I don’t know if this is just happening to us or if, much like the Coronavirus, it is a global pandemic impacting all parents, but there is something strange that seems to occur in my son’s toybox. His collection of wooden puzzles appear to multiply as if by magic. And I have no idea how it is happening.
We started off with one. Then another appeared. Now, out of nowhere, we have ten of them, and I find myself spending big chunks of each day trying to collect together all the pieces and reassign them to the correct board, before giving up entirely around 4pm and chucking them all in a bag – one giant puzzle piece free for all that see’s a new game appear that I like to call ‘shake the bag and see which piece you pull out.’ Inventive, no?
Luckily, Rory’s dad is a big jigsaw fan and so, I suspect thanks to genetics, wooden puzzles have always been something of a hit around here. And, recently, at just 15 months, my little boy tottered over with his ‘food’ board (his favourite one, he takes after his mama, too) set it down in front of me, settled his features into a mask of concentration, and completed it right before my eyes.
Honestly, I could have cried. Mum pride really hits me right in the feels in moments such as this, and his happy little face and celebratory hand-clapping were just the cherry on the cake.
Since this occurrence, little one has spent many a 15-minute time slot trying to complete all ten puzzles at once. Which lead me to wonder… What developmental benefits come from such a task?
Here is what I found:
- Wooden puzzles are good for teaching children the ‘concept of the whole,’ because ‘each piece is a fraction of the bigger picture,’ according to mileskelly.net. “It also helps develop basic skills such as shape recognition, concentration, goal setting, patience and a sense of achievement, which will stand children in good stead for school.”
- They’re great for physical development. Promoting hand-eye co-ordination, the development of gross motor skills, and the development of fine motor skills, also, which can eventually lead to better writing and typing (very important in this modern world!) skills
- And for intellectual development, too. Not only are your toddler’s power of concentration challenged, but so is their critical thinking, their judgment, and their visual perception skills. Just watch and see how much of themselves they dedicate to not only locating the right spot on the board, but to twisting each piece into the right position, and placing it into its slot. You can almost see their brains growing two sizes in the process
- Wooden puzzles help toddlers to develop tactical skills. Which is terrifying, quite frankly, but necessary in the long run
- And helps to improve their memory, too. As they repeat the same puzzle, and start to remember where each piece goes without requiring quite so much concentration as before
Next step: a 1000 piece jigsaw.
… Too much? 😉