Hi Guys! Happy Tuesday!
Sorry I was absent yesterday, this past weekend I was spending time with my sisters and my mom and, well, time got away from me. But I’m back today to talk to you about…drum roll please…puzzles! My husband and I love puzzles. Before Michael was born and we had a lot more responsibility, we spent a lot of time putting together puzzles. For us, it’s fun and relaxing, but have you ever thought of the benefits of putting together a puzzle for you kids?
Michael loves puzzles. It’s about an equal amount of love between books and puzzles. He spends his days going back and forth between the two and I just love watching him learn. Yes, learn. Books aren’t the only way that children can learn (I know, shocker!). Puzzles are a great development tool in so many ways. I mean think about. When it comes to puzzles, you are using so many different parts of your brain, not to mention to your actual body. I’ve really learned this from watching Michael as he is solving puzzles as well as helping him learn how to do it. Children aren’t born with the knowledge and skills to automatically know how to put together a puzzles, they learn through observation and experience. You may be wondering, “how so?” Let me explain. Your child learns and develops both physically and mentally through puzzles. Let me explain even further.
Physically. Your child develops physically through puzzles by developing two things. 1. Hand-Eye Coordination. Each piece goes in one spot. It fits in one spot. So your child has to get that piece in the correct spot by using his hand-eye coordination (it’s not just for sports). 2. Fine Motor Skills. Hmm, how does fine motor skills play a part. Well, fine motor skills is the coordination of small muscles, in movements—usually involving the synchronization of hands and fingers—with the eyes. Did a light bulb just go on? I hope so! With putting together puzzles, especially the first stage puzzles with the pegs, all fit just perfectly in one spot. Where children need those skills to be better developed. As they develop their fine motor skills, things like coloring and writing will come much easier because those muscles are already working on being developed.
Now that we have talked about the physical development that puzzles give children, let’s talk about the mental development, also known as cognitive development. To start off basic, children learn how to put puzzles together. They understand that each piece has it’s own place and they have to determine where that place is. This is one thing that I just love seeing. I love watching Michael’s face as he ponders pieces. It’s like he is studying the puzzle piece and then he scans the entire puzzle looking for the spot that matches every detail of the piece. Then and only then, does he put the piece to the puzzle. It makes me a proud mama! The other thing that develops mentally is the ability to identify. Michael loves his farm puzzle and throughout his time putting together the puzzle as well as reading books, he can now identify what every animal is (not verbally, but if asked he can point). Most kids can identify animals relatively well because it’s something they are exposed to. However, puzzles that introduce them to knew things, gives them the opportunity to learn something new. For example, Michael also has a shape puzzle with the shapes circle, square, triangle, octagon, pentagon, diamond, oval and rectangle. This is the puzzle that he really studies but it’s one of his favorite as well. He is getting much better at quickly looking at which piece he is holding and then placing it in the right spot. On top of that, he is starting to be able to identify his shapes and he’s only 18 months! Another proud mama moment! It’s still a work in progress, but he has correctly been able to identify circle, square, triangle, octagon and oval!
So, bottom line, get your kids puzzles. It will aide them so many ways in developing these skills that they will use for the rest of their life. There are some moms out there who want to keep their children babies forever. But is that fair to them? They are developing and growing up whether we like it or not and it’s our job as parents to encourage and help them, even if it makes us a little sad. Help your kids grow and develop and have fun with them in the process!
Hopefully I have inspired you to either get the puzzles out or to go and buy some. Trust me, your children will love them! Have a wonderful Tuesday and I will talk to you tomorrow!