Playing with jigsaw puzzles teaches children problem solving and helps with fine motor skills, hand–eye coordination and spatial awareness. Jigsaw puzzles also help with children’s visual perception skills, which are necessary in maths and writing.
Fine motor skills
Fine motor skills deal with the small muscles in our hands. Children need to develop these in order to learn how to write. When children play with jigsaw puzzles, they are constantly picking up jigsaw pieces and turning them to decide where to put them. This strengthens those hand muscles.
Children will also develop the relationship between their hands and their brains with puzzle activity.
Playing jigsaw puzzles can hone a child’s ability to understand the spatial relation between objects. For example, your child might look at a jigsaw puzzle piece with a cornered side. They might realise this means that this piece goes into the corner of the picture or another shape.
Visual perception is the skill children need in order to comprehend what they see. By playing with jigsaw puzzles, a child understands how to make sense of part of a picture.
Where to get them
Most toyshops stock inexpensive jigsaw puzzles, however you might find some available to borrow at local toy libraries. Always look for age-appropriate puzzles. The younger the child, the bigger the pieces need to be. You can even make your own by cutting a picture into two or more pieces—they don’t have to look like traditional jigsaw pieces. Cutting in straight lines will also do the job.