Games

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Puzzles: Types, Benefits & More!

Puzzle-solving is a classic game that never goes out of style and that has several benefits surrounding the overall development of children as well as adults.

Different types of puzzles, which one to choose?

There are a variety of puzzles, so we have grouped them based on the following characteristics:

Material

Based on the type of material used for their manufacturing, there are cardboard puzzles and wooden puzzles. The cardboard ones usually have different scenes or drawings printed on. You can even glue the completed puzzle on a rigid surface and hang them up.

Wooden puzzles are made with 1/4” plywood and use advance print technology for eye-popping color.

Shape

Puzzles are usually in square or rectangular shapes but can also be round with edge pieces with one straight or smoothly curved side, plus four corner pieces (if the puzzle is square or rectangular). However, some puzzles have edge and corner pieces cut like the rest, with no straight sides, making it more challenging to identify them.

Size

Jigsaw puzzles come in a variety of sizes. Among those marketed to adults, 300-, 500- and 750-piece puzzles are considered “smaller”. More sophisticated, but still common, puzzles come in sizes of 1,000, up to 40,000 pieces.

Benefits of Puzzles

When we think of jigsaw puzzles, we usually think of it as a fun pastime and hobby, in addition to its being fun it also has great health benefits.

Puzzles are known help children develop motor and mental skills, improve memory and mood and help prevent illnesses with the elderly.

Playing with puzzles develops your child’s capacity for concentration and observation since they must pay attention to the different colors, shapes, the small details of the drawing if there are any, and that requires calmness and dedication. This is one of the things that we personally like the most about puzzles, the fact that it offers children of all ages a calm and quiet playtime.

Another benefit of puzzles is that they help your child in developing a very complex mental process when they relate different parts of a puzzle. They understand that a piece that makes no sense alone becomes a beautiful landscape or a fun animal when connected with other pieces. This helps with their understanding of the world as they experience first-hand the importance of collaboration and of composing and creating.

Puzzles also help them reflect before acting and to test and check if the result is as expected or not. This improves their ability to tolerate frustration and be persistent in their goal no matter how challenging it is. The complexity of the puzzle must be appropriate for your child’s age so that it is interesting enough for them to assemble while being challenging at the same time. If it is very easy and they assemble it quickly, they will eventually get bored. However, puzzles should not be so difficult that they feel incapable of solving them.

The satisfaction when assembling a puzzle is also a reinforcement of one’s self-esteem and a way of feeling that they are capable of overcoming challenges and meeting goals. It is recommended that if your child asks you for help, you act as a guide but do not solve the puzzle yourself. Your child will feel reassured with your presence and support and can assemble the puzzle by themselves.

Puzzles are also great for developing mathematical thinking associated with the ability to sort and classify. Before starting to solve a puzzle, some children group all the pieces of the same color or all those that have a flat side, etc., it is a way of understanding the game and starting to play through classification, a very important mental capacity that your child develops and reinforces almost without realizing.

Putting together a puzzle is also an activity that develops the creative thinking and the ability to solve problems. This is something that in the adults sometimes lack, we lose our creativity and if given a blank paper and told to draw something, most adults do not know what to do or end up drawing something boring and repetitive (one flower, a house, a person). On the other hand, children have an infinite capacity to create different possibilities and thanks to the puzzle they can put it into practice and find different ways to solve the puzzle.

What is the best puzzle for each age?

There is a general recommendation regarding how many pieces a puzzle should have based on the age of a child. However, it is very important to take into account the recurrence of play.

If your child has played with nesting puzzles when they were a baby and then were introduced to age-appropriate puzzles it is likely that they will feel much more comfortable doing puzzles than a child of the same age that has not played much with these types of toys.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation to find the right puzzle for the recommended age and then let your child play the puzzle calmly and at their own pace. Some children can solve it very quickly, while others need more time.

The general recommendations regarding the number of pieces show that for children up to 2 years, it is better to have less than 4 parts. In fact, most of the puzzles at this stage are nestable in different ways that your little one will have to put in their place. And in the case of puzzles in the most classic sense of the word, it is better to have very few pieces since before the age of 2, it is very difficult for them to carry out the process of mental abstraction that is required to solve a puzzle.

From the age of 3, the puzzle begins to be more complex and expands to 12 pieces; and from the age of 4, you can even reach 22 pieces. At this stage, it is interesting to offer letter and number puzzles if they already begin to recognize the alphabet or the letters of their own name so that they can play with them.

From the age of 4, children can comfortably play with puzzles of between 22 and 48 pieces and generally from the age of 5 or 6, they already feel comfortable with a large puzzle of 50 pieces. Of course, there is no age limit to enjoy putting together a puzzle, so if your child likes them, you will find many interesting and challenging puzzle options for boys and girls of ages 8 and up.

We hope this has been useful for you to understand the world of puzzles and hopefully you will purchase your child a puzzle. Find the best puzzles for your kids, of every age, from Jigsaw Jungle today!

Related reading: Free Online Puzzle Games for Kids

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