Family Magazine

Why Do Puzzles Make Great Learning Tools?

By Upliftingfam @upliftingfam

Mom and Daughter Playing TogetherYesterday when I went to pick up my son from daycare, he was playing and having a great time.  The teacher was letting all of the kids in his classroom play with puzzles and my son was trying very hard to get the puzzle pieces into the right spot.  It was fun to watch him play and learn a new skill.  I haven’t considered buying him any puzzles but he does have a shape sorter in his toy box to play with.  He loves to figure things out and study them to see how things go together.

Babies Can Play With Puzzles Too

There are puzzles out there for every stage of development including young babies.  A younger baby may not realize that a shape sorter is a puzzle.  You can begin teaching your child where the pieces go and show them how to turn the pieces so that they fit into the matching shape.  A baby might not understand that they have to manipulate the pieces; instead, start out by allowing your child to show you where the piece goes by pointing to it.  I remember that I used to put the shape where it belonged and held it over the opening on the shape sorter.  Then I would let my child push the puzzle piece into the hole.   This taught them that the piece only goes into a certain spot.  Children learn by example and by playing.  As your child gets older, you can slowly introduce more puzzles into their play sessions.

What Type of Puzzles are Best for Toddlers?

I would recommend that you buy the sturdy wooden puzzles for your toddler.  They are a bit more expensive but they are durable and can withstand a busy toddler’s play session.  Most toddlers are beyond the stage where they are putting things into their mouths; however, they are a bit rougher with their toys and paper puzzles can easily bend or tear.

Puzzles Are a Great Way To Help Your Child Develop Their Motor Skills

Puzzles are not only fun but they also help your child developmentally.  In fact, many educators uses puzzles during play therapy and use them to teach children skills that they need for proper development.

Often times, puzzles are challenging and they can give your mind a workout.  Most children quickly figure out how to match the puzzles pieces to the matching spot on the puzzle board by looking at the shape or picture that matches on both the puzzle piece and board.  Matching shapes, colors, or pictures is a great way to improve your child’s memory skills.  In fact, your child probably can point and show you exactly where a puzzle piece goes by memory alone.  They might not be able to master getting the puzzle piece into the board but they can easily determine where the piece goes.

As your child is steadily trying to get the puzzle pieces into the right spot on the puzzle board, you child is busy eyeballing and trying to figure out exactly how the puzzle piece will fit.  Children use visual cues to help them accurately line up the puzzle piece and match it to the board.  This helps your child improve their hand eye coordination which is part of your child’s developmental needs.

When picking out puzzles for your toddler, make sure that you find puzzles that easily fit into their hands.  In fact, if they haven’t played with puzzles before your toddler might get easily frustrated if the pieces are too small.  Opt for a few puzzles that have larger pieces so that your child can get the hang of matching and putting the puzzle pieces into the board correctly.  Puzzles can help your child develop their fine motor skills while they are working on controlling their movements when they are placing a puzzle piece into the right spot on the puzzle board.

A puzzle is a great way to introduce your child to math and problem solving skills at an early age.  When your child successfully puts a puzzle piece into the board, they have created a whole part and you can use puzzles pieces to teach your child how to count.  It takes skill and practice for your child to figure out which way a puzzle piece is supposed to go and it makes them think about how they are going to get it to fit into the board.  Your child might spend a few minutes attempting put the puzzle piece in several different ways which allows your child to learn by trail and error.

Grab Some Puzzles and Have Fun Playing With Your Child

Puzzles are not only a great learning tool but they are fun and exciting as well.  Grab a few puzzles and sit down and work a few with your child.  They will enjoy you interacting with them as they are developing their motor skills.

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Does your child enjoy working puzzles?

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