What’s so puzzling about puzzles?

There’s nothing particularly puzzling about the benefits of becoming a puzzler except perhaps the performance of the puzzle itself. That may be a mouthful, but it is also contains a lot of truth. Building puzzles is a fun and engaging activity for people of all ages with many associated cognitive and social benefits. Babies love to play with colorful wooden mosaics and young children thoroughly enjoy the dynamic nature of 3D puzzles-especially when they capture mystical landscapes or their favourite television characters. Not just for tiny tots, adults enjoy building puzzles too with complex and challenging puzzles available for even expert abilities.

So what are the benefits of puzzle building? Not only are they portable and inexpensive (bonus! no batteries required), they also help in the development of certain skills. Babies and toddlers can learn to recognize color, shape, letter and word patterns; they can also increase their sensory perception; enhance fine motor skills, self-confidence and organizational ability; and puzzles can teach the value of patience and determination.  For people of all ages, puzzles keep the mind sharp and refresh your problem solving and reasoning skills.

Our Puzzle-Building TIPS:

1.Set-Up.  Spread all the pieces out on a flat surface and ensure they are face-up. Have the box readily visible to aid the build.

2. Living on the edge. Start off by building the puzzle from the outside in. Gather all the edge pieces and assemble a frame working out from the four corners.

3. Innies and outties. Find the pieces that go together by matching color, pattern, texture and shape working out from the four corners. This is especially helpful when large sections of the puzzle are the same color/texture (ie. ocean or sky). If you’re working with a little one on a complex puzzle, have them gather all the pieces of one color. If you have up to four little ones, get them each working on their own corner.

4. Once a firm border is established,  focus on key objects of interest. For the expert puzzler, patterns in the shapes of the pieces used can be a trick for identifying the next piece. Some puzzles have a shape pattern that repeats itself as often as every 6 pieces.

These tips are a great start, but remember, feel free to build as you choose and get creative in order to challenge yourself (and your little ones)! Part of the fun and many of the benefits of building a puzzle come from the trial and error process. Visit one of our stores and we’ll be sure to pick out the right puzzle for the appropriate age, skill level and desired theme. We love to help and we love building puzzles!


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