Advice Column, Toddler, Toptots

Why puzzles are important for stimulating young minds

  • Toptots Head Office
  • Category Advice Column, Toddler, Toptots

There is nothing new about the fact that children love doing puzzles. In most shapes or forms, puzzles can keep your child entertained for hours. And the really great news? Puzzles can help turn your child into a genius.

Okay, perhaps not all children who do puzzles will automatically turn into mini-Einstein’s (here’s hoping though), but studies have proven just how much they can really help your child. From a very early age, your child starts to learn a variety of things through play. These learned skills often assist your child as they grow up and are faced with academic challenges. As parents, it is our job to put them in an environment where they have access to play time that teaches them things. Something as simple as a puzzle can do the trick.

One of the biggest perks to puzzle building is fine motor skills. This is the ability to manoeuvre small objects and strengthen small muscles and joints in your child’s hands. This skill can never be developed too early and will assist them with vital skills such as writing.

Another one is hand-eye co-ordination. As your child attempts to place each puzzle piece in the right space, they are actually strengthening the connection between what their eye sees and their hand does. And while they are trying to figure out which pieces go where, they are practising their problem solving skills – which is one thing they will definitely need throughout their lives.

Puzzles also introduce your child to a world of creativity. They learn that they can build something from scratch, and are rewarded with the finished product. Of course toddlers favour instant gratification, but slowly figuring out how to put the puzzle together will teach them patience too. Their memory can also be strengthened through puzzle building. If a piece doesn’t fit, they have to remember to come back and try it again later.

It is important to buy a puzzle that is age appropriate for your child, as to not dishearten them with a difficulty that is beyond their ability. The more colourful the puzzle is, the better. Especially for your toddler, who will be gaining the ability to identify colours and shapes every time they attempt to build one.

Toptots Tip: Once your child has built a puzzle a few times, why not stick it onto a board and frame it. It makes a great wall piece for their room and a memory for when they are older.

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