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A lot of children love jigsaw puzzles and this should be encouraged as there are so many benefits to playing jigsaw puzzles for 3 – 5 year olds (and even older!) Here’s the main ones.
The nature of jigsaws is that they should be a bit of a challenge. By allowing our children to face challenges in play, allows them a safe space to develop their problem-solving capabilities.
2. Develops Fine Motor Skills
Fine Motor skill is the coordination of small muscles, in movements—usually involving the synchronisation of hands and fingers. Jigsaw puzzles are perfect for this.
3. Develops Hand-Eye Co-ordination
Training your hands to do what your eyes see is something we often take for granted but as a child, if you can develop this it stands to you for when you have to do more difficult tasks, like catching a ball.
4. Encourages Concentration
We all know that most 3-5 year olds find it hard to sit still and focus. Having something interesting to work on will help them develop this very important skill.
5. Social Skills
Most jigsaws are completed with help the first time. This encourages social interaction between the adult and child or between two children., as they talk about what pieces should be placed where and work together on finishing it.
6. Builds up Self Esteem
When I child completes something difficult, it gives them a sense of achievement or pride and helps build up their self-esteem and self belief.
7. Develops Patience
Often pieces need to be tried in several places before they are correctly placed. This builds up patience and resilience in your child.
8. Improved Memory
The first time a child does a jigsaw, it usually takes a bit of time. After several goes, it gets quicker as the child starts remembering where each piece should go.
With this in mind, it’s important for parents and adults to choose the right sized jigsaws for the child. If too many pieces are given, the child will lose interest or be overwhelmed and playing with jigsaws can become a negative experience for them. If too few pieces are given, it’s too easy for them and they will get bored and not want to try it again.
3 Year Olds – between 8 and 20 pieces
4 Year Olds – between 20 and 30 pieces
5 Year Olds – between 30 and 60 pieces.
This is just a rough guide. Every child is different and develops at a different rate. The key is to keep on introducing jigsaw puzzles that they can just about manage and sit down and help and encourage them as they complete their puzzle.