Puzzles are a great tool for encouraging cognitive development in children of all ages, but have you ever wondered about the benefits of puzzles for toddlers in particular? There are many kinds of puzzles out there that are marketed to the very young, so what do they actually do for developing brains?
Here are 5 key learning skills that puzzles teach toddlers:
1. Children Learn To Problem Solve
Working on puzzles will teach children how to try many different options before they find the correct one. They will practice the trial and error method of finding a solution by spinning, flipping, and moving pieces until they fit perfectly. It will also help them learn about patience, persistence, and logic.
2. Puzzles Encourage Hand-Eye Coordination
Children need to flip, shift, and turn pieces in order to get them to fit together, and while they are doing this they are strengthening the connection between their hands and their eyes. The more grasping and manipulating kids do as toddlers, the better – researchers have gone so far as to say that this type of activity is even more important for toddlers than learning to read and write.
3. Fine Motor Skills Are Developed
Fine motor skills require small movements in the hands and fingers, and puzzles are the perfect opportunity to strengthen these skills. Furthermore, a child who has been practicing their fine motor skills from an early age will have an easier time learning how to write, as writing with a pencil requires small, specialized movements of the hands and fingers.
4. Shape Recognition Is Improved
Learning to recognize and sort shapes is an important part of the cognitive development of both babies and toddlers. Puzzles can be a great resource for learning this skill, as children can not only see the shapes, but they can feel them as well.
5. Puzzles Strengthen Memory Skills
Kids will try to make pieces fit, then set them aside and try another until they find success. They will then need to recall the shapes, sizes, and colors of pieces they have set aside in order to use them later.