As a parent, you have probably heard that puzzles are very good for your child’s development, but you may be asking yourself, just how well and how does it specifically help my child learn. The benefits of puzzle play have been recognized for hundreds of years, starting with the simple wooden puzzle pieces and evolving into the complex jigsaw puzzles of today. The evolution of the puzzle is certain, just as is the developmental benefits received in early childhood and throughout life. In fact, puzzle play is a widely used therapy technique used for a variety of reasons and people.
For children, puzzle play promotes three basic skills – emotional, physical, and cognitive skills. Each set of skills helps to build upon the building blocks of a well-rounded child and eventually adult. As you and your child focus on doing a puzzle, imagine the skills that you are both building together. Not only does your child build the skills already mentioned, but puzzle play can help with patience and social skills. Communication and working together are two very important skills taught, and puzzles reinforce them. Here are some more benefits and advantages you will see with puzzle play with your child:
- Puzzle play will help your child with many physical skills, including hand-eye coordination and, gross and fine motor skills. When starting with the larger puzzle pieces, you will help develop gross motor skills, and as they progress to more intricate puzzles, they will increase their fine motor skills. By developing a sense of what they see, what their hands are doing, and what is related from their brain, they are building skills that will last a lifetime.
- Shape recognition and memory are two very important aspects of development in early childhood. Puzzles help to develop these two areas. Because your child will need to differentiate between shapes, colors, sizes, and remember them to use later, you are building great cognitive skills. In addition, they will learn great problem solving skills.
- Teaching your child how to handle emotion is a key to a well-balanced individual. Puzzles teach patience and working through a process – you cannot skip to the end or cheat a puzzle.
Puzzles are an amazing teaching tool for your child and as you can see, have an array of benefits that will help in your child’s development. Give your child a puzzle as early as you can, and watch them grow and learn, as they progress to more difficult puzzles.