You have probably already read or heard how puzzles are beneficial for improving the cognitive development of children. In this article we will look at several reasons why the puzzle is an excellent choice of gifts for both a baby and an older child.
THE BENEFITS, BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES OF THE PUZZLE FOR CHILDREN
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Visual perception
- Improving the capacity for attention and concentration
- Brain development
- Independent play
- Problem solving
- Hand-eye coordination
- Development of patience
(photo credit: @canva puzzle)
BUT WHO INVENTED THE PUZZLE?
John Spilsbury, in 1762 was a map engraver. At the time he mounted one of his main maps on wood and then cut out the countries. Subsequently he gave it to children at his local school to reinforce their geographical education. So this is how the first puzzle came into existence.
His idea immediately met with enormous success and was of course quickly copied by many people using other images for educational purposes such as religious scenes or farms of the time.
One of the first puzzles made by John Spilsbury, dated 1766.
(Photo credit: British Library from its digital collections)
WHY HAVE CHILDREN DOING PUZZLES?
Puzzles will allow all young children to develop their fine motor skills which is an essential point for them. The puzzle will allow the child to use all the small muscles of his fingers and hands to gain precision in order to achieve a certain mastery when manipulating small objects.
It is important not to confuse fine motor skills with gross motor skills which will allow your child to walk, for example. It can also be worked on by playing with wooden construction games, wooden toys, larger wooden puzzles, which are much easier to handle. The Montessori method, invented by Maria Montessori, is an excellent example, with games and toys to assemble in various shapes for example.
✔ Improved hand-eye coordination
Faced with a completely new world for him, baby must and indeed naturally needs to touch everything that is around him. What allows him to do this is the coordination between his eye (his vision) and his hand.
There are obviously several stages in this development depending on the age of your child. A newborn, for example, is not even aware that his own hands belong to him. It's crazy, isn't it?
With time and practice, which must be stimulated by each parent, baby will improve this function on a daily basis, which will allow him to gain precision and grasp toys and objects with more mastery.
(photo credit: @canva child puzzle)
✔ Works on visual memory
Visual memory is a person's ability to record and store visual information in their brain. It is a skill that allows us to remember visual information that we record.
By doing puzzles with hidden images, your children visually record the images of the things they are looking for, for example when they are trying to find a very specific shape or image.
This is an essential skill for being able to write later.
✔ Improved attention and concentration skills
Improving attention span is one of the main objectives for parents and educational professionals regarding the cognitive development of children.
Just like us adults, children find it much easier to concentrate while doing activities they enjoy. To do this, you need to take the time to stimulate them when you want to share an activity with them such as a board game, a construction game, animal puzzles , tangram puzzle or any other activity.
It is important to train your children to concentrate on one activity at a time. Lead by example, put your phone aside and turn off your television when you share an activity with them to show them your level of involvement.
To learn successfully, young children must be placed in the right environment. It's difficult to make an exact list of items that should be removed from your child's learning space because different children may be entertained by different things.
(photo credit: @canva child puzzle)
✔ Promotes independent play
All parents with preschoolers face that moment when your child is "bored" and doesn't want to do anything without mom or dad. It is very important to understand as parents that letting him play independently is very important so don't give in every time.
Even if interaction with adults and other children allows the development of several skills, playing independently also has many advantages. If you let him play alone, it can promote creative play and imagination, improve problem-solving skills, and teach patience and resilience.
There are many activities where your child can play alone with toys such as the puzzle and the creative game.
(photo credit: @canva children's puzzle)
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PUZZLE
There are many types of puzzles but we can summarize them into two main categories which are geometric puzzles and fitting puzzles with more or less pieces.
Most inserts are made of wood or foam. Usually made of bulky pieces that will not fit together.
The built-ins will come with a frame in which children fit the pieces together. These educational games are very useful to start as a first puzzle for younger children.
