Puzzles are fun toys that are also powerful tools to help a child’s development. Children of all ages can develop important skills while having a great time. Try some of these awesome puzzles to have a great time and build your child’s ability in so many different areas.
Development Benefits of Puzzles
Puzzles will hone a child’s fine motor skills while also benefiting language development and problem solving skills. From simple jigsaw puzzles to a large floor puzzle, these toys take hand eye coordination, concentration, and visual-spatial awareness. They are a great tool to use in many different areas of development.
1. Fine Motor Development
The small puzzle pieces combined with the precise movements needed to complete a puzzle are a great way to build strength and coordination of small muscles in the fingers and hands. These fine motor tools help child learn these skills in fun and meaningful way.
Finger strength is an important skill that older children need for various activities, the most notable being using a pincer grasp for writing with a pencil. Fine motor skills toys are a fun way to begin that development before they can actually hold a pencil.
2. Hand-eye Coordination
The visual motor skills of puzzles, or combining seeing what you need to do while actually completing that action, is an important skill for young children to practice. The use of small muscles for precise movements builds this hand eye coordination. You’ll notice that even younger children will increase in accuracy and precision after playing with puzzles.
Puzzles also take a long time to complete and help build the concentration needed to develop hand-eye coordination. This can be a frustrating skill for little kids to learn, but they need to keep practicing.
3. Problem-solving Skills
By seeing the matching picture and the pieces, child have to use logical thinking to remake that picture putting each pieces in exactly the right position. For children this young, they form new ways on thinking. Different puzzles each present a new challenge for children as well.
The sense of accomplishment from a completed puzzle can help children to keep returning to solve more problems or even try harder toys. Puzzle play presents a basic problem to solve that children may have to struggle through during the first attempts, but ultimately receive the gratification of completing.
4. Cognitive Development
Through puzzles, young learners can practice size, color, letter, number, and shape recognition. They may notice different colors and textures within different types of puzzles as well. All these new experiences have significant impacts on thinking and learning in early childhood.
Puzzles also help build memory skills as a key component of cognitive skills. As young children repeat the same puzzle, they memorize the pieces of the puzzle and how they fit together.
5. Language Development
They can also build receptive language skills as you talk through these things with them. They can hear and practice new words and learn how to facilitate conversation. If they’re playing with puzzles with other children, this can also build social skills.
Types of Puzzles to Try
Puzzles for children come in all shapes, sizes, and difficulties. The puzzle you choose for your one year old will be very different than the puzzle you want for your four year old. And as your child gets the hang of puzzles, it’s beneficial to have different types or varieties.
Inset puzzles are puzzles that have a carved out space for each piece. These are usually the first puzzles young children will like to play with. Inset puzzles take less hand eye coordination and precision than other types of puzzles making them the best place to start for beginners.
A knobbed puzzle is a type of inset puzzle that has a wooden knob on each puzzle piece. The knob requires more small movements from little hands but can greatly benefit the development of fine motor skills. These are a great idea once your child gets the basic idea of a puzzle down.
Very similar to knobbed puzzles, peg puzzles have a small plastic peg on each piece. The pegs are usually smaller than the knobs and require more fine motor control.
Simple jigsaw puzzles are the next step up after inset puzzles. Each of the jigsaw pieces is different and requires a higher level of problem-solving skills to place correctly. These are best for a little bit older children.
Floor puzzles are a type of simple jigsaw puzzle on a large scale. Because of the size of the puzzle, these help with both fine and gross motor skills. The large puzzles offer variety and a new way to look at puzzles.
Puzzle Type Toys
These fine motor toys are similar to puzzles, but don’t lay down with certain pieces like traditional puzzles. These are awesome for adding some variety to your children’s toys.
18 Awesome Puzzles
From simple puzzles to large, complex puzzles these kid’s toys are a favorite that will help your child grow. Grab a few of these puzzles for your children to play. They also make great gifts for birthdays, Christmas, or even just rainy days inside.
This is one of my son’s favorite puzzles at age two. It’s easy enough to complete, but still a challenge for him. And what kid doesn’t love farm animals.
If your child likes animals, try the zoo animals, too. If children like the subject matter on the puzzle, they’re more likely to want to play with and complete the puzzle.
This puzzle is great for learning colors, animals, and letters. Since these are inset puzzles, the spaces make it easier to place all the smaller pieces and new letters.
Learning the alphabet is a tough, long process for young kids. This is a good reason to get an alphabet puzzle (on top of all the other benefits of puzzles).
The larger knobs on this puzzle will make it easier to complete the puzzle. Young kids can learn all the different shapes while getting the other benefits of puzzles, too.
If you want to start with some brand new puzzles for your young child, this is an affordable and fun option. These have a low number of pieces and large knobs for even the youngest learners.
Here’s another great option for an animal puzzle. These tiny pegs are awesome for kids with some level of fine motor control. This puzzle has the added bonus of animal sounds when the piece is placed in the right spot.
Help your child learn their letters with this fun puzzle! These pegs aren’t too small and could be used by a beginner.
If you’re looking for a set of complete puzzles to start with, these are a wonderful option. You can buy multiple puzzles at once, so there’s always different ones to try.
When you move into jigsaw puzzles, your child is probably at the age that they love fairy tales as well. Try these puzzles for some new subject matter.
Here’s a set of puzzles for when your child gets older and masters the peg and knob puzzles. These present more of a challenge.
Kids will love these dinosaur puzzles when they’re ready to try jigsaw puzzles!
Floor puzzles like this may seem too hard for kids, but with you help in the beginning, they’ll have a great time!
Try a puzzle like this one that’s not a typical rectangle. This adds another element of problem solving and cognitive skills to complete.
15. USA Floor Puzzle
If you have the space, check out this fun floor puzzle! You can learn about all about America and different states while you help them complete it.
Here’s another great way to reap the benefits of puzzles without a traditional puzzle. The small objects are still a good challenge.
Why not practice a puzzle toy and learn a valuable skill. The precise movements needed to sew are a great tool for fine motor skills.
This is a puzzle of sorts that not only emphasizes fine motor skills, but really highlights problem solving skills. Children will love this change of pace.
Check out even more activities to build fine motor skills:
Another toy all children love to play with is play dough! Check out our complete guide to play dough here.
Or try this fun way way to paint that builds fine motor skills! Read about cotton ball painting here.