make sure that the pieces are large so that they cannot put them in their mouth and accidently swallow them.
Have fun doing puzzles with your child and helping them to learn and grow!
Did you know that puzzles for kids can help them to learn and develop? Here are some of the cognitive benefits of doing puzzles at a young age.