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The Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles for 3-5 Year Olds

The benefits for jigsaw puzzles for 3-5 year olds and how many pieces should they manage

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.

  1. Develops Problem Solving Abilities

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.

This box of puzzles contains 4 x 12 piece puzzles featuring farm animals. It costs €10 and can be bought here

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.

I love this 35 piece observation puzzle because after the jigsaw is made, you can try and spot the pictures in the frame within the main jigsaw picture. It costs €13.70

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.

This wooden puzzle from Melissa and Doug toys has 24 pieces and comes on a flat board for easy assembly and storage. It costs €10.99 here

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.

This Eduludo Puzzle is a bit different from traditional puzzles. Instead of the pieces inter-locking, you just have to place them on the correct places on the board below. It costs €16.96

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.

These 16 piece puzzles from Djeco feature a fire engine and an ice-cream van. They cost €9.99 each

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.

So, what are the right sizes for children aged 3-5 years?

3 Year Olds – between 8 and 20 pieces

These boxes of Puzzles have 4 puzzles in each box range in puzzle pieces from 12 pieces to 24 pieces. They cost €8.65. This one features Fairy Puzzles
And this one has Dinosaur Puzzles

4 Year Olds – between 20 and 30 pieces

This 24 piece wooden jigsaw comes on a flat board for each assembling and storage. It costs €10 and can be bought here

5 Year Olds – between 30 and 60 pieces.

These 36 piece puzzles from Djeco feature either a fairy, a pirate or a ballerina. They cost €12.95 each
32 Counties = 32 pieces. This gorgeous wooden puzzle of Ireland costs €11.99

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.

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