Monday, January 12, 2009

Doing Jigsaw Puzzles with Children.

Jigsaw puzzles can be one of the most effective ways of teaching children many skills, concentration, achievement, sorting, social, sharing, calming, intricate finger movements, language etc.
However to teach the child is not an easy task, I find help and encouragement is the key, a line has to be drawn as to how much the child completes before he/she gets very frustrated and gives up, it should always be a pleasurable experience not a chore to finish the puzzle, the rewards of self achievement are great when the puzzle is done.
It is important to start with simple and few pieces to attain the result without too much effort, with lots of praise given, then when the confidence is gained carry on to more difficult ones.
I start babies off with simple wooden puzzles that the child can pick out using pincer movements. Once out they have to use another skill to sort where the piece goes, invariably they cannot easily get the piece back in its slot so concentration is needed, this is where I step in and put the piece in letting the child press into place gaining achievement a big cuddle and lots of praise, therefore the child will want to do more.

With the next stage, interlocking puzzle, again I start by showing how to find the right piece and put it in place getting the child to push it in. Then stand back for the child to copy my actions. All the time chatting to them about the picture.

With a more complicated one with an edge and middle to fill in, I always sort out the edge pieces at the beginning and connect them first to get the frame, so the task isn’t so daunting. These are the ones that can be good for learning social skills, helping each other in a group situation.

Jigsaw puzzles are a handy solution when things are getting a bit boisterous, as long as when help is needed you are close at hand, if not make sure the ability of the child can match the task.
Have an assortment of age and skill choices, make sure the puzzle is complete on commencing [nothing worse than a piece missing!] have adequate space i.e. floor, board or table big enough. Also with big ones store somewhere so that you can come back later to finish.

So to conclude I hope you enjoy taking part in a hobby that can be quite beneficial, educational and a pursuit that you can consume lots of time with your children.

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