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Are you wondering what are the benefits of puzzles for toddlers? You know they are good for your child, but don’t know how good they are? Keep on reading to find out all the amazing benefits.
As an adult, I love puzzles. I own a lot of puzzles, but I don’t have time for them anymore. Can’t wait for my toddler to get old enough to solve puzzles together. But until then, it’s very important to lay the foundation. That’s how your child develops interest and passion for puzzles.
These may be very simple or even boring for us, adults. But for the little ones, these are great.
Puzzles are an amazing learning tool for kids. Offering many skills and mental learning benefits and opportunities to children of all age.
Here is a list of all the benefits and skills your toddler will develop by playing with puzzles.
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- Hand-eye coordination – the same as the construction toys, puzzles are great for mastering hand-eye manipulation. It involves a lot of trial and error until your child is able to put the piece in the correct shape or position. Very often you are going to see that he tries over and over again until he succeeds. Sometimes you are also going to notice that your toddler gets angry because he can’t put the piece where it’s supposed to be. That’s OK, it’s all about practice.
- Gross motor skills – refers to movement, such as walking, crawling, running, walk up the stairs, etc. While there’s not much movement when solving a puzzle, these can contribute as well. Especially when your child handles large pieces of a puzzle. You’ll often see your toddler, walking or running towards a certain piece of the puzzle.
- Fine motor skills – like with the construction toys, puzzles are one of the best tools that will develop fine motor skills for kids. While they play with puzzles, your little one has to pinch, pick up, grasp little pieces and move them into slots or fit them into its corresponding shape. As I mentioned before, fine motor skills are useful for handwriting and typing.
- Visual and Spatial reasoning – this is all about thinking about the bigger picture when solving a puzzle. Think how and where all the little pieces fit into. By doing this after, it will improve both visual and spatial reasoning.
- Shape recognition – puzzles come in different shapes and sizes, so when providing a certain type of puzzle it will teach your child about shapes. It’s also great for sorting and matching different types of shapes.
- Memory – puzzles develop short time memory. Your child has to remember different characteristics in order to match a certain piece. If that doesn’t fit at a certain moment, he will try again later.
- Problem-solving – very often puzzles are seen as a “problem” that needs a solution or a strategy in order to be completed. Normally your child has to come up with these solutions and strategies to solve it. All these problem-solving skills are transferred to adulthood.
- Language and vocabulary – because of the way are structured, puzzles are great for teaching your toddler new words.
- Adaptable and Abstract Thinking – while solving a puzzle, kids use adaptable and abstract thinking in order to find the correct way to put the pieces together. With abstract thinking, they also gain the ability to figure out how to fill out the negative space and what piece of the puzzle they need in order to fill the space out.
- Matching skills – most of the puzzles for toddler encourage and teach matching. After a child masters matching, he moves onto sorting. Both of these are basic math activities.
Emotional & social skills
- Setting goals – every puzzle needs a certain goal in order to be solved. These strategies are in fact, goals that will help your child achieve the end result.
- Self-esteem – everybody is satisfied after achieving a goal. This is even more powerful for the little ones. Therefore overcoming all the challenges faced while solving a puzzle brings them so much joy, pride and sense of achievement. Perfect to help nourish their self-confidence and self-esteem. It will also prepare them for the challenges they’ll face later on in life.
- Patience – solving a puzzle takes time. Your child will learn how to be more patient and slowly work through the puzzle before completing it.
- Better mood – it is known that while solving a puzzle your brain releases dopamine. This gives you the optimism you need to keep going. So every time you put a piece of the puzzle into its correct spot, it encourages you to keep on working to solve the puzzle.
- Attention to detail – when working with all those tiny pieces, attention to detail is very important. Because they are so small, they have lots of similarities, but at the same time, they are very different. So this will help train your eyes and brain to differentiate and pick up the pieces you need.
- Teamwork – puzzles are a great way to develop social skills in children., especially when they are solved in teams. They learn how to work together to achieve a certain goal. They also engage in conversation and they come up with a plan of action in order to solve the puzzle.
- lower stress levels – while solving a puzzle your brain shifts somehow. It becomes more alert and active. This benefits you in many ways – improves mindset, improved mood, have the ability to make deeper connections.
Example of Puzzles
You can find them everywhere! The market is full of them. I listed a few of our favourites here for inspiration.
Melissa & Doug Construction Tools Sound Puzzle
When I saw this in a shop I thought it’s very cool.
Honestly, I never thought these existed. I find them very fascinating and useful at the same time.
What I love about these the most is that my son can learn and hear realistic sounds.
Sounds that he can’t really listen too at the moment.
This is why I highly recommend this puzzle.
Set of 5 wooden puzzles.
These are cute, fun and colourful puzzles that will teach your child how to fit pieces together.
Are great for fine motor skills and problem solving.
Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle Set
This is a set of 4 wooden board puzzles. I LOVE these boards.
These are one of the perfect toys to teach your child letters, numbers, shapes, animals, fruits and so on.
There a large variety, all you have to do is just pick and choose a few for your little one.
Depending on what you choose for the puzzle, you’ll notice that he will learn new words and where to put the pieces. So it’s great for language development.
After a while he’ll memorize where everything goes and whenever I ask where a certain thing is, he’ll always point to them.
Melissa & Doug Touch and Feel Puzzle
These are great for sensorial development.
It’s one of my favourite puzzles. Learning animals, shapes and different materials.
3 into 1. Definitely worth trying it out.
Wooden Car Puzzle
This is fun, if you ask me. It’s very visual and interactive with 3D wheels.
Your child can explore and rotate the wheels.
Plus he’ll learn different types of cars (ambulance, police, bus).
Shape Puzzle Board
Looking for a puzzle that will teach your toddler shapes?
This is a great one! Your child can learn shapes and feel them. Good for colour recognition and line tracing with tiny fingers.
ABC Wooden Puzzle Flashcards
I think these are super fun to play with.
All the letters are colourful, show a word that begins with the letter and all the letters are 3D.
Your little one can create words with them, learn about shapes, matching and many other nice things.
6-in-1 Wooden Puzzles for Toddlers
It’s a set of 6 puzzles that teaches 6 different animals: lion, cow, dog, cat, monkey and elephant.
Fun and colourful, for sure your toddler will love playing with it.
All the animals are individually created so it makes it very easy for travelling.
3 levels Chicken Wooden Puzzle
It has 3 layers which show evolution – from egg, baby chick to mature chicken.
It’s a very good way of learning how chicken grow and develop.
Lewo 6 in 1 Wooden Animal Block Puzzle Big Cube
Another 6 into 1 puzzle.
I really like these! It can be a huge life saver.
These are the animals that you can find on the cubes – elephant, monkey, fish, bear, lion and crocodile.
Very Hungry Caterpillar Puzzle
Cute little caterpillar puzzle, made after the famous Hungry Caterpillar book.
It teaches shapes and numbers. It’s good for counting too.
Jumbo Goula Wooden Interchangeable Puzzle
An 18 piece puzzle set with interchangeable pieces.
Your child can use all the pieces to create a bigger picture.
Every piece has a certain figure on it which can be removed as well.
Viga Farm Animals Figures Shape Block Puzzle
I love this one!
While playing with it your child can learn shapes, colours, farm animals, shapes and matching. Not to mention all the amazing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.