As parents and educators, we are always on the lookout for tools that can help children develop the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills they need to succeed. So it should come as no surprise that puzzles are a staple in playrooms and classrooms alike because they help our children develop all of the above! Let’s explore some of the benefits of puzzles and discuss the ways they aid early childhood development.
Playing with puzzles can help your child develop spatial awareness.
According to a study done by University of Chicago, children who play with a puzzle between ages 2 and 4 later develop better spatial skills, which is an important component of early childhood development. Being able to visualize the amount of space an item will take up or what sort of object will be able to fit into a certain space is a stepping stone toward learning more complex concepts such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Puzzles aid early childhood development by giving kids a structured task to focus on and complete.
Associate professor of Education and Coordinator of the Early Childhood Graduate Program at Lehman College of the City University of New York Nancy Maldonado has been studying the value of a puzzle for the past 20 years. She says, “Table puzzles are popular because they provide satisfaction, enjoyment, and an opportunity for young children to focus on an activity that has an ending.”
Because our children are growing up in a world of screens, focusing on one task for an extended period of time is oftentimes an under-developed skill. (And if you have a toddler, you know just how frustrating that short attention span can be!) If we want our children to succeed, however, we have to teach them this critical skill. Setting your child up with an age-appropriate puzzle invites them to stretch their “concentration muscles” in a pressure-free, fun environment.
Using puzzles in early childhood development has a host of other benefits.
When it comes to early childhood development, there are countless other benefits puzzles provide our children with. A puzzle can teach your child problem-solving and hand-eye coordination. They develop your child’s motor skills and teach them to recognize patterns. Puzzles also teach shape and color recognition.