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Why Puzzles Can Benefit Children's Early Development

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  • Why Puzzles Can Benefit Children's Early Development

    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.



    Sequencing Capability

    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.



    Problem-Solving Capability

    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.



    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 KidTopia.com for reliable, high-quality, and well-designed puzzle toys as gifts for their children.



    December 15, 2021 — Gabriel Tanois
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