Jigsaw Puzzle Fun

Immy is loving jigsaw puzzles at the moment. They are an excellent learning tool as they encourage children to;

  • Discriminate between the features of each different piece (shape, size, colour, picture)
  • Use reasoning, deduction, analysis and logical thought to find and match the correct piece with the correct space
  • Problem solve and persevere to find a solution when the piece doesn’t immediately slot into place
  • Develop the manual dexterity and co-ordination of their hands and fingers
  • Develop hand-eye co-ordination
  • Learn the value of rehearsal and revisiting something they are learning to do over and over again until they reach independence and mastery

I particularly love wooden jigsaw puzzles. We began with the first puzzle which I bought her at 11 months old – a simple, large shape peg puzzle similar to this one;

Once she had mastered this one she moved onto other simple 5- and 6- piece peg puzzles. And now (at 20 months) loves the challenge of 10- 12 piece wooden puzzles (either peg or chunky pieces).

Immy has also started to sort and match simple 2 piece cardboard puzzles, including this one by Infantino.

When choosing jigsaw puzzles for a child it is not however just about the number of pieces, adults should also consider;

  • Does the puzzle have pictures on the board that match the pictures on the piece (thereby making the matching easier)?
  • Are the shapes of the pieces easy to discriminate one from the next?
  • What size are the puzzle pieces? Larger pieces are easier for younger children to manipulate.
  • Do the pieces have knobs or pegs to help younger children?
  • How hard (or easy) is it to match the piece with the hole in the board or to each other (for more-than-one-piece jigsaw puzzles)?
  • Is the subject of the puzzle of interest to the child (aids engagement and motivation)?

With puzzles, it is often not about the age of the child but the amount of experience they have had completing jigsaws and their level of interest.

Having worked extensively with children 2-5 years, I have regularly observed joy on the face of a child who has conquered a new puzzle challenge. Have you planned on adding a jigsaw puzzle to your child’s Christmas stocking this year? If so, I can highly recommend;

These two are great for beginning puzzlers;

These puzzles introduce young children to the idea of adding elements of one picture;

Tuzzles are a great brand and you will see them in many preschools and kindergartens;

Tuzzles My Body Puzzle The challenge of a multi-layered puzzle is great for a confident puzzler.

Melissa & Doug Rainforest Jigsaw 48 Piece: Melissa & Doug make a range of attractive puzzles that are great for children ready to move away from the peg and chunky beginner puzzles to those with interlocking pieces.

Wooden puzzles are a real investment so choosing puzzles that offer the potential for interest and learning over a period of time are a bonus.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Clock: Immy is fascinated with clocks. I love that this one incorporates shape, colour and number into the puzzle pieces, as well as the interesting elements of the clock face.

The ImagiPLAY Snail Puzzlemay look simple but this type of 3D puzzle can be challenging for many children as they do not have a board to guide them and the pieces are quite similarly shaped.

Children have a natural attraction to pattern and pattern making. The Colored Spiral Puzzle presents are myriad of creative possibilities.
I love puzzles that incorporate additional ‘thinking and reasoning’ learning for children. The Infantino Counting & Shapes Floor Puzzle covers number recognition and counting, shape recognition and ordering.

Djeco puzzles (thick cardboard pieces) are lovely for children 3-5 years (dependent upon the number of pieces in the individual puzzle) and come in the sweetest boxes.

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  1. I love the The Colored Spiral Puzzle for me!!!!

  2. miss carly says:

    Love the snail puzzle!

    We have a tonne of multi-layered puzzles for the children and only two children out of all the children that attend can accomplish these alone. Another 10 or so can complete with minor help. And the rest [mainly the three year olds] just tip it out and leave it. Even if I am sitting there more than willing to help.

    We have the easier puzzles but have very little of those in-between puzzles.

    A main problem with our puzzles is that they aren't actual interlocking puzzles more pieces that are in shapes or of an object [i.e. the curve of a tail, nose or bucket]. Which makes it quite difficult.

    I am at the moment searching online for printable puzzles and will be getting the children to make their own and going over with a puzzle template. [Using the very thick cardboard].

    Great post.

    Sorry this comment went forever.

  3. PlanningQueen says:

    We have a couple of the Djeco puzzles and I think they are fantastic. The pieces fit together well and are a manageable size for a three year old to handle successful. For our older children (8+) we have found the Ravensburger puzzles are great quality, with the pieces being sturdy and fitting well. http://www.ravensburger.com/usa/products/children_s_puzzles/index.html

  4. Busy Brissy Mum says:

    Lots of lovely puzzles on show Christie! We own a variety of puzzles from simple to reasonably tricky. Some I have picked up at school fetes, baby + child markets and secondhand shops for only $2 or so – all in wonderful condition. Not always being affordable to purchase elsewhere (but I think a good teaching tool), we have found borrowing them fronm the local toy library a great thing to do too. Great post!

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