When I bought my son, then about 2.5 years old, a large but simple jigsaw puzzle (the Big Brown Bear Jigsaw Book), he instantly took a liking to it. There were only nine pieces in that puzzle. He wasn’t interested in the other animals in the “book” but focused on trying to solve the puzzle on his own.
After just three times of assisting him, he finally could solve it himself.
We were very impressed with his ability. When he was bored, he would take it apart and solve it again. Then, he would make up a story about the bear having injured his foot (he would remove the jigsaw piece with its foot on it) and how it was nursed back to health.
Subsequently, we bought other puzzles for him, and he enjoyed solving all of them. We got to the point that we thought it was not economical and started to download jigsaw apps for him to play with. He loved those best. Jigsaws in shapes of animals, alphabets and numbers. And, even one app with Ben10 jigsaw puzzles.
Rearranging a jumbled puzzle, from a nine-piece puzzle to a 25-piece, he mastered them all in one week. Now at 3.5 years old, he is still hooked on jigsaw puzzles.
His younger sister, who will be turning two years, has a penchant for solving jigsaw puzzles, too. She has started on the animals/ numbers/ alphabets puzzles and can finish them all on her own, too.
Jigsaw puzzles provide children the ability to recognise continuity, colours, patterns (shapes and sizes) and allows the child to think holistically. It is fun and keeps the child occupied.
My son can now solve jigsaw puzzles without having a “guide” because if the jigsaw has a base, he can instantly figure out which piece fits that “base” imprint.
Now, if only jigsaw puzzles were cheaper!
Dhia Danisha Reita Kanagarajah