My daughter has recently become fascinated with jigsaw puzzles. Although she’s very young, I think she finds the shapes and colors very interesting. As for me, I’m quite fond of jigsaw puzzles, although it’s been awhile since I did one (that’s more than 20 pieces).
Last week, we got her a box that has four puzzles showing some familiar nursery rhymes. Needless to say, she was excited. She wanted to get hold of them right away. Well, we had to put each puzzle into a clear plastic bag so they won’t get mixed up, or else it will be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Jigsaw Puzzles: A Fun and Challenging Pastime
A traditional jigsaw puzzle consists of small pieces that are fit together to make a picture. It can be only a few to a thousand pieces. These days there is a wide variety of jigsaw puzzles. There are all sorts of shapes and sizes.Some feature musuem art while others show nature. I went to the mall last week and was quite amused with 3D ones. With the advancement in technology, jigsaws have also evolved. There are apps that can transform pictures into jigsaw puzzles and free online jigsaw puzzles that can be customized.
Aside from being fun and challenging, doing jigsaw puzzles together with your kids is a good activity to have. Like other forms of play, you get to learn and enjoy at the same time. Just take a look at the amazing benefits that it has on our health and well being.
Good for You and Your Kid’s Brain
Assembling jigsaw puzzles works both sides of the brain. The left side is analytic while the right side is concerned with creativity and emotions. When we try to form a jigsaw puzzle, both sides enjoy a good workout because the left side is wants to organize the pieces while the right side feels excited about the image to be formed. Cool right?
Moreover, the production of dopamine , a brain chemical important for memory and learning is increased while you and your kids are engaged in solving the puzzle. The release of this “feel good chemical” also makes the activity a relaxing one.
In addition to these, research has found out that exercising the mind through books and puzzles, especially in early and middle years lessens the possibility of having Alzheimer’s disease.
Harnesses Your Child’s Learning Abilities and Physical Skills
It has been found out that playing with puzzles early in life develops a child’s spatial skills. These key skills are important in handling subjects like science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) later on.
Also, fine motor skills are developed when your kids move the pieces of the puzzles to try to fit them together.
As for physical skill development, doing jigsaw puzzles can help build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Hand-eye coordination is enhanced because the child practices skill in syncing what his eyes see, where his hands go and what his brain thinks. On the other hand, fine motor skill development happens when your child tries to put the puzzle pieces in the right spot. This action enhances the skillful and coordinated movements of his or her fingers.
Improves Social and Problem-Solving Skills
Doing a puzzle together as a family can improve verbal communication and bring about a sense of cooperation among family members. Everyone learns to set a goal and accomplish it.
Solving a puzzle also involves using critical thinking skills to determine which piece fits exactly. After all, your child can’t cheat his or her way to finishing a jigsaw. Likewise, this can teach your kid to be patient in trying different pieces to know which is the right one. Later on, after completing the puzzle, he or she will also feel accomplished.
Whether a jigsaw puzzle has three or a thousand, it is guaranteed to be worth your family time. Aside from spending time with them, they can learn more about themselves and the world around them.
So, do you enjoy solving jigsaw puzzles with your kids? What was the most challenging one you’ve finished together?