The Importance Of Puzzle Play

In the summer months, it can be hard to balance the fun. On one hand, you want your kids to enjoy their summer and do many activities as possible. I mean, they are only this young once! But, on the other hand--it's important to remember these are the key developmental years where their little brains are constantly growing and learning.

Brooks will be attending his second year of preschool this fall and we've been working to keep him excited about learning. He's very creative so sensory play (or learning through play) really helps him work on his coordination, build awareness of the world, and master his basics.

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One of our favorite activities is building puzzles together. It's not just fun, it's also beneficial for your child's brain, too!

Here are a few of the many benefits of puzzle play for your little developing minds:

1. Problem Solving: 

Puzzles can be challenging and frustrating--especially for little ones. Even if Brooks picks a massive or complicated one from the shelf, I still let him take the lead. I know he probably won't finish it--but perseverance and problem solving is an important skill to learn. It also gets them into the habit of not giving up too easily, self-correcting and putting their minds to the task at hand.

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2. Cognitive Development: 

To really get the most out of the activity, pick puzzles that have topics relating to what they are learning about in school. Right now, Brooks and I are busy working on our letters and animals so we are concentrating on puzzles with those two themes. Since he learns best through play, he gets excited about finding out which letter or animal he's creating. He loves being able to guess the entire time!

3. Fine Motor Development: 

Toddlers or even school-age children can have some trouble grasping and holding onto things. This can make it tough when a lot of their school work involves writing and numbers. Beginning puzzles at a young age can help strengthen their muscles and get them more accustomed to grabbing and arranging.

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4. Hand Eye Coordination: 

On the same topic of fine motor development, puzzles help refine their ability to size up objects, recognize shapes, see if they will or won't fit, and placing things exactly where the mind sees. This can be tough, as it takes practice, but puzzles can help them master this milestone faster.

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5. Boosts Self Esteem: 

I'll be honest--even as an adult, I feel pride when I finish a puzzle. There's just something about completing the task at hand! The same goes for your little ones. The accomplishment of completing a challenging puzzle can give them a sense of achievement and boost their self-confidence.

Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.