Durable wooden jigsaw puzzles are frequently used to help children develop eye-hand coordination, spatial awareness and logic and reasoning skills. Puzzles are a great way to participate in your child’s development from infancy through early schooling. Simple jigsaws require only a few minutes to assemble and allow children to learn complex concepts naturally, through play.
The Earliest Jigsaws
Children as young as one may enjoy simple jigsaw puzzles featuring basic shapes and colors. When selecting a puzzle, find ones that feature large, basic shapes and primary colors. This type of puzzle allows you to work with your child, explaining concepts as the puzzle is assembled. You may want to wait until your child has passed the stage of putting everything in his or her mouth before introducing puzzles.
Toddler Jigsaws (2-3 years old)
As your child grows from a baby to a toddler consider jigsaws puzzles with slightly more complex shapes and images. Begin by introducing more complex shapes that fit into a matching hole. Make sure toddler puzzles have only handful of uniquely shaped non-interlocking pieces and feature bright, primary colors. At this stage, work on introducing basic shapes and colors.
Jigsaws for Preschool Children (4-6 years old)
Puzzles for early preschoolers should not introduce more complex shapes and pieces together. Begin with puzzles that feature more pieces and go beyond basic shapes, yet only require fitting a piece into a hole. Older preschoolers may be able to assemble large-piece, non-interlocking puzzles that form a basic image. Make sure the image is very simple (i.e. a well-know cartoon character). School-Age Jigsaw Puzzles As your child begins to learn letters and numbers you may find a puzzle personalized with their name a good learning tool. This is also the time to introduce large interlocking pieces, as well as puzzles that require assembling unique shapes into an image. Often you can introduce a variety of puzzles to your child. They will naturally be interested in puzzles that fit their development level. If they’re not interested in a puzzle you’ve provided it may just take some time until they’re ready to tackle it.
When looking for jigsaw puzzles, make sure to find age-appropriate puzzles. It can be very frustrating for children if they are not able to solve a puzzle that is too difficult for their age or stage of development. You will know best if your child is ready for a puzzle. If it appears to be too challenging, just put it aside for a month or two. It won’t be long until he or she is ready to tackle it again.