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Are you looking for a good way to help your child grow? Have you ever thought about the benefits that puzzles have to offer?

There are many primary skills that a child can develop when constructing puzzles. Persistence and adaptable thinking are learned as kids search for different ways to make puzzle pieces fit together properly. A child's hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills are improved by maneuvering the puzzle pieces and fitting them in their proper locations. Assembling puzzles helps children enthusiastically apply crucial skills such as suggestive and deductive reasoning, categorizing, problem solving, and classifying.

The most important thing to consider when picking out a puzzle is the age of your child. The puzzle should be thought-provoking, but not so difficult that it discourages your child. Other things that you should take into consideration are ease of use, durability, and number of pieces. Although all three are important, the following rule of thumb can be helpful when determining the appropriate puzzle to select.

  • Infants & Toddlers (0-2 years): 1-2 pieces
  • Young Preschoolers (3 years): 2-5 pieces
  • Older Preschoolers (4-5 years): 5-10 pieces
  • School-age (5+ years): 10+ pieces

  • Even though babies lack the hand-eye coordination to put a puzzle together, they are attracted to bright puzzle pieces, as well as puzzles that make sounds. As babies move into their toddler and preschool years, large-piece puzzles with pegs or knobs aid in the development of a child's hand-eye coordination and problem solving abilities, while sound puzzles help them associate sounds with objects. At this age, children learn that if a piece does not fit a certain way that it can fit a different way.

    Puzzles with smaller pieces help older preschoolers to continue developing their skills by challenging them to look for more details within the puzzle. These details can include matching pieces using colors or locating pieces that form an object.

    Finally, one must consider the durability of a puzzle. The younger a child is, the more durable a puzzle must be. Therefore, wooden puzzles and rubber puzzles are a much better match for little children, such as infants and toddlers, while cardboard puzzles are much more suitable for preschool and school-age children.

    Michele Mueller has a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is the co-owner of Imagination Station Educational Supplies, a retailer of innovative learning toys and games, as well as other educational resources.