Puzzles top the charts as one of the finest educational toys available. Just think of the planning, organising and problem-solving skills your child learns by building anything from a six piece to a 500-piece puzzle.
Perceptual skills in puzzle building
There are so many perceptual skills that are developed in puzzle building. Here are just a few:
- Matching (colour, shape, line which required good observation skills)
- Part-whole relationships (many small pieces put together make up a whole picture)
- Position and direction (Is the rabbit in front of the tree? What is in the bottom right hand corner? Is the sky at the top or bottom of the puzzle? Etc.)
- Counting (How many birds can you count?)
- Problem solving
- Eye-hand co-ordination and fine motor control
Puzzle age-ability guideline:
So many parents ask what size puzzle they should give their child. Here is a general guideline (all children are different). Note that for school readiness in South Africa a child must be able to complete a 24 piece puzzle. However, children exposed to puzzles on a regular basis from an early age are likely to be able to do far bigger and more complex puzzles than indicated in the guideline below. And, when you are involved in the puzzle building, your child will be far more game to go to the next level.
- Knob puzzles 18 months to 2 years
- 2 – 6 pieces 2 – 3 years
- 12 – 24 pieces 4 – 5 years
- 24 – 48 pieces 5 – 6 years
- 54, 60 and 96 pieces 6+ years
- 200 pieces 8+ years
To learn more about the benefits of puzzles, watch this video here.