Why Are Puzzles So Good For Your Child’s Development
We all know that puzzles are a great mental exercise. But what is it about puzzles that make them so good at stimulating cognitive skills in growing children? What are the specific skills that puzzle play help develop? How can we use puzzles for kids to improve their cognitive abilities?
Let us see what the scientist have to say. A study by University of Chicago on puzzle play demonstrated that children who play with puzzles between age 2 to 4 later develop better spatial skills. Spatial skills have a strong correlation with performance in Mathematics and STEM fields:
“Children who play with puzzles between ages 2 and 4 later develop better spatial skills, a study by University of Chicago researchers has found. Puzzle play was found to be a significant predictor of spatial skill after controlling for differences in parents’ income, education and the overall amount of parent language input. – See more at this link“
Puzzles also provide children a unique opportunity to keenly observe a controlled environment i.e. the puzzle, contemplate on the various options available, and finally act on the most appropriate option to solve it. A puzzle is essentially Problem Solving 101 for a child.
Puzzle also require a child to exercise hand-eye coordination – the eye sees the puzzle, the brain contemplates on what piece will fit there and the hand has to try out the right orientation to fit the piece. The eye, hand and brain has to work in coordination to solve the puzzle thus exercising and strengthening the neural network for hand eye coordination. This is an essential skill that comes into play while learning other subjects like arts and sports which also require hand eye coordination to complete the task.
For toddlers, playing with simple puzzles like blocks and shapes can help improve gross motor skills and help them develop better control on their movements and actions. Shape recognition is another important milestone for cognitive development for young children that is assisted through puzzle play.
Along with problem solving skills, puzzle require a child to exercise concentration in order to solve the puzzle. Beginning from simpler puzzles and moving to more complex ones, can help improve attention span for young children. Focus and concentration are important for learning new skills and improving upon them and a critical factor for excellence in academics.
Another important factor that puzzle solving brings in is the variety of problems. No two puzzles are same and a different strategy needs to be employed to solve every puzzle. This gives an opportunity to the child to evaluate various solutions and work out the best strategy to solve it. This solution seeking approach is an important learning skill in a world where no two problems will ever be the same.
To summarize, puzzles help improve spatial ability, hand eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills, and attention span in growing kids.
Check out our World Jigsaw Puzzle here.