The Benefits of Playing with Puzzles

Mädchen spielt mit PuzzlePuzzles have proven time and time again that they are a timeless, enjoyable activity. It’s rare to find a house in America that doesn’t have at least one jigsaw puzzle lurking somewhere in an old cupboard behind a dusty copy of Monopoly. We played with puzzles. Our parents played with puzzles. Our grandparents played with puzzles, and so on for countless generations. Well now it’s the year 2015, and our kids should still be playing with puzzles.

The benefits of puzzles are countless. For starters, they are fun! Sure, at times it may be agonizing trying to find that one middle piece that fits just right, but there’s no better feeling of accomplishment than looking at your finished work, 5000 pieces later! Puzzles also bring the family together! Few things do better at that than getting everyone around the dining room table, all working on small sections of the puzzle, later to be brought together to create the final masterpiece.

In addition to those benefits, there are many other takeaways our children get from working on puzzles. Here are some of things that happen inside a child’s mind when they do a puzzle:

Puzzles Increase Cognitive and Problem-Solving Skills – Every time your child puts another piece together in a puzzle, a little connection is made in their brain. The more the pieces get put together, the more connections are made. As this continues to happen, over time, that child is increasing their brain power. They are learning to think and new and more productive ways. In addition, some children’s puzzles can also help kids learn the alphabet or their numbers. When kids are having fun, their learning becomes more productive! On top of all that, once the puzzle is complete, no matter how big or small, the child gets a sensation of completeness and satisfaction. Because they enjoy this sensation, it will give them the desire to work hard and finish what they start in the future!

Puzzles Improve Hand-Eye Coordination – This is simple, but very important. As the child has to pick up several different puzzle pieces to find the correct one, then turn it different way to get it to fit, they are increasing the relationship between their hands and their eyes. Eventually their brain will take over, and they will be able to know which piece is supposed to fit before all of the trial-and-error. Puzzles are one of the best ways for children to improve this very necessary life skill.

Puzzles Develop Fine Motor Skills – As children grow older, they begin to learn motor skills, such as walking. Walking is considered a gross motor skill. Puzzles develop what’s known as fine motor skills. These skills include hand-writing, typing, and other smaller-scale hand functions. These skills can lead to proficiency with music, tools, and can even help create skills for possible future jobs, such as a surgeon.

Puzzles Create Social Skills – If your child is working on a puzzle with you or a friend, they are learning social skills as they work. They learn how to share, and how to work together to accomplish one goal. Whenever the puzzle is solved, they feel like the entire team contributed, and the outcome was good. These skills are extremely important as they get older and need to share as well as work together on group projects.

Next time you are planning a family fun night, go digging through the closet to find your old puzzles. Your children will learn valuable life skills, and you all will have a blast in the process!

US Toy Team

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  1. Ally Marie says

    As a teacher of early elementary, students enter the classroom with a range of abilities. You have students who demonstrate command over their fine motor skills and those who do not. This is my third year teaching first grade. Reflecting back over these three years in regards to fine motor skills, it is the girls more often than not who demonstrate strong fine motor skills. Their cutting, drawing and handwriting abilities tend to exceed that of the boys. They tend to choose indoor recess activities that require the use of fine motor skills. At this age, the majority of girls tend to work hard when fine motor skills come into play. They are not as easily frustrated, take pride in their work and enjoy the feeling of success and accomplishment when a task is completed. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a number of boys who demonstrate those same skills, but generally speaking, the girls outperform the boys at this age.

    Just like puzzles improve hand-eye coordination, so do physical sports that boys and girls alike partake in. However, puzzles also develop fine motor skills, which is where the deficit is observed year after year. Children who complete puzzles experience that sense of accomplishment when they put in that final piece. This sends the message that if you finish what you start, you will experience completeness. Patience and determination is also apparent. These learned character traits at a young age can certainly aide in molding a successful, resilient person for years to come.

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