Jigsaw puzzles have been a toy box regular for generations and are frequently touted as a great educational tool, but exactly why are puzzles considered to be so good for children’s learning? Read on to discover just some of the many documented benefits puzzles have to offer children of all ages.
Hand-Eye and Fine Motor Skills
Picking-up, positioning and removing puzzle pieces helps develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Fine motor skills (those that require small, specialised movements of the hand, fingers and thumb), are necessary for a myriad of life activities including feeding, dressing (buttoning and unzipping) and handwriting.
Finding the right place to position each puzzle piece calls on important cognitive skills such as attention, reasoning, thinking and memory. These brain-based skills are skills that we require to carry out any task, from the most basic to the very complex.Social Skills
Puzzles are ideal for encouraging independent play, however, they are also a great activity to enjoy with friends and family. Working with others to complete a puzzle encourages conversation and communication, cooperative play, sharing and turn-taking, all important social skills.
While puzzles are fun and engaging, they are also an activity that has an ending, being puzzle completion. Reaching that end goal of completion requires planning, focus and patience. Once your child has completed their puzzle they will feel satisfaction and can gain confidence in their ability to solve a task and move on to another challenge.
Choosing the right puzzle for your child
Send A Toy carries a wide range of puzzles for children of all ages. When selecting a puzzle it is important that you choose something that is age appropriate and depicts a scene that will engage and interest the child.
For the youngest puzzlers, we suggest that you start with a chunky tray puzzle. These types of puzzles are often made of wood and have a small number of large, chunky pieces that are easy for young hands to manipulate. They often incorporate a knob or peg on each puzzle piece that will enhance pincer-grip and assist the child in manipulating the pieces. A great example of a classic tray puzzle is the Elephant Tray puzzle by Plan Toys. This puzzle is also a useful tool for imaginative free play.
As you child's abilities grow they will be ready to move on to slightly more complex puzzles. By the age of 3 many children are ready to enjoy a puzzle comprising of around 6 - 12 pieces. Choose a puzzle that is vibrant, cheerful and depicts a object that is familiar to your child, such as a vehicle or animal. We love Djeco's Primo Progressive Puzzle for this age group. This grow-with-your-child puzzle set incorporates a 9-piece, 12-piece and 16-piece puzzle each featuring a beautifully illustrated animal. Your child can start with the 9-piece and move onto the more complex puzzles as their abilities grow.
By the age of 4 or 5 many children are good little puzzle solvers and ready to tackle larger puzzles that provide a greater challenge. Both Djeco and Janod produce a beautiful selection of Silhouette Puzzles that are great for this age range. Try:
For older children who have developed greater patience and problem solving skills we suggest Djeco's 'Gallery' and 'Discovery' puzzle ranges. Starting from ages 5 and up and moving from objects to more complex scenes, you will find something for every child. Send A Toy staff picks include:
Kings Party Puzzle and Poster (100-piece | Age 5+)
Bluegrass Band Gallery Puzzle (200-piece | Age 6 +)
Wonderful Walk Puzzle Gallery (350-piece | Age 7 +)