How to choose a puzzle for a child

How to choose the right jigsaw puzzle for a child? This issue is faced by parents of children aged 1.5 years and older. After all, puzzles are a good training for fine motor skills, promote the development of visual-motor coordination, teach patience and perseverance.

A well-chosen puzzle can be a source of joy and development in the game. While too complex can cause boredom and even frustration. Below are some tips on how to choose a puzzle for a child that would match the child’s age, development, and skills.

How to choose a puzzle for a child: what to pay attention to?

The number of parts and the child’s experience in collecting puzzles
These two items are combined together because they strongly affect each other. When you buy a puzzle, you see the recommended age for which this game is intended. But this may have nothing to do with reality.

Some children at 3 years old are able to assemble a puzzle of 20 pieces, especially if they have a lot of experience and puzzle is a favorite game. For children who are just getting acquainted with puzzles at 3 years old, a puzzle of 4 pieces will be enough. Therefore, focus on your child and his skills, choosing a puzzle with feasible complexity, which is in the zone of his closest development.

The General recommendations are as follows:

1.5-2 years – 2-3 PCs.
2-3 years – 4 to 6 PCs.
3-4 years – 6-12 PCs. (for more experienced up to 20 PCs.)
4-5 years – 20-40 PCs. (for more experienced up to 60 PCs.)
6-8 years – from 60 and more
Significantly reduce the complexity of the puzzle:

the presence of a contour in which the puzzle is assembled;
presence of a picture of the assembled puzzle;
the presence of an image is the basis for collecting the puzzle, when the puzzle pieces must be correlated with the image in the picture.
The size of each puzzle and how to connect them
The main rule of this paragraph is the following: the younger the child, the larger the puzzles and their parts should be and the easier way to connect the parts.

For a kid of 1.5 years old, the first puzzle with a total size of 10 by 10 cm will be convenient, connecting by simply applying the parts to each other (on the principle of a split picture).

After 2 years, the child is able to master puzzles with blocking (classic puzzles).

Three-dimensional puzzles that allow you to move from a flat image to a three-dimensional image are recommended for children from 6 years old., but with a small number of details, they are available to children from 3-4 years old.

In preschool age, the size of a separate puzzle should not be less than 3.5-4 cm.

Theme, image detail, and color changes
When choosing a puzzle for a child, focus on their preferences in the game.

Age recommendations are as follows:

At the age of 1.5-3 years, give preference to well-known objects and characters from the everyday life of the child or his favorite cartoons. Also popular with children of this age:

animals,
transport,
toys,
situational scenes.

The image should be clear and understandable with minimal detail. The colors are bright and contrasting. It is good if the puzzle has a contour in which the child must correctly place individual parts. For kids, it is preferable to have a handle for more convenient manipulation of the puzzle elements.

At 4-5 years old, the child already has considerable experience in collecting puzzles. It freely rotates and attaches various parts to each other. Although trial and error still prevails, the first beginnings of a systematic approach to image creation are emerging.

For this age, it is also recommended to limit the puzzle to a contour that will tell the child the correct location of the puzzle parts.

At 6-8 years of age, the child has already developed enough system thinking to determine the place of a separate part in the whole puzzle. The puzzle for such a child is complicated by finer detail and less contrasting color transition. Children can develop their own methods (strategies) for solving the puzzle – according to the shape, color, or object in the image. In this age group, children choose the game that they consider the most difficult for them.

As a rule, puzzles are considered as toys or entertainment. But at the same time, puzzles are a great springboard for learning, it is worth changing the topic to the one you need. Geographical maps, the alphabet, riddles, mathematical puzzles and puzzles with letters – these are just a small list of things that will help you in the learning and development of your child.

The quality of the puzzles (the material, the susceptibility to bending and twisting parts, precision cutting)
Puzzles for kids are often made of wood to ensure their durability. A small child can be quite rude when playing with such puzzles without breaking their integrity. This allows you to increase the number of trial and error in the placement of puzzle pieces. The latter also applies to textile puzzles, which you can make yourself using our master class.

Cardboard is the most common material for older children, but it requires careful handling to prevent bending or breaking pieces of the puzzle.

Foam appears in puzzles for both small and older children. The foam puzzle pieces are easy for kids to grasp. And in three-dimensional puzzles help keep the shape of the puzzle due to its volume.

Both children and adults can benefit from collecting puzzles in the form of improved memory and problem-solving skills. Children learn to match parts based on shape, size, and color. They use short-term memory to sort out puzzle pieces and remember those that are comparable to different puzzle pieces. Depending on the final image, there may be areas that need to be collected by trial and error, which will require the child to be able to make decisions.

At the same time, puzzles are a great occasion for joint games with the whole family. Adults can encourage children by asking questions about the Assembly process, asking their predictions about the connection of various parts and the final result. The child learns to cooperate and play as a team to solve a common problem.

Top 5 best puzzles

Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle (48 pc)

SainSmart Jr. Wooden Tetris Puzzle 40 Pcs Brain Teasers Toy for Kids, Wood Puzzle Box Brain Games Wood Burr Tangram Jigsaw Toy Children Days


Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles for Kids Ages 3-8 Year Old, [60 Piece] 4 Theme Colorful Wooden Puzzles for Toddler Children Learning Educational Puzzles Toys for Boys and Girls


Melissa and Doug World of Bugs 60 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle


Petit Collage Enchanted Woodland Floor Puzzle, 24 Pieces

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