The main shapes you will find are frame and on floor, you will also find 3D, tangram in different materials, but we often recommend wooden games in our articles.
Puzzles are usually reserved for children past toddler age, as they are often more difficult than wooden built-in puzzles.
You can see that there are a multitude of them with a wide range of sizes.Very logically, the smaller the child, the more you should opt for larger pieces.
Large and bulkier pieces will naturally be easier to handle by small hands, as with foam puzzles.
(photo credit: @canva child puzzle)
It is essential that you carefully check the age recommended by the supplier of your puzzle who will indicate the contraindications even if it seems the most logical to you. For very young children, just remember that a piece that is too small and put into their mouth during a moment of inattention could be a danger of choking.
To find out more about the right sizes for different ages, we will soon publish an article on this subject: "What size puzzle for what age?"
WHAT MATERIAL ARE PUZZLES MADE OF?
wood, cardboard and foam are the main materials used to make them.
Cardboard deforms and tears easily, especially when it is not of good quality, making work frustrating for small children because the pieces do not hold together well.
Foam pieces are easier to fit together and hold in place than cardboard pieces, but they are generally not recommended for toddlers due to the choking hazard posed by the small pieces.
As previously noted, wooden puzzles are typically plug-in or frame puzzles and are ideal for young children. But, as a general rule, wooden toys should be inspected before being given to children because they can be dangerous if the edges have not been properly sanded.
(photo credit: @canva puzzle)
HOW TO LEARN TO MAKE PUZZLES TO A CHILD?
- Choose a puzzle suitable for your age
Choose an appropriate , therefore a puzzle adapted to the age and development of your child. The silicone (and wooden) puzzles and simple shapes are perfect for beginners and toddlers.When you see that he has mastered them, move on to something bigger.
Make the connection with your child's interests. Find ones that represent a subject that interests your child, perhaps with animals could have more of an effect on him. He will be more motivated to participate in the editing.
Make sure your child can see and refer to the image of the final product as they work on the puzzle.
Find the outer edges. Even for many adults, one of the easiest places to start a puzzle is the outside edge.Ask your child to try to find all the pieces with straight edges. Then see which ones have similar colors and try hanging them together.
Sort the pieces by color. Ask your child to help you sort the pieces according to their predominant colors. If he doesn't know his colors yet, show him a puzzle piece and ask him if he can find any others that look like the same color as that piece.
Use lots of descriptive words when working on the puzzle with your child.Show him a piece of the puzzle and ask him to describe what it looks like. Does this look like part of the turtle or dolphin? Do you think it's the dinosaur's foot or the giraffe's foot? And what color is this? You recognize ? Then find other pieces that match this description.
Sometimes children find two pieces that they know go together but don't know how. Encourage them to flip the coin and try all sides before giving up.
(photo credit: @canva)
Little ones may feel overwhelmed by too many pieces. If they don't seem to know where to start, just give them a few pieces that you know complement each other. As they put the pieces together, add more that you know will work. This also works with different games and activities. Adapt!
When you find pieces that go together, be sure to get your child's attention to show them how you hang them together.
- Give positive reinforcement
Don’t hesitate to congratulate your child when he or she has succeeded in doing something. All means are good to make him gain self-confidence, get up, dance, sing as long as you give him this satisfaction of having accomplished something. To learn more on this subject I invite you to read this article "motivation chart"
(photo credit: @canva family parenting)
In summary, you should know that by doing puzzles from a very young age, each child will be able to quickly exercise their fine motor skills, they will improve their hand coordination -eye and will learn to be patient and to concentrate. His thinking ability will also be improved. Your child will quickly learn to solve problems in a strategic and structured way.
As they develop, you must provide them with more difficulty, giving challenges to your children is an excellent way to stimulate them. He will gradually increase his skills, the many advantages of the puzzle are no longer to be proven.
We have tried to write you the most complete article possible on “Puzzle: What are the benefits for children?”.
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