Okay, we know that jigsaw puzzle is one of the best games for children. Also, you may have learned about how to pick the perfect toys for your kids. There is one last piece of advice: Don’t just buy some puzzles at home and leave your children to play alone. Puzzling is actually good entertainment with parents, and you are in a critical role in bringing the best out of this game.
Now, it is time to check out the details on what dads and mums can actually help them learn through play. You can make a huge difference in their growth and development! This is a healthy game to play with parents.
We are going through some suggestions on how to approach puzzling together below. For example, what you can/should do when the toddlers seem to struggle in the process.
Sure you want to offer the best for your beloved kids, and see them enjoying the game. Let’s spend some valuable time together this weekend…
Game to play with parents: How to build jigsaw puzzles with kids?
Struggles could take place in any game, especially for toddlers. Parents can keep an eye from a distance in the beginning, and chip in to offer help when they seem to be stuck. Even better, play together with your kids and then share hints if needed.
Believe me, this is a perfect game to play with parents and all children love the moment.
When they play for the first time or start a more advanced jigsaw puzzle, you can guide them through the game by introducing the common strategy. For example, starting by grouping pieces of similar colors, shapes or textures, etc. This can make their life easier, and hopefully, avoid as many failures as possible. This is of course a good lesson/training about having preparations for anything.
If the little ones seem to be lost, you may try starting a question like “Oh, these pieces are in yellow? Do you notice anything in yellow color here? How about the Pikachu?” Show them the cover and remind them how the theme actually looks, if necessary…
Even better, you can lead them to group pieces into categories, suggesting that this may be an easier start. Let them experiment and decide if they want to adopt the idea.
Puzzles for kids are probably designed differently and may have various shapes. Here you can challenge them to think more by pointing out a few things: “The shape of this piece looks fairly interesting. I wonder where it belongs to… what do you think?” Show them the image on the box for reference, if necessary.
Or, lead them into thinking further: “This looks like some feathers… Is this a wing or a tail? Mmm… so who has wings here? Which creature here has a tail?”
Always encourage them to refer to the box whenever needed. Ask the kids, “Is this more likely at the left or right? Maybe we group them there together, for now, so we can have easy access later.”
Show weakness at times
When kids feel defeated, try to give their confidence back and even add a bit of authority. You may show them a simple piece and ask them for advice: “I’ve seen this more than once… Can you help me to find where it should be?” Then, casually guide them to somewhere near the correct position, and leave them to make the final touch. This can make them feel easier and relieved.
Make fun of the kids
When the children seem to start losing interest, you may consider teasing them a bit: “I’ve almost done on this side, faster than you. Haha!” Of course, this depends on his/her personality, and be careful not to go too far or push too hard. You do not want to make them cry and ruin the atmosphere… otherwise, even worse, they may not want to puzzle again.
Take a break
If they look tired or absolutely clueless, let’s have a break and walk away for a while. Enjoy some snacks and refresh themselves before coming back to try again. Interestingly, they will see everything suddenly gets better this time!
Offer a bigger challenge when the timing is right
When they have finished a set quickly enough, it may be the right time to consider advancing to the next level. Get them a bigger or more complicated jigsaw puzzle next time!
Don’t be too stingy in praising your children. A simple “Well Done!” and “Oh, that’s a smart move.” can dramatically help boost their confidence. They will remember it for a long time!
Puzzling is beneficial to children’s growth and development. Every kid is born to hate losses and is difficult to accept failure. However, it is essential to learn how to handle those by themselves in the future. It is never easy for children to practice patience and resilience though.
Actually, this is sometimes simpler than thought: Once they succeed in building a few pieces correctly and see the progress, they would naturally establish some self-confidence and instantly feel a sense of accomplishment. The delight is all written on the faces of every young kid (actually the same for some adults). It is an important motivation for them to keep going…
Introduce the essential strategy
Puzzling has some practical strategies, which are particularly useful for big puzzles and for beginners. Of course, parents would better show by example and lead here. Let’s recap briefly here:
- Teach them the concept about edge/border, and locate those pieces first
- Help them plan a category list, based on e.g. colors, textures or major objects on the stage
- Organize the pieces into groups
- Try to start with bigger/most contrasted/obvious pieces
Some bonus to the jigsaw puzzle after finished
After finishing, you can frame the set or disassemble the puzzle after a while. Before doing the latter, parents can offer a bonus lesson for the kids. For example, ask them to construct a short story about the theme: “What do you see in this puzzle? What is the cat doing?” “Maybe she is inviting her dog friend for a picnic on Sunday. They meet new friends (rabbit, bear, and bird) in the park, and have a good time together…”
This is also a tool/material to stimulate their creativity and logical thinking.
Playing jigsaw puzzles together is such great entertainment to bond with your children. It is a perfect game to play with parents.
As a parent, you always have an influence on your children at any time. Sure you will be surprised how much they have learned from the game as well as from you while puzzling together.
So, the last piece of advice: Beware of your language and temper when playing jigsaw puzzles with kids!