Jigsaw puzzles have been around for generations. In fact, the first puzzles were created by John Spilsbury in the 1760s. The original intention behind the puzzle was to teach children the geography over the lands Britain ruled. However, by the 1900s jigsaw puzzles had become a popular pastime across the globe. Jane from Rainbow Fun explains, as well as being fun, jigsaw puzzles come with some surprising benefits too!
Problem solving and logical thinking skills
A jigsaw puzzle can’t be solved by cheating! The pieces either fit or they don’t. Puzzles teach children to problem solve, using their minds to figure out where pieces fit, and thinking through the puzzle in a logical way.
Fine motor skills
Jigsaw puzzles provide the opportunity to really test those fine motor skills. Different from gross motor skills (such as walking, climbing), fine motor skills are those small movements that are required for handwriting, holding cutlery and other intricate actions. Picking up the pieces, rotating them in your hands, fitting them together, all get those fine motor skills firing.
Solving puzzles helps to reinforce existing neural connections and build new ones. This improves mental speed and thought processes, as well as short-term memory. And these benefits apply to adults as well as children, so you can boost your brain activity too!
As children move pieces and arrange the puzzles, they are learning the connection between the hand and the eye. The eye sees the piece, the brain processes what it sees, and then the hand and eye work together to move the pieces to fit the puzzle together.
Jigsaw puzzles are a great shared activity – with friends and family. “We get a lot of families on holidays buying a 500pc or 1000pc puzzle that they work on together throughout the holiday,” says Jane. They can also be something you have around, to come back to. “Ravensburger Roll Your Puzzle puzzle mats are the best!” Says Jane. “Start your puzzle on the felt mat and just roll it up and put it aside when you need the table or want to tidy your puzzle space without packing up the puzzle every time. We’ve had ours for 15 years!”
Jane’s top tips for successful puzzling:
So, the next time you have a free Sunday afternoon this winter, why not break out a jigsaw puzzle together?
Thanks to Rainbow Fun for the post!
Phone Credit: Katja Anton Photography