Puzzles come in a wide variety of materials, levels of difficulty, and patterns. They are a classic activity for people of all ages, including young children. Infants explore a simple form of puzzles when they play with two items that mesh together. And as children grow, the puzzles available grow in complexity.
Many everyday tasks are similar to the actions taken in puzzles – from filling shopping bags to packing boxes or luggage. Puzzles are an excellent tool to build fine motor and cognitive skills. It’s also an excellent opportunity to build language, social, and emotional skills when puzzle play is used thoughtfully. Whether puzzle play takes place at home or in a childcare centre, children benefit in a variety of ways.
Puzzles provide children with an opportunity to assess a problem, work through it, and find the solution. There are multiple paths to completion as they repeat the puzzle, and it encourages them to pursue different solutions to each other. When children work together on puzzles, they can collaborate and share strategies.
Rotate, turn, and flip are important vocabulary words to use during puzzle play. It teaches children to move a piece to see if it fits rather than giving up and moving on to a new piece. They learn the words and how to describe pieces related to other pieces.
Certain puzzles only work if completed in the correct sequence. And this is an excellent way to explore puzzle play. Children interact with ordinal words and numbers that denote a position that follows a sequence – the first piece, the second piece, etc. Children can be encouraged to repeat the sequence to deepen their understanding.
The puzzle isn’t complete until it has been put together. When children struggle to solve puzzles easily, they tend to get frustrated. But that means they have to process those emotions and then experience the emotions related to task completion when they do complete it. It encourages persistence.
When children grasp puzzle pieces, it helps develop small muscles in their hands, which improves finger strength. Simple puzzles are an excellent way for children to grip, grasp, twirl, and turn to build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Puzzles are an excellent learning opportunity for children, and they’re fun. Small children benefit from knobbed puzzles because they are easy to hold and manipulate. To start, children will likely be more successful if each piece features a single image. As they reach late toddlerhood or preschool, try puzzles to create a single picture and offer more complexity. Every stage of growth should bring new levels of puzzle complexity. Children must have access to puzzle play with puzzles that meet their developmental stage.
If you are looking for a childcare centre in Mill Park such as Goodstart Mill Park, the surrounding area or across Australia, then be confident asking questions about how they allow children to play and explore. A reputable childcare centre will be happy to show you how they nourish your child’s mind.