If you’ve read our previous posts, you’ll know Geek Mamas is a big fan of using games as a learning tool. Our Guest Geek post today looks into the benefits of puzzle play for children, and how parents can use it to help with other areas like vocabulary, cognitive function and even independence. Also, the puzzles they refer to are the kind with all the little pieces. I had the Rubik’s Cube type puzzle in my head at first! (also beneficial I’m sure)
The Benefits of Puzzle Play
Children as young as only a few years old are delicate. Because not only are they physically vulnerable to all sorts of external forces, but their brains are still a work in progress. They’re bound to have countless shortcomings when handling certain situations since they’re still developing.
As a parental figure, children’s growth relies heavily on you. Under your guidance and protection, they can develop their bodies and minds. While the easiest, most straightforward solution you might think of is to hand them an academic text and call it a day, letting them play with Ravensburger puzzles or any kind of game may as well be on the same level.
Throughout the years, countless puzzles have been designed for all ages. But, given their curiosity, puzzles became a classic among children, with so many shapes and levels of difficulty at their fingertips. However, aside from being eye candies, children receive other benefits from puzzle play, such as:
Learning Spatial Vocabulary
Similar to a sponge, it’s easy for children to absorb new information. That’s why parental figures must be careful about every milestone in child development. Otherwise, making a mistake could impact their children and hinder their growth.
One crucial component in child development is their ability to grasp new vocabulary. As soon as they hear a new word, explain the meaning behind it and let them repeat it as many times as possible until they get familiar with it. Although they’re only playing a puzzle, they can still learn all kinds of words, particularly spatial vocabulary.
Children who still have a tough time training their grips are accompanied by their parental figures when playing puzzles. Aside from turning it into a sweet bonding moment, parental figures use this opportunity to teach children new words, such as ‘turn,’ ‘flip,’ ‘above,’ ‘below,’ and more, while helping them fit puzzle pieces together. Learning how objects are positioned in a given space teaches them how each one is connected and how changing positions could affect each other.
Building Physical Skills
While playing video games is excellent practice for honing hand-eye coordination, puzzle play is still the best starting point, especially for children with difficulties gripping objects or controlling their strength. Because as much as they hate it, parental figures can’t keep holding their children’s hands. Eventually, they’ll learn to do certain actions on their own and move their puzzle pieces around with precision.
Aside from hand-eye coordination, children’s motor skills are also put to the test. Provide different puzzle sets for them to play with. Given how puzzles have different designs, some require a straightforward approach while others are much more complicated.
Puzzles that offer big pieces for stacking enable just-as-large movements for the child’s gross motor skills. Once they’ve grown familiar with them, they’ll have an easier time transitioning to smaller ones, which help improve their fine motor. Learning these skills will help polish their handwriting and even their typing speed when they grow even further.
Training Cognitive Functions
As valuable as their physical attributes are, building up children’s cognitive skills broadens their mental capacity. This prepares them to handle any situation that requires them to sit back and look at the bigger picture. Since puzzle play pushes their brain power to the limit, they learn to recognize shapes they’ve encountered and connect pieces to develop their ability to sequence variables.
Although children are vulnerable to many factors, inhibiting them from experiencing life doesn’t encourage them to grow. Regardless of age, people learn through trial and error. Removing that from the equation would keep your child safe, but it’ll hinder them from building their individuality.
While it may seem impossible for children to stay still, allow children to pour all of their attention into solving the puzzle on their own once they’ve grown familiar with it. Let them try fitting puzzle pieces in all the wrong ways without stepping in. Because once they find the solution, their confidence in their capabilities will improve. With a win under their belt, it enables them to entertain themselves instead of bothering their parental figures whenever they’re bored.
Encouraging children to grow into promising individuals takes extensive patience and resources. But, with time, they’ll eventually learn to find their footing. Considering how impressionable they are at a young age, this is their most vulnerable state since they look to you for guidance. As the parental figure, providing them with enrichment that stimulates their development is in your hands. Luckily, many tools have been created for that purpose; one of them is puzzles.
Categories: Mom Blog