Puzzles are more than a source of entertainment. Playing with puzzles, specifically for young children, helps increase problem solving abilities and reasoning skills. In order to complete it, strategies must be thought out and developed. Puzzles also assist with developing cognitive skills and spatial awareness is fostered, as well. Placing a piece in its proper space necessitates the use of hand and eye coordination, which is developed as a similar action is done over and over until a toddler finds a good fit for the piece in question. The child must also often utilize their pincer grasp when picking up various pieces and shapes, which is beneficial for fine motor development.
For infants and young toddlers, invest in a stack of wooden puzzles with simple designs for characters created out of brightly painted pieces. Many times those that include a small knob or peg can make it easier for your child to pick up and manipulate the piece. As your child grows, add in puzzles with more pieces and slightly higher levels of difficulty. For the early years, however, puzzles with a strong frame are often preferred over those that are free standing. If you have multiple puzzles and are concerned pieces might become intermixed, use a marker to place a single dot on the back, color coordinating each set. Many kids enjoy participating in puzzling on their own, which makes for the perfect opportunity to encourage the activity when you cannot engage fully. Learn more about getting puzzled as well as other ways to foster creativity in your child by clicking on the following infographic.