We LOVE puzzles. A treasured tradition for many holidays, is coming together as a family and putting a large puzzle together. They play a big part in our homeschool as well. We pull out a puzzle a minimum of three times a week. Puzzles focus and relax us, but more importantly they bring us together.
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- PUZZLES! Our favorites are Melissa & Doug puzzles. They come in bright colors, with engaging artwork, and span all learning levels. Best of all, they are quality puzzles that last. They especially hold up well to baby slobber! We have a gazillion puzzles, and Melissa & Doug puzzles are by far the go-to's for the kiddos.
We incorporate puzzles into our life and into our homeschool. The concentration, critical thinking, and problem solving skills that go into completing puzzles are important life skills. Puzzles have a built in control of error so kiddos have the ability to self-correct which is great for developing independence and confidence in ability. They also hone fine motor skills placing each and every piece.
Puzzles require patience, follow through, and focus and those are all things that make us better learners (and people.) Kiddos flex their team building muscles by working together to complete a common goal - finishing! My kidlets also love to work on puzzles independently or during special mama/kiddo time. They really are adaptable for every situation.
Here are ideas for adding puzzles into your homeschool:
- Add a puzzle into your next themed unit such as farm animals, space or transportation.
- Use alphabet or number puzzles to reinforce letter and number recognition. Trace the letter or number puzzle pieces onto paper.
- Hide puzzle pieces around the house and race to find them all. Great gross motor activity!
- Use color puzzles to learn color names. Have kiddos point to the red piece, the yellow piece, etc.
- Set a timer while completing a puzzle to familiarize kiddos with increments of time.
- Geography puzzles are fantastic for learning names and details of states, countries and continents. The puzzles where each piece is its own shape are the best (the Texas piece is really shaped like the state of Texas.)
- Use shape puzzles to learn shape names. Have kiddos close their eyes and identify shape pieces by touch.
A few final strategies:
- If you have different aged kiddos, give them tasks based on their skill/age level. Have younger kiddos find all the pieces of a specific color or pattern. Have older kiddos start piecing them together.
- We always start our puzzles by flipping all the pieces over to the puzzle side up. Then we move onto the outer flat edged pieces and work our way in. The kiddos sometimes focus on things like faces and then work off of that starting point.
- Usually we prop up the puzzle box cover to compare our work against the finished product. To reinvigorate interest in an old puzzle, bring it out, but lose the puzzle box top so that you put the puzzle together from memory.
- If you lose a piece, no problem. When you're finished putting all available pieces together, slip a piece of paper under the puzzle and color in the missing piece.