Puzzles are a classic toy for children of all ages. As they come in various types, shapes, materials, and purposes of design, even infants can play with simple puzzles and explore the world in early stages. As children grow up, parents can offer them more complicated puzzles as a challenge to improve their capabilities comprehensively. Many life tasks children may encounter are actually very similar to puzzles. For example, fitting items into a box, or piling up stuff to a certain shape.
According to ChildCareQuarterly.com, puzzle play is a great tool for the development of children's cognitive skills, fine motor skills, and also their social, emotional, and linguistic skills. Parents, educators, and caregivers can expect very fruitful results with proper puzzle play settings. Here are five things children learn through puzzle play.
Verb and Spatial Vocabulary
When instructing babies to play puzzles, parents can use words such as turn, flip, and rotate and show them the actions accordingly so that they not only learn how to build puzzle sets but also comprehend verbs through practice. Children also learn spatial words such as above, below, and besides when parents describe to them the position and order of puzzle pieces during the play.
Puzzle sets such as sequences puzzles require the sequence of putting pieces together to be exact and accurate. Children hear and learn ordinal numbers and words that indicate relative positions in a sequence, such as first, second, third, and last. Parents can also encourage young children to retell the sequence in which they put the puzzle pieces together to further develop their understanding of sequencing.
Through recognizing shapes and sequences of puzzle pieces and putting them together to make a whole, children learn to work through problems and reach solutions. They may need to learn to set aside the piece they hope to put in the puzzle while searching for one that fits in the slot they need. They also may learn there are multiple paths to the puzzle’s completion as they do a puzzle over and over again. When they work on puzzles with peers, they also describe their strategies to others and work through difficulties collaboratively.
Task Completion and Persistence
The process of putting together a puzzle set has a definite end - upon its completion. Children encounter frustration when they cannot easily solve a puzzle, and when they work through these emotions, they enjoy the success of task completion. Working through these feelings helps children develop persistence, or the ability to keep going in the face of difficulty.
Fine motor and hand-eye coordination
Children refine their fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills as they manipulate puzzle pieces to put the puzzle together. They develop the small muscles in their hands that allow them to grasp and move puzzle pieces with precision.
Older infants and young toddlers may enjoy knobbed puzzles that are easy to grasp. To enhance children's visual recognition capability, parents can instruct them to find success with a puzzle set that composes an image. For example, a puzzle set of animals like cat, dog, and bird pieces is ideal for parents to teach children how to fit puzzle pieces in their slots. For toddlers and preschoolers that have become more skillful, parents can offer them “tray puzzles” with multiple pieces fitting together to make a single picture. As toddlers and preschoolers grow, they may start to enjoy trying jigsaw puzzles and more complex tray puzzles. Three-dimensional puzzles, such as stacking rings or a nesting cup, also challenge their skills and thinking.
Young children with access to puzzles that are the correct level of difficulty for their current developmental stage can be significantly benefited from puzzle play. Parents should provide appropriate instructions and also sufficient freedom for children to play puzzles independently. This allows children to build their small muscles, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving strategies through repeated practice. They can enjoy the feeling of accomplishing a task on their own as they put the puzzles together and take them apart. It is helpful to keep these puzzles in a place where children can access and clean them up independently. Rotating the selection of puzzles will help maintain their interest too. There are numerous types of puzzles for children in the market. Here are a few outstanding ones that are beneficial for children.
Wooden Castle Block Puzzles
As researched by marketers, girls generally favor doll plays over puzzle plays. While both types of toys are beneficial in some ways, puzzle plays can improve many aspects of girls' intelligence when dolls cannot. To attract girls to puzzle play, parents can choose the kinds of puzzles that are designed for girls, such as the wooden castle block puzzles.
Kids can build dreamy castles, houses, and many other buildings with castle blocks. Young children can also learn about shapes safely with the BPA-free, well-rounded wooden pieces. By inviting small human figure models inside the castles they build, children can also develop their emotional capability while having fun.
Wooden Tool Kit Puzzles
Puzzles are about building things, so why not play it with creativity? The Carpenter's Set includes a wooden toolbox, a series of tools, and puzzle pieces of various shapes. This all-wood set allows children to experience a carpenter's career and build puzzle works like a professional. It is ideal for developing children's intelligence and their social perception.
Magnetic Race Car Track Puzzles
When car toys meet puzzle tracks - it means endless fun for kids! Magnetic puzzles are another popular type of puzzle. Compared with ordinary ones, magnetic puzzles are easier to connect and provide more ways to form unique works. Magnetic puzzle track pieces allow children to build car tracks based on their imagination rather than a set rule. Children can be inspired to dig in and learn about engineering and science. The power cars also make it a great party game for kids to learn to cooperate and share with friends, improving their social capabilities.
Puzzle plays are truly beneficial for children's early development in many ways. When parents are buying puzzle toys for children, remember to see if they are BPA-free, safely polished, and large enough to not choke young kids. Parents are suggested to go to reliable shops like Ealingkids.com for reliable, high-quality, and well-designed puzzle toys as gifts for their children.