Starting at 34 months, Adrian began exhibiting an interest in jigsaw puzzles. The goal of a jigsaw puzzle is to fit pieces together to make a picture using anywhere from 4 to 1,000 pieces. Adrian has been enjoying the wooden zoology puzzles for a while now, like the parts of animals puzzles (see a post here), but jigsaw is totally different and it captivates him entirely!
Puzzles are good not only for your child’s mind and cognitive development, but also for mental development. Puzzles promote hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, problem solving and cognitive skills.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: when children flip, turn, or remove pieces of a puzzle, they are learning the connection between their hands and their eyes. The eyes see the puzzle, and the brain envisions how the puzzle needs to look or what piece needs to be found and placed correctly. Then the brain, eyes, and hands work together to find such piece, manipulate it accordingly, and fit it into the puzzle accurately.
- Fine Motor Skills require small, specialized movements that puzzles provide.
- Problem Solving is being developed as a child looks at various pieces and figures out where do they fit. Thus, a successful completion of a puzzle is a unique challenge that requires effective problem-solving skills. Puzzles teach children to use their own minds to figure out how to solve problems and how to think in a logical way since there is just no way to "cheat - pieces either fit together or they do not.
- Cognitive Skills are developed when following step-by-step directions accomplishes a certain goal. Additionally, when playing with puzzles, spatial, letter and color awareness skills develop.
As Disney fans, we have two Disney step puzzles. Each comes in a pack of four, varying in levels of difficulty (4 pieces, 9, 16, and 25). The four-piece puzzle can be introduced much earlier (even at around two years of age).
Adrian still does all the puzzles in order, starting with the four-piece (top left), which he completes very swiftly. The next level, the nine-piece puzzle (bottom left), he puts together quickly as well: "I did it Mama - I did! I am going to do the next and then the next ..." The sense of accomplishment fills him with such enthusiasm, while building his confidence.
"I did them all, Mommy!"
Adrian also likes Winnie the Pooh and his Friends. Julia is currently reading "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" book, and she often reads to Adrian, thus reinforcing the affection to his Pals :)
Adrian received this Safari 4 in 1 Puzzle as a gift, and although I prefer real pictures of animals (not cartoon-like), Adrian seems to enjoy this puzzle as well.
What type of puzzles does your toddler like?