For an engineer, an architect, an artist or a designer, the ability to mentally transform forms is crucial in their daily performance. But, to develop advanced shape-shifting skills, they need to start practicing early.
The Benefits Of Puzzles For Children
Wooden puzzles are a great way to train these skills, and children should start as young as two years old. Puzzles are a great way for children to develop their fine motor skills, concentration and patience. They also help them learn to be better observers and problem solvers. Puzzles are also a great way to promote socialization, as children must work together to complete them.
- Puzzles and spatial skills
The researchers observed children aged two to four years playing wooden puzzles as they would in their normal home environment. They found that regular play of wooden puzzles predicted advanced spatial skills in children aged 54 months. In a later test, at age 5, children who played puzzles daily, at least twice a week, performed significantly better on tasks involving the translation and rotation of shapes.
Both boys and girls who played wooden puzzles as children performed better on spatial tests than children who did not play them, but the boys’ scores were better. The boys also played more complicated and intricate puzzles. Scientists suspect that the difference between boys and girls is due more to parental input than to a real difference in spatial ability between the two sexes.
The research findings support the conventional wisdom that playing puzzles promotes the development of the mental skills needed to perform well in subjects such as technology, mathematics and engineering.
- Development of fine motor skills
The ability to spatially transform is just one of the many skills children can develop while playing puzzles. Playing with large puzzles can help babies develop gross motor skills, and for older children, manipulating small puzzle pieces promotes fine motor development. Fine motor skills are related to hand-eye coordination.
Children who develop fine motor skills early in life have an easier time learning to draw and write or play an instrument. If children have difficulty with hand-eye coordination when doing puzzles, it is an early sign of a developmental disorder and means that parents should seek professional help. Early detection of a problem can increase the chances of resolving it.
- Problem solving and intelligence
Playing with wooden puzzles is a great way for kids to learn an important skill: problem solving. Scientists consider problem solving to be an important aspect of intelligence. Playing wooden puzzles, with or without a picture of the finished puzzle, forces children to look for the solution to the problem by finding the right piece for the part. They use their experiences from previous games, but with a different image, in a different situation. The more they play puzzle games, the easier the task of finding the right piece becomes. They learn that they need to turn the piece to find the right size, that they need to look at what colors and patterns go together, and most importantly, that they need to create a frame with the pieces on the edge.
These are not simple tasks for young children, but practice accelerates the speed at which they learn in amazing ways. By trying different pieces for a given space, children learn to develop strategies by dividing similar pieces into groups for later use, giving their brains extra exercise.
Children often have difficulty concentrating and have short attention spans. But once they get into a wooden puzzle, they are able to spend an unusual amount of time playing without losing interest in completing the picture.
The completed puzzle also gives them a sense of satisfaction, which increases their self-esteem. Playing puzzles with a sibling stimulates a competitive spirit, which reinforces the need for perseverance to complete the task as quickly as possible.
- Strengthen memory
As children grow older, they are attracted to more and more complicated puzzles. Most of them require a picture of the finished puzzle to be played. Children match each piece they try to place to the location they see in the picture and remember the correct placement as with the wooden animal puzzles. Also, if the piece doesn’t fit, they set it aside and remember it later when they find the right spot.
- Geography, history and biology
By choosing the right puzzle, parents can help their children engage with a difficult school subject and make it fun. If geography is a problem, a puzzle depicting a map of the world may spark an interest that the teacher has failed to create. Puzzles depicting historical events such as battles can help children understand the importance of drawing on history to understand the present.
A puzzle with a picture of a human skeleton or body can be a wonderful introduction to the basic biology of human organs. With the wide variety of puzzles available, all parents can find one that fits the specific topic their child needs a little help with.
- Social skills
Although puzzles can be played alone, they are much more fun when played in a group or at least with a partner. Playing with others teaches children to cooperate, take turns, wait and follow rules. There is no cheating in puzzles, there is only one way to do things, but the rules of fair play still apply.
Children learn to cooperate by dividing the task and separating the pieces by color or pattern, for example. With more players, children can play in teams, which teaches them to form alliances and teams. Like all the best toys, puzzles teach children important social rules in a fun and playful way.
- Language skills
Young children usually play with their parents, who give them instructions and help them by explaining the different parts of the puzzles, using words, phrases and terms that may be new to the children. Each new puzzle offers parents the opportunity to expand their children’s vocabulary.
- The game
In addition to promoting cognitive development, puzzles are pure entertainment and provide hours of play and fun. It is especially important for children to play with their parents and grandparents, who are gradually losing their place in the education and development of children and are being replaced by television and computers. Nothing can replace human relationships and interactions.
Children and parents who play together also solve other problems together, support each other and trust each other. It is no exaggeration to say that when parents play puzzles together, they create a bridge in their children’s heads. This window can allow them to recognize the problem when it arises to offer help and support before the problem becomes more difficult.