Monday, June 22, 2009

A Puzzling Thought

Yes, I am a puzzle fanatic! But that fact aside, I do encourage a love of puzzles in my children for more academic reasons.

They have all loved to do puzzles since they were very little. Since my oldest (not pictured below) was born I always made sure simple board puzzles were available for his enjoyment. By the time he was 3 years old, he would make a game of dumping them all out and then racing to put them together all at once!

As they have grown, so has the level of puzzles I have presented to them. We keep a shelf packed with all types and they will, at various given moments, pull one out and proceed to piece them together.

I have tried to draw them into the puzzles I enjoy, the 500 - 1000 piece types. At first they were intimidated. I encouraged them to help me find edges and, upon doing that, they would find a section of the puzzle picture that drew their interest and focus in on it.

The above picture represents a milestone in this process. ALL 3 of the my youngest children actually sat and worked on this one with me, at times completing more than I did! My ADHD child was intent on her area (the city skyline) and I saw it help her to settle and calm down at times. My dyslexic was fascinated with the old cars. Piecing together their details helps him to work on discerning differences and detecting details... a skill crucial for dyslexics. My youngest just enjoyed taking part in something with the big kids (she, like my oldest not pictured, is a puzzle fanatic and accelerated child)

Where to start? Pick a 500 piece puzzle. The one pictured here is actually 1000 piece. Also, choose puzzles that do not repeat too much. The ones with nothing but cookies or a lot of reflections can be overwhelming for young prospects. Instead pick large, simple, colorful designs with pictures that might draw your child's interest. The one above was chosen because we have been reading The Secret Garden and studying that era and the eras close to it. I knew the cars would appeal to my son, the flowers to my youngest, and the horse statue and city scape to my other daughter. I was not disappointed!

Happy Puzzle Piecing!

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