Puzzles and their benefits
I usually focus on things specific to kids, particularly in the primary years. This article has information we all can benefit from, however.
I love puzzles, though I don’t often get a chance to piece one together. I am glad to see my kids enjoy them, though.
I’ve always heard that they help our brains, and it always made sense, but when I got into researching exactly why they are so beneficial, I was blown away. Such amazing benefits from a simple and common activity!
Now, I don’t want you to panic if your child isn’t a fan of puzzles (or if you don’t care for them, yourself). Kids have a wide variety of interests. Whatever your child is interested in is serving its own purpose in their development.
This article is about puzzles, though. Piecing together puzzles has some great benefits for the very young through the very old.
Since my website is dedicated to the very young, let’s focus on that demographic, shall we?
We all have hopes and dreams for our little ones, but sometimes we push aside certain things in favor of academics. One of those things is simple and easy to introduce.
Puzzles are perfectly Montessori
I’ve got 10 great reasons to introduce and encourage puzzles for your child. (And to do puzzles yourself!) And proof that piecing together puzzles is a Montessori-aligned activity!
- Fine Motor– Puzzles come in all different sizes. Puzzles for young children typically have knobs for the children to grasp. As children grow, the fine motor benefit to puzzle doesn’t decrease, though. The grasp used for placing puzzle pieces helps to fine-tune the small muscles used in typing and handwriting.
2. Hand-eye coordination- Just like any other activity that involves small pieces, puzzles help develop and maintain hand-eye coordination. They require the brain and the hands to keep in close communication.
3. Spatial Awareness- Spatial awareness is the knowledge of objects in a given space. Many future tasks and careers require spatial development, which is best gained in early childhood. Many Montessori primary activities share this aim.
There is also a correlation between poorly developed spatial awareness and poor reading scores. So, while the focus of puzzles is not at all academic, they can be a useful brain-training tool for future learning.
4. Confidence– Putting together a puzzle is a challenge, and completing a challenge has its rewards. Increased confidence is one of those rewards.
5. Problem Solving- formulation of theories and testing these hypotheses. So, you’ve got 2 puzzle pieces. They have matching colors and it *seems* like might fit together. This is a problem to be solved!
Puzzles improve memory, teamwork, and attention span
6. Teamwork- Puzzles, large and small, can help people of all ages with their teamwork skills. When putting together a puzzle, effective communication is needed in the division of tasks.
7. Improved Memory- In order to find the piece that fits, your child is going to have to remember which pieces do not fit. This a great memory exercise!
8. Attention Span– Putting together a puzzle can be pretty time-consuming. And for kids, it is going to take a whole lot longer. This focus, just like the focus it takes to perform Practical Life tasks, is so great for improving a child’s attention span.
Puzzles take practice. And practice takes patience. Unlike many other activities that children practice and improve in, most puzzles require a child to sit still and concentrate. This helps to build attention span and teach patience.
9. Goal Setting– Piecing together a puzzle is more than just setting the goal to have a completed puzzle. Incremental goals are set along the way. Be it sorting, piecing the edges together, or finishing any single component of the puzzle, goal setting is a major part of doing puzzles.
10. Price- Yep…puzzles are cheap. I mean, you can spend as much as you want on a puzzle, but the truth is you can get decent puzzles rather inexpensively. Thrift stores, yard sales, dollar stores, and department stores are all places you can find inexpensive, quality puzzles.
So, now that you’re familiar with how amazing puzzles are, all you need to do is sit with your child and put one together, have a one out that your child is capable of putting together, and/or let your child see you putting one together!
No need to push or pressure. If your child doesn’t enjoy puzzles, that’s perfectly fine. It’s not a comment on their intelligence, nor is it an indicator of future success.
Some people like them and some don’t. And there are other activities that reap similar benefits. So, don’t worry.
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