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Posted by Katie oGrady

Puzzling it Out – Why it is so important for Pre-School Children to Play with Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to spend time with your child having fun together or just observing from afar and watching them slowly solve it piece by piece. One of the most satisfying feelings as a parent is seeing the excitement on your child’s face when they complete a puzzle.

Puzzles help develop hand eye co-ordination, fine motor skills and visual spatial awareness, it can be quite a challenge to hold, manipulate and push down pieces. Furthermore, large puzzle pieces or stacking activities will aid gross motor skills. Working out in advance the size and shape that fits is also a cognitive skill that becomes better with practise.

Problem solving is used throughout life and puzzles provide first steps in understanding cause and effect. Moreover, children learn the importance of persistence and self-correcting, fundamental to being a successful adult. Completing puzzles creates patience and builds self-esteem, it’s a fun way to learn and challenge themselves. The little ones can either work in groups to solve puzzles which encourages social and language skills or work alone to help with independent learning.

So all in all having lots of puzzles at home can’t be a bad thing! Kelly, Area Manager, Boys & Girls Nursery explains what we do at nursery to help children puzzle it out!

“We have a selection of age appropriate puzzles and games to challenge our little ones, they have free access to these, however we also like to include them as part of focused group times. There are a whole host of problem solving games including stacking cups, shape sorts and giant floor puzzles.

It is imperative that the puzzles available are appropriate because if they are too difficult this may well discourage a child and hinder their confidence and self-esteem. The child’s key person will observe them, assess their correct stage and then provide a suitable problem solving activity, so the goals set are based completely on the individual’s needs.

We provide lots of praise and encouragement to help the children but also patience to allow them to try and solve them by themselves.”