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The Puzzle Theory

March 19, 2012

Are puzzles in your toddler’s toy basket? If not, you may want to reconsider. These challenging games are a great tool to keep your child entertained and help stimulate their minds. Unlike a toy truck or baby doll, puzzles are interactive and keep children interested and willing to try and try again until they get the perfect fit.  Now, not saying toy trucks or baby dolls are a bad thing; they’re great! But we all want our babies to grow up to be little Einsteins right? Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

Puzzles can be a great aid in your child’s learning development. A recent study showed that children between the ages of 2 to 4 years old, improved their math-related skills simply by playing with puzzles. They found that children who played with puzzles when compared to children who did not, had an increased ability to rotate and translate shapes. What was even more shocking was that out of the families who were followed, only half of them engaged their children with puzzles! It’s time to break the puzzles out of the box. Here’s more reasons why.

Problem Solving

What is more frustrating than not being able to fit a round peg in a square hole? But, these types of games help a child work toward a goal and feel a sense of accomplishment in the end when they find the right fit. Puzzles also encourage kids to look at things from all angles- a skill that will spark an interest in learning and build confidence to tackle problem solving in schoolwork down the road.

Hand-Eye Coordination

Puzzles come in all different shapes, colors and sizes. The learned ability of a child to identify which piece is the correct fit for the hole or space will help to improve coordination.

Motor Skills

When doing a jigsaw puzzle, a child has to be able to learn how to fit pieces together without breaking the finished portion apart. While this can be frustrating and challenging at first, it can help children learn how to control and improve their movements for the next time. These motor skills learned when doing puzzles can translate into everyday tasks such as eating and writing- who would’ve thought!

The bottom line is, encourage your kids to participate in activities that are not only fun, but will exercise their brain too. There are so many types of puzzles out there. Some are more fun that have cute pictures on them and some are even educational, such as alphabet puzzles or a United States puzzle. Choose what’s best for your child and most importantly, have FUN!

What are your kid's favorite activities? Do they have a puzzle they enjoy doing?