Putting together puzzles is something I hadn’t done for years until my son was old enough to take an interest, and when we started doing them together, I was quickly reminded why I loved the activity as a child.
It involves several aspects of the thinking process, and it’s this cognitive engagement that makes puzzles a great activity for children of all ages. Child play therapists argue that puzzles build skills that can be applied to most aspects of daily living.
Here are the top five developmental benefits of doing puzzles:
1) Hand-eye co-ordination: From an early age, simple puzzles and stacking toys can help babies recognize shapes and, through trial and error, they can manipulate pieces to fit in the proper spots. Wooden puzzles and shape sorters are great for this.
2) Fine motor skills: As their spatial awareness develops, puzzles give children a chance to exercise mental manipulation as well as physical dexterity. By learning to grasp and manipulate pieces, children develop their fine motor skills in the process.
3) Problem solving: Puzzles create an opportunity to develop your little one’s critical thinking, work on planning, logic, reasoning, organization and deductive skills.
4) Language development: Word and picture association offered by puzzles allows children to build and expand their vocabulary. Puzzles built around nursery rhymes, for example, can be a fun way to build associations with pictures and stories.
5) Social skills and self-esteem: When children work together in co-operative play it encourages communication as they take turns, negotiate where they think the pieces should go and why, and in the end they can share the satisfaction of seeing their masterpiece completed. Puzzles can also help children with attention issues, such as those with ADHD, to stay engaged.
At Itty Bitty Greenie, we aim to offer a range of challenging eco puzzles and games for children aged 0-5 that are not only intellectually stimulating, colourful and fun, but also environmentally friendly. Click here to view our range of eco-friendly puzzles (made from recycled board) by Orchard Toys, Ravensburger, Mudpuppy, and more.