Puzzle Power: Five Things Children Learn from these Interactive Kids Games
There’s a reason why parents, educators and kids all consider puzzles some of their favorite interactive kids games. Puzzles are fantastic learning tools because they promote fine motor, cognitive and emotional skills, all at the same time. Let’s look at what these specific skills are!
Skills Puzzles Build
- Spatial vocabulary – Moving pieces and sorting through shapes and colors helps kids develop spatial awareness.
- Problem-solving – Each puzzle opening is a chance to test different solutions. Puzzles let kids problem solve through trial and error.
- Fine-motor development & hand-eye coordination – As kids choose, turn, and flip puzzle pieces to find the right fit, they develop small-muscle control and hand-eye coordination.
- Memory – Completing these interactive kids games requires setting pieces aside for later and keeping track of colors, shapes, and positions, which boosts memory.
- Persistence – Solving puzzles teaches kids that hard work eventually pays off! This is a great activity for building patience and persistence.
Puzzles can also promote social skills if the child is completing the puzzle with a partner. So, why not make taking turns or discussing where a piece should go part of the educational fun?
How to Pick the Perfect Puzzle
When you are choosing your puzzle, here are three things to keep in mind:
The Degree of Difficulty
Find a sweet spot with a puzzle that is not too easy and not too hard. If it is too simple, chances are your child will solve it a few times and not touch it again. On the other hand, you also do not want to discourage kids with harder puzzles that confuse or frustrate them.
When it comes to older kids, you might want to consider if your child would love taking on a more challenging puzzle with friends. A partner will make the extra time your child spends on the puzzle fly by.
Puzzles typically come in two formats: mechanical and jigsaw. Jigsaw puzzles involve putting pieces into place to complete a picture. They are often used as fun games for preschoolers. Mechanical puzzles, meanwhile, involve manipulating objects. These types of puzzles include 3D brainteasers and Rubik’s cubes and may require more advanced thinking.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation to make sure your kids are the right age to enjoy the puzzle. Little ones love puzzles that are large and colorful. For older kids, more intricate, creative game puzzles like 3D models are a great choice.
If your child loves interactive screen time, one of the best kids iPad games is Tangram. In this game, kids put pieces together to mirror the image on their screen, turning pieces this way and that till they get it right. It’s the perfect game for kids who get bored easily and want immediate feedback on how they are doing.
Puzzles are one of the easiest ways to encourage your child to build a variety of skills. Make sure to pick up fun learning games with different formats and levels of difficulty to maximize the educational benefits of puzzles.