Educational Benefits of Puzzles for Toddlers
Toddlers grow up so fast, and need toys that can grow with them as they develop. Puzzles can help them develop cognitive and fine motor skills, and give them a big advantage later on when they start school.
According to leading teachers website Teach.com, puzzles improve cognitive skills like problem solving, memory, object association and shape recognition. They are a fun way of encouraging cognitive skill development in toddlers by giving them something safe and appealing to touch, move, and make.
Themed puzzles, like animals or foods, are ideal for teaching toddlers about object association by talking about which baby animal goes with the parent animal, or categorising foods.
Shape recognition and memory are passive puzzle skills a toddler will learn through moving and placing puzzle pieces. Problem solving develops as a toddler uses all of these skills to solve the puzzle.
Puzzles are also a fun way to build a toddler’s vocabulary. They are great conversation starters about object names, associations, functions, shapes, and colors. Speaking ability varies with toddlers, so while they may not be able to say a color, they can usually understand and follow an instruction to sort by color. That understanding is vital to developing speech in toddlers.
Fine motor skills are an essential part of a toddler’s development. As toddlers pick up, rotate, and join puzzle pieces they improve their fine motor skills. Doing puzzles can improve fine motor skills in other areas of a toddler’s life like using a spoon or holding and scribbling with a pencil.
Best Puzzles for Toddlers
When shopping for toddlers, look for puzzles with large, chunky pieces that are easy for little hands to hold. Bright colors and simple illustrations are engaging and easy to visually process.
Puzzle sets that have an increasing number of pieces will grow with your child. Likewise, puzzles that have numbers, letters, or words as well as pictures will still have something to teach your child when they are old enough for early numeracy and literacy.
We’ve consulted our network of educational experts to ask for their top picks for this years top rated puzzles for kids. Here are just a few of the ones they’ve hand picked to be the best puzzles for toddlers.
Melissa & Doug
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