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What are the benefits of playing with jigsaw puzzles?

Jigsaws have been around for about 250 years.  They were created by an English cartographer who chopped up a wooden map calling it a dissected puzzle and were used primarily to teach about the geography of the world. Nowadays, puzzles are regarded as an activity to keep people busy with a 1000 piece puzzle taking aprroximately 5 hours to complete.

Did you know that they also have many other benefits which not only challenge minds but also our way of thinking and so jigsaws can play an important part in the development of your child.

Here are just some of the benefits:

  1. Fine motor development.  In order to complete a puzzle children need to move the different sized pieces in different ways in order to make them fit together.  This does require quite a lot of manual dexterity to achieve this.  Some children struggle with this and cannot understand why just pushing the pieces together will not make them fit.
  2. Problem-solving skills.  Even the simplest of jigsaws will require children to develop their reasoning and solving skills in order to work out which pieces go where.  We use problem-solving skills daily in our lives as adults and so this is an important skills to master at an early age.
  3. Social skills.  Jigsaws are really good for completing in a small group.  They promote cooperative play as children need to work together in order to complete the puzzle.  Language is used to discuss which piece should go where and it also helps children to understand the process of taking turns and sharing.
  4. Self esteem.  Just like adults children achieve a great sense of pride and accomplishment when they finally complete a puzzle.  Jigsaw puzzles boost self-confidence and children learn that they can overcome challenges if they have patience and don’t give up.  Achieving this feeling often means that they will want to break up the jigsaw and start again.
  5. Memory improvement.  Memory can be improved when completing a puzzle as chilodren will need to remember what pieces they have seen in order to find out where they might fit.
  6. Attention span.  Jigsaw puzzles help to build the attention span of children as they need to focus on colours, shapes, and sizes.
  7. Meditative benefits.  Completing a jigsaw has a similar affect to meditation as it can generate a sense of calmness and peace.  Childrens’ minds become focused, concentrating on just the puzzle and so their brains can be emptied of all the stress that they might be feeling.  This is great if they get easily upset.

Jigsaw puzzles are good for developing a number of emotional and cognitive skills in young chldren.  They are also a fun activity which can be completed over and over again.

Little Angels has 11 different wooden number puzzles for different abilities and they are great for not only developing early maths skills but also all the other skills above too.