Jigsaw puzzles are great educational tools. Not only are they fun but they can help develop your child's reasoning and problem-solving skills. And, of course, there's nothing like the sense of satisfaction kids feel when they place that final piece into their puzzle.
In addition to using commercial puzzles, it's a lot of fun to have your child make her own jigsaw puzzle. Use one of her drawings or coloring books pages or even an enlarged photo and glue it to a piece of cardboard. Draw puzzle-piece “lines” on the cardboard (see photo). Carefully cut along the lines. Keep the number of puzzle pieces for younger children minimal and increase the number of pieces as they become comfortable putting the puzzles together.
As your child works on her jigsaw puzzles, be sure to ask her about her strategies which may include completing the border first and putting all the same colored pieces together.
Karyn Hodgens, co-founder, Kidnexions and Elementary Mathematics Specialist
Karyn is co-founder of Kidnexions, an educational company specializing in kids' money and elementary mathematics. She has a BA in Child Development, a Masters of Arts in Education with a Specialization in Elementary Mathematics, and a multiple subjects teaching credential. Her passion is designing real-world lessons that resonate with kids and their interests. Karyn is the creator of Nifty Numbers and Math Medley Family Math Night kits which were designed to build strong family-school partnerships and get parents involved on an academic level. She is currently working on her third Family Math Night kit. www.kidnexions.com