People have loved solving puzzles for generations, whether they are simple or challenging, tactile or virtual. But are there any real benefits of solving puzzles for child development?
Early on in life, puzzles may have large wooden knobs to help children to manipulate the parts. They may have smaller parts that join to make a whole picture or match shapes to pictures of objects. It is usual for many children to experience a range of jigsaw puzzles of varying complexity both at school and at home, an interest that some take into adulthood, or others may return to in the calmer, later years of life.
Often there is an image to help you to complete the puzzle, the result which will stay the same. But puzzles have now become more complex and more challenging than ever, so much so some people even become experts in their specific puzzle field and enter competitions worldwide!
So which skills can puzzles develop?
1. Physical skills – From holding puzzle pieces and turning them until they fit to rotating a Rubix Cube or a 3D maze, to playing virtual games on a computer. A child’s hand-eye coordination will become stronger, as well as their gross and fine motor skills (control of larger and smaller body movements).
2. Cognitive skills – As they solve the problems of a puzzle, applying their knowledge and understanding of the world and experiment and seek out solutions. They will develop their concentration and focus. They will develop their understanding of the world surrounding them through physically manipulating the puzzle pieces, learn about shapes, develop memory skills and critical thinking.
3. Emotional skills – They develop patience, perseverance, resilience and determination and are finally rewarded when they successfully complete the puzzle. They will learn to set personal goals and to challenge themselves and stretch their own achievements.
4. Social skills – They often will develop communication skills and team skill: if they work with friends or family members to solve or complete a puzzle in class or at home; or if they’ve completed a puzzle independently when sharing and explaining how they achieved the end result or just through a celebration of their success! Board games can develop strategic skills and teach how to follow rules.
Introduce Puzzles to Your Outdoor Learning Environment
For the Early Years setting our durable Sorting Table provides great opportunities for general sorting and shape problem-solving. Our fun Twist Bearing Run and Rotating Ball Maze develop concentration, scientific and mathematical understanding alongside motor skills, whilst our vibrant Flip Over Noughts and Crosses Activity Panel develops strategic thinking.
Our intriguing Water Wall provides the perfect puzzle challenge for any KS1 outdoors learning zone.
If you’re looking for inspiration and wishing to develop a culture of cooperation and teamwork, why not take a look at our wide range of Gametop Tables to effortlessly incorporate puzzles, games and collaborative learning into any outdoor independent learning time, playtimes or even into family times in a park or leisure setting?
Puzzles have certainly moved on and there is a challenging puzzle out there to suit everyone. Puzzles with multiple solutions allow for even further opportunities for creative freedom and ingenuity. These four basic skills are the building blocks for a well-rounded person. Giving children the chance to develop these skills by solving puzzles is not only fun but will also set them in good stead both at school and into their future lives. It’s time to get puzzling!