Jigsaws are a common household staple for children and even adults, but they are so much more than a fun activity to pass the time. For children, jigsaws offer a range of cognitive, social, and even emotional benefits that all contribute to early development. In this blog, which has been guest written by Early Years Resources, we will explore how jigsaws help a child’s development.
- Fine motor skills
One of the most obvious ways puzzles support development is by enhancing fine motor skills. To complete a puzzle, children are required to manipulate the pieces by grasping, pinching, and moving them into place. These simple movements are essential for developing small muscles in the hands and fingers which are vital for later learning support such as writing, drawing and even using utensils.
Orchard Toys jigsaw puzzles, such as First Farm Friends, are designed with chunky, wipe-clean pieces which are ideal for little hands.
- Problem-solving skills
Secondly, puzzles can be used to great effect in developing problem-solving skills. As children work to complete a jigsaw, it is necessary for them to use critical thinking skills to determine the correct placement of each piece. They must take into account colours, shapes, and patterns to identify the correct placement. This early skill again is crucial for later life, particularly in school and later work.
Orchard Toys jigsaw puzzles, such as Big Tractor, are designed so that only the correct pieces fit together.
- Spatial awareness
Another area of our executive function that jigsaws utilise and develop is our spatial awareness. This refers to our organised awareness of an object in the space around us and also our body’s position relative to the space. Jigsaw puzzles work on the former. As children slot the correct pieces together, they are exercising their visual-spatial skills to determine the correct orientation. This type of skill is essential for activities such as reading maps, navigating new spaces, and playing sports as well as general day-to-day life.
Orchard Toys jigsaw puzzles, such as Giant Road, are designed with education in mind, and cover a wide range of subjects such as road safety.
Memory is a fourth key area of development supported by jigsaw puzzles. As children piece together the puzzle, they will exercise their short-term memory to remember each piece’s shape, colour and location.
Orchard Toys jigsaw puzzles, such as Unicorn Friends, are designed with bright and bold colours to keep children engaged and entertained.
- Patience and perseverance
For children (and adults alike) jigsaws often require some patience and perseverance. This is especially the case with unfamiliar puzzles which may present more of a challenge and frequent setbacks to progress. Naturally, this skill is one that will serve children well with future endeavors such as school work.
Orchard Toys jigsaw puzzles, such as the 150-piece At the Museum puzzle are jam-packed full of detail with lots to observe and talk about.
- Social skills
Finally and on top of the areas of cognitive development outlined above – jigsaws can be completed in a group to foster social skills and teamwork in children. They will be required to communicate and collaborate effectively to complete the task at hand. Teamwork of this nature is important for cognitive development and will benefit children in many areas of later life including school and relationship building.
In summary, jigsaw puzzles can offer a variety of key benefits for children’s cognitive development aside from keeping them entertained for an hour or two. To ascertain your little one’s developmental level, why not ask them supporting questions whilst they work to complete their puzzle? For example, asking your child to turn or flip jigsaw pieces into place will give you an indication of their fine motor development. As your child develops you can support their development further with more complex puzzles and challenge them even more, all whilst having fun!
You can browse the full range of Orchard Toys jigsaw puzzles by clicking here.