1. Develop COGNITIVE skills:
Puzzles come in a whole range of themes and topics such as alphabet letters, shapes, numbers, pets, transport and colours. It increases a childs visual spacial awareness and develops a deeper understanding of these themes and topics. All children learn differently and puzzles can be a great way to teach any of a range of topics. Try asking the child to put in the piece that is RED or the L. Find the BIG BUS or the TRIANGLE! So many options with puzzles.
2. Increase their PROBLEM SOLVING capacity:
Completing a puzzle, even the simplest of puzzles, sets a single goal for the person to achieve. Toddlers and children must think and develop strategies on how to best achieve the goal. This process involves problem solving, reasoning skills and developing solutions which they can later be transferred across other aspects of their life. It can improve their patience, their memory (otherwise they’d try the same piece in the same space over and over) as well as sense of accomplishment when finished.
3. FINE MOTOR development:
Puzzles are a fun way for children to develop and refine their fine motor skills. When engaged in playing with puzzles, children are required to pick up, pinch and grasp pieces (some with small knobs, pegs or chunky pieces) and move them around, manipulating them into slots, sorting them and fitting them into the correct places.
4. HAND AND EYE COORDINATION :
Playing with puzzles requires a trial and error process which involves a lot of hand and eye manipulation. For example, as a person places a piece of the puzzle that does not fit, they will have to determine whether they need to twist or turn the piece to make it fit, or whether they move on to a whole new place altogether. There is a lot more to a puzzle than meets the eye!
5. SOCIAL skills :
Puzzles are a great educational tool to enhance and promote cooperative play. When in a group, children must work together to achieve their goal. The must discuss where a piece should go, justify why, take turns, share and support each other when handling frustration and then at the end they can all share in the enjoyment of finishing their goal!
Lastly, completing a puzzle is an achievement for young and old. When you put that final piece in you can feel a sense of accomplishment. You set your goal, you were patient, thoughtful, aware and solved your problem! You did it! The sense of well being and pride is something we will get every time we complete a puzzle. So go on, try one with your kids today!
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