There are many benefits of puzzles in early childhood development. So I am lucky to work in a preschool that is well resourced with a large variety of puzzles catering to many different levels of interest and abilities. The teachers regularly change and rotate them. By doing this, the children are constantly exposed to a wide selection of puzzles and there’s little chance they will grow bored with the same ones. If a child is particularly keen on puzzles and they love the challenge of a harder one, we are always more than happy to oblige.
This year we have one little boy who just loves doing puzzles. He cannot seem to get enough of them! He has amazing persistence and loves a challenge. Once he has mastered all the ones available in the classroom, he will ask for another harder one. He smiles from ear to ear and his face just lights up whenever he receives an increasingly more difficult puzzle!!
Some children struggle with completing puzzles and may generally not be interested in them. We try and motivate these children by providing puzzles that have popular culture pictures on them. We have puzzles with PJ masks, Bluey, The wiggles, etc. You name it we’ve got it, anything to motivate the children’s interest in doing puzzles!
Puzzles provide children with so many learning opportunities. They are an excellent learning tool that helps children’s development. Puzzles are great for improving children’s cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination as well as patience, perseverance, and language.
Benefits of Puzzles In Early Childhood Development
Puzzles give children the opportunity to develop important strategies which help them understand how pieces go together to form a whole. Children can observe and manipulate the puzzle pieces to see how they fit together to make a complete picture.
Puzzles help children’s brains to develop, improve problem-solving skills and attention spans. The reason for this is because children who are engaged in doing a puzzle are using their brains’ logical and creative sides. They are exercising their brains!
Children also develop skills such as shape recognition, persistence, and concentration. All of these skills are so important for school readiness.
Fine Motor Skills
Children give their fingers a great workout when they do puzzles. Children will grasp and manipulate the puzzle pieces or use a pinching motion to pick up puzzle pieces with knobs. All these precise movements will benefit their fine motor development which is so important for their ability to learn to use a pencil properly and write.
Puzzles help improve children’s hand-eye coordination. The reason for this is because their eyes are seeing the puzzle piece and their brains are working out where this piece should fit. Children are having their eyes, hands, and brains all working together to fit that puzzle piece into the correct position.
When children persist and complete a puzzle this demonstrates to them that they are able to overcome challenges and deal with their frustrations.
The joy that comes with finishing a task will give them a sense of accomplishment. This important achievement will help their self-esteem to flourish
Opportunity To Discover New Things About The World
Puzzles come with many pictures that cover a wide variety of subjects. You can find puzzles that have world maps, animals, food, body parts, plants, people from diverse backgrounds. All of these pictures provide opportunities to learn about the world they live in.
When children finish a puzzle there is a perfect opportunity to talk about what they can see in the image they have just put together. You can talk to them about things like colours, quantities, and they can also describe what they see. All of these conversations will build their vocabulary and general knowledge.
We have some Unicorn loving children at preschool and this puzzle is a huge favourite! It has attracted and motivated many children to gravitate towards the puzzle table.
These knob puzzles are great for children who are first beginning to do puzzles as they are simpler. They are also perfect for fine motor development.
Learning shape recognition with this maths puzzle. Not as easy as it might first look!
This multi-layer puzzle is NOT for the faint-hearted. It requires a lot of persistence and good concentration both for the children and us preschool educators Ha!
See the different pictures on the puzzles. Perfect opportunity to talk about face parts and emotions. We also have a big variety of dinosaur puzzles and they are always very popular.
Puzzles also give children the perfect opportunity to work together and learn the value of working as a team.
At preschool, we have puzzles with letters. Fantastic for learning letter recognition and words!
Puzzles come with many different edges, not just corners. Again, another great way to challenge thinking and strategy.
Puzzles are not only fun they are also a key learning tool for children and provide many benefits in Early Childhood Development.
Some Further Reading
Here is a link if you would like to see other great learning happening at preschool.