Any trip to the store will show you — puzzling is the newest craze. As we all look to spend more time with our families (and away from screens), puzzles have become one of the most relaxing ways to spend our time. But puzzles are more than just a family activity; they can help your child work on their physical, cognitive, and emotional skills!
From simply holding puzzle pieces to flipping them sideways, upside down, and back and forth to try to get them to fit, puzzles can build your child’s physical skills. They’ll learn hand-eye coordination by learning to relate what their eyes see and what their hands are doing. Your child will build on both their gross and fine motor skills by connecting puzzle pieces through small and precise movements.
As your child solves the challenges that a puzzle presents, they will build on their cognitive skills. Your child will learn to understand the surrounding world as they quite literally manipulate the world through the puzzle. They’ll learn shape recognition, work on their memory by remembering what pieces don’t fit, and will build their problem-solving skills as they build!
Puzzling helps children learn to set goals. Their overarching goal is to solve the puzzle. That goal is broken down into a series of small goals that help your child solve the puzzle; dividing the pieces, sorting them, building the border, and finally, slowly filling in the image. Puzzling also helps your child learn to be patient. Unlike sports where you can just step up to the plate and swing, puzzles can take a while to put together. Your child will learn that good things take time, and in the end, they’ll be rewarded with a beautiful puzzle that they built.
From hand-eye coordination to shape recognition, puzzling can help children grow. Learning to problem solve and that you might have to try multiple times before you find the right fit, your child will learn to be independent and increase their self-worth. If you find your child loves puzzling, encourage their love of problem-solving by encouraging them to play with LEGOs, try their hand at Dungeons and Dragons, or try one of these STEM-themed activities! For more tips on encouraging your child to problem solve, check out Lake Forrest Prep’s, an Orlando private school, blog.