Did you know that puzzle play is very important in early education? There are several developmental skills which are enhanced during this simple activity.
Even completing the simplest puzzle is critical in achieving a set goal. Children must use their imagination and develop strategies on how to achieve this goal. This involves developing solutions, reasoning skills, and solving skills which they can later use in their adult future lives.
It is fundamental that all children learn differently, and puzzles serve as a medium to allow them to grow in their learning & development. With puzzles, cognitive skills are enhanced because children learn to follow basic step-by-step directions, which assist them in achieving a final goal: puzzle completion. Cognitive skills are further developed because working with puzzles also incorporates shape & color recognition, in addition to sharpening their memory skills. The more often a child does a particular puzzle, they are able to remember & master how to complete it.
When children engage in puzzle play, a puzzle may not be completed during the first trial. It’s a “trial and error” process, which involves hand-eye coordination. Here we see toddlers who are working on a puzzle. If at first a piece does not fit, they will try again until they are able to make a match!
Because there are varieties of puzzles available from the Infant-school-age groups, fine-motor skills process over time through puzzle play based on the kind of puzzles children engage in. If they are using large and small pieces, twisting knobs, etc., their fine-motor skills are being utilized.
When in a group setting, puzzle activities are an excellent tool to enhance and promote corporative play. As children grow older, and work together on puzzles, they engage in discussions to see where the pieces go, taking turns, sharing, and also expressing their frustrations if they cannot fit the pieces. And most importantly, children also learn patience when engaging in puzzle play. They learn that it will not happen right away, and that completing a puzzle takes times. As a child grows older, the puzzles also become more complex, and require more time in completion.
Puzzles allow for opportunities for the children to grow & develop many different skill-sets. They have the opportunity to continue learning through something very simple, and readily available.