Tuesday, April 27, 2010

puzzling...


North has really started to get involved with his wooden puzzle sets. It's definitely a guided activity- not so much because he needs help placing the pieces into their correct spaces, but because he needs help setting everything up, laying the pieces out and he enjoys a little bit of vocal encouragement ("good job!"/ "turn it around a bit").

The Benefits of Puzzles
Cognitive Ability
Puzzles help to exercise a child's problem solving skills. They begin to see the relationship between a whole (the puzzle) and it's parts (the pieces). Puzzles also teach children to a range of new vocabulary that are connected in some way (it/ an farm animal themed puzzle, a clock with numbers or the alphabet).

Hand Eye Coordination
Placing the pieces in the correct spot takes a great deal of concentration and effort. At first your toddler may struggles- trying to forces pieces in the wrong spot or at the wrong angle. Over time, their hand eye coordination will develop and they will place the pieces in with ease.

Socialization
When a child works on a puzzle with an adult or other children it teaches them cooperation and is a wonderful way to work on their listening skills. Simple commands such as "Turn it upside down", or questions like, "Where does the cow go", teach them how to listen, react and verbally respond. Puzzles are also a great way to introduce 'quiet time' to an active child. it is a quiet activity that involves a great deal of concentration- so your child is still expending energy.

Fine Motor Skills
Puzzles also help to develop their pincer grip (the grip between the pointing finger and thumb), which is an essential skill for humans. This is the same grip that will eventually enable them to write with a pencil.

Some things to Remember
It is important to use age appropriate puzzles in order to keep your child happy and frustration-free. Wooden puzzles are best for toddlers through to pre-school as they are sturdy and can endure being slammed against the table, stomped on or being thrown on the floor. Cardboard puzzles with a number of small pieces can be used once a child is old enough to calmly lay the pieces out over a large flat surface and is patient enough to complete such a lengthy task.

Keep your eye out for a
variety of puzzles at your local Op shop- almost all of our puzzles are thrifted treasures.

Simple is best. Keep the puzzles as simple as is age appropriate for your child. They don't need to have glitter on them, sing songs or have their favourite characters on them to be effective! Children do not tire of things at the same impatient rate that adults do. A plain and simple puzzle should last a long time and is less distracting than a complicated version.

On our 'wish list' is this shapemaker puzzle. Your child can create any image they want with the eco-friendly rubber wood blocks. I'll have to wait until I'm a little bit older... oops, I mean he's a little bit older.

xo

PS. For more creative ways to play go to Childhood101.com's "We Play".

We Play

14 comments:

Tammy James said...

Great Post Meagan, you should link it to Christy at Childhood 101's 'We play' this week. http://www.childhood101.com/2010/04/we-play.html I think its really relevant.

SquiggleMum said...

Jumped over from Childhood101... great advice here on puzzles. My 18mth old son is just getting into them now.

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

What a useful post, Meagan. I have my eyes on that same shapemaker puzzle too. Thank you so much for linking up.

Catherine said...

North looks like he is enjoying all his lovely puzzles. They really are a lovely way for children to be actively involved in a quiet activity. When Miss 6 was in prep last year each morning they were to only get out puzzles. I enjoyed sitting and spending that one on one time with her watching her learn and problem solve. Great post and very informative Meagan.xo

BusinessMums said...

Great post. My kids LOVED puzzles. It looks like North is really enjoying them too.

miss carly said...

Wow! Love it! Great post! I love puzzles myself.

dixiebelle said...

That last photo is very cute!

Steph said...

Puzzles are brilliant! Bijou is just starting to get the idea (not just chewing them!). I will have to look for puzzles at the oppies..hadn't even thought to look for those...add those to the list. Hope you have a happy week :)

CatWay said...

We love puzzles at my place. And like your son, my 2 have always preferred to do puzzles co-operatively (with mum or dad, that is).

Kate said...

We are a little puzzle obsessed here too. Miss Pepper does the wooden ones but I am loving doing 100 piece puzzles with my bigger girls. We have one laid out on a side table and can jump in and out of it whenever we feel like it or are in need of a little time out. I have all the Ravensberger puzzles from when I was a kid and am now doing them with my kids, love it.

Julie said...

Yep, puzzles are one of those great, on hand, non-messy play experiences you can drag out at any time. My son (9 mths) is still at the "sucking on the pieces" stage, but my nearly two-year-old can spend ages on puzzles, as long as I am playing too.

Tania said...

Funny I should happen by after spending the better part of the afternoon op-shopping for puzzles. I kept having to fight the urge to buy the ones for me (suspect 5000 pieces won't engage any of my kids for long)...

My Love is..... said...

Oh!! Thats on my wishlist too. OOPS... of course I mean the boys wish list ;)

LashyLashla said...

:D Lovely to see him enjoying them so much

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