Puzzles are a great way to connect as a family whilst giving your child the opportunity to develop many learning benefits and opportunities, including problem solving, reasoning and solution development.
Puzzles can help to develop spatial, letter and colour awareness and because you often don’t find what you need the first time, they help to exercise the memory in needing to recall pieces or words that have previously been tried.
Doing a puzzle as a family promotes cooperative play, and as you work together to complete the puzzle you will find there are lots of (often funny) discussions about what should go where, and why. When you are working out where the pieces should go, you are actually engaging both the right and left brain, which is excellent for the mind.
There are several different types of puzzles that can cater for a variety of age groups:
Jigsaw puzzles are the traditional ones that we associate with the word ‘puzzle’. They are great fun to do as a family, and can be put stopped and started to fit in with your schedule. Having a piece of plywood to work on is a great way to keep everything in the right place and can give you lots of flexibility to stop and start… slide it under your sofa or dining table when you run out time and pick it back up the next day.
And in addition to jigsaws there are many other puzzles…
Board puzzles can be used for smaller children and toddlers – these are single pieces that fit into a single space, or can consist of manipulations such as locks, latches and laces.
Crossword puzzles are great for older kids who can work a little more independently. They require a two-step though process – firstly trying to figure out what the answer is, and secondly, spelling it correctly. You can find plenty of age appropriate crosswords in newspapers and magazines, or online.
Game puzzles are available for all ages and include board games such as Scrabble, Bananagram and Yahtzee. These sorts of puzzles are great for cognitive development.
Chess, checkers and maths story problems fall into the category of logic puzzle and they work the brain in a more mathematical way, so are great for this form of development.
Word searches are great for slightly older children who know their letters but are still working on spelling.
So, as you can see there are all sorts of puzzles available and you are sure to find one that will suit all the members of your family… so get puzzling!