Benefits of Puzzles in Early Childhood – From Toddler to Preschooler

Puzzles are one of my son’s favorite play resources. I love watching him trying to figure out how to solve a puzzle.

But does this kind of play benefit toddlers and preschoolers?

Well, I compiled 4 benefits of puzzles, why they’re beneficial for toddlers, and why they’re important in early childhood.

Just sit back, sip that coffee and read on!

By Lilian.

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Benefits of Puzzles

Playing with Puzzles Grows Motor Skills

Have you watched your little one turn, flip, wriggle and slide the puzzle pieces into position?

As they pick up, move and twist the pieces, they are exercising the muscles on their fingers and hands, hence developing their fine motor skills.

As they stretch their body across to pick up a puzzle piece on their left/right side and move back to position it, they’re developing gross motor skills.

Puzzle Play Enhances Hand-Eye Coordination

As your child identifies a puzzle piece using their eyes and picks it up using their hands, they’re practicing hand-eye coordination.

Good hand-eye coordination contributes to shorter response/reaction times for the brain, which means your little one will be more agile.

Puzzle Play Improves Concentration

I recently watched my son play puzzles with his cousin. Well, there was pin-drop silence, you wouldn’t believe there were two 6-year-olds in the house!

Puzzle play pushes your little one to be still and concentrate longer than they normally would. The result is a longer concentration span.

Puzzles Nurture Problem-Solving Skills

Do you know what’s the basic idea in puzzle play? Stimulating your child’s mind to solve the challenge posed in the puzzle.

This is what problem-solving is all about!

As preschoolers employ logical thinking to figure out how to solve puzzles, they’re slowly learning how to solve the problems they face in daily life!

Don’t forget about the self-confidence they get when they complete the puzzle, which is the very reason you should get them age-appropriate puzzles.

Let us now focus on the Number Puzzles. Are they good for kids?

Benefits of Number Puzzles

First of all, let’s set the record straight. A number puzzle is just like any other puzzle, only that it has a number element.

So, the benefits of puzzle play described above are also present with number puzzles. However, there are a few unique benefits of number puzzles.

One thing I love about them is that they teach children Math without them even knowing it! I feel like they are just the most interesting Math lessons!

You see, not many people love Math.

In fact, many students think Math is dull and not relatable, not as exciting as Science and History.

Which better way to introduce such a subject to your little one than to make it as exciting as possible, from the word go?

Interestingly, there is evidence that children who play Math games such as number puzzles enjoyed Math more than their peers.

Would you like to know why puzzles are particularly good for toddlers and early childhood? Read on!

Why are Puzzles Beneficial for Toddlers?

Puzzles are great for toddlers for many reasons.

As mentioned earlier, they help toddlers develop very fundamental skills, such as fine motor skills. With these skills, it becomes easier for you to train them how to brush their teeth, dress up, or even write using a pen.

Puzzles also help toddlers recognize different shapes, patterns, images, colors, and forms.

And by the way, puzzle play is a good way of keeping your little one busy, which could even reduce those toddler tantrums!

Importance of Puzzles in Early Childhood

The early childhood stage is the foundation of every child’s future development.

This is the time children develop skills they will require in their future. Puzzles are great at this!

They help children exercise their problem-solving skills, their motor skills, ability to concentrate for long periods, etc., in readiness for their future lives.

Skills developed in early childhood also affect how a person responds to stress later in life.

Well, puzzles build perseverance, which helps them cope with stress even in adulthood.

You cannot forget about the boost in self-confidence children gain from playing puzzles. Self-confidence is the most beautiful thing your child can wear, from early childhood to adulthood.

You’re probably wondering, what are the advantages and disadvantages of puzzle play? Don’t worry. I got you.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Puzzles

Puzzles have very many advantages. They improve motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, and concentration.

Other advantages include boosting self-confidence, memory, spatial awareness and visual perception.

They also develop STEM skills!

Here’s the list of disadvantages.

Some Puzzles Cause Frustration

Are there times when even you – as an adult – tried to solve an issue that took you so long, and was extremely difficult for you? Remember feeling frustrated?
Well, children also get frustrated when the puzzle takes too long to complete, or when they cannot fathom it.

This is why it’s always advisable to get them age-appropriate puzzles.

Losing a Single Puzzle Piece Means Game Over

As much as puzzles are good, the minute your child loses one piece, it means that they can’t finish the puzzle.

Unfortunately, the stores that sell the missing pieces do so at extremely high prices.

Puzzles have no Rigid Fixation

One thing about puzzles is that they have no rigid fixation. This means that even a little accidental touch can break the complete puzzle.

After dedicating so much energy, focus, and time to complete the puzzle, isn’t this heart-breaking for your little one?

Overall, puzzle play is great for kids, it gives them so many benefits.

However, for maximum benefits, always ensure you get age-appropriate puzzles.


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