Do you and your kids love to play puzzles? If not, you might want to start! You may have heard that puzzles are good for your child’s development but do you know why? Here are 7 reasons why children need puzzles, even at an early age.
Hand eye coordination
Playing with puzzles requires processing skills often referred to as “trial and error”. It’s one of the main ways that children learn. Children need to flip, turn, and remove pieces of a puzzle to not only learn how things work but to develop vital hand and eye coordination.
If placing a piece of the puzzle that does not fit on the first try, they have to try all over again until they are able to begin to understand the process. The brain, eyes, and hands work together to find the piece, manipulate it accordingly, and fit it into the puzzle accurately. Even if they are not able to complete the puzzle, the process helps build vital connections in the brain.
Fine motor skills
Puzzles are a fun way for children to develop their fine motor skills. These skills are
important for future handwriting and self-care activities. While playing 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. This process helps the hands and fingers understand how to use buttons, zippers and pencils in the future.
Setting small goals & problem solving
Completing a puzzle, even the most simplest of puzzles sets a single goal to achieve.
Kids have to think and develop strategies on how to approach in achieving this goal such as they may do all the edge pieces first, for instance, or sort all the pieces into piles according to colors or shapes. This helps a child learn to achieve small goals as a means toward a larger goal.
This process involves problem solving, reasoning skills and developing solutions which they can later be transferred into vital skill in adult life. Plus when they do a puzzle they instantly realize that sometimes they won’t get the answer right on the first try. This is valuable because it shows us we always have to keep moving forward.
For young children, even babies, learning to recognize and sort shapes is an important part of their development. Puzzles can help little ones with this, since the pieces need to be recognized and sorted before they can be assembled. It’s important that they not only see the shapes but also that they feel them with their fingers.
Simple jigsaw puzzles and other types of puzzles may help enhance a child’s memory. For example, a child will need to recall the size, color and shape of various pieces as he or she works through the puzzle. If a piece doesn’t fit, the child sets it aside; but he or she will need to remember that piece when it is needed.
Puzzles are a great educational tool to enhance and promote cooperative play. As kids work together to complete a puzzle, they will discuss where a piece should go and why, take turns and share and support each other when handling frustration, then sharing the joy of finishing the puzzle.
The accomplishment of achieving a goal brings so much satisfaction to a child. Overcoming the challenges involved in solving a puzzle really gives them a sense of achievement and pride within themselves. It provides a boost to their self-confidence and self-esteem as this prepares them for other challenges in life.
Puzzles are such a fantastic learning tool for hand eye coordination and logical thinking. Some may think that their children are too young for that, but you will be surprised how quickly they will master the skills. The ability to work on puzzles is a skill that needs to be taught, so the earlier they start the better.