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Play And Learn With Educational Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles have been entertaining children and adults for centuries. Wooden puzzles were originally created by painting a picture onto a flat piece of wood, then using a jigsaw to cut out the pieces. A man named John Spilsbury is credited with making the first commercial jigsaw puzzle around 1760. His educational puzzles were of maps, and were used to aid in teaching young children geography. As the children put the pieces of the puzzle together, they were able to learn where different countries and regions were. Because of ease of mass production, many modern jigsaw puzzles are made from cardboard. Puzzles for younger children may also be made of brightly colored plastic or foam. These puzzles have larger pieces, which are easier for young hands to manipulate. Simple wooden puzzles, often three dimensional, are also common. These puzzles have large, easy to manipulate pieces and often form animal or human shapes.

Jigsaw puzzles can be great educational tools. For very young children, they help problem solving and motor skills, while teaching them the forms of animals, people, and much more. Puzzles for children were the primary form of jigsaw puzzle until 1900 or so, when the first more complicated puzzles were produced for adults. It is common for adults to glue down a completed jigsaw puzzle to save their work, whereas children are more likely to take it apart so that it can be put back together again. Doing jigsaw puzzled develops several functions of the brain at once. Reasoning, deduction, analysis and logical thought are exercised in the completion of jigsaw puzzles, as well as physical hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. This is the case for all jigsaw puzzles, not just the ones marked "educational."

Jigsaw puzzles can be an important part of the learning process for children, though they should be supplemented with other material. In order to maximize the educational value of a puzzle, it needs to be a part of the learning process, not all of it. A geography puzzle, for example, does not by itself provide all of the information to pass a geography test. The advantage of using puzzles to supplement traditional lessons is that some children are spatial learners. They can better grasp facts when they have some object to move and correlate with their lessons. Visual learners can also benefit from jigsaw puzzles. By seeing the image go together, the information contained within it is better absorbed. Jigsaw puzzles are a fun problem to solve. They can make learning fun and help information to be better absorbed by children. The interesting shapes and process of putting puzzle pieces together, help develop important skills for later life.

About the Author:
Marina Neiman, author and mother of two, writes for - Educational Toys Store, featuring broad selection of educational toys, developmental games and educational jigsaw puzzles for children.