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Are you looking to gift a puzzle to a little one but don’t know if it’s a good idea? Maybe you think you found the perfect puzzle but aren’t sure if you should get it for your kids or grandkids.
What ages are puzzles good for?
Puzzles are an excellent gift for kids of all ages. In fact, kids as young as six months old can play with puzzles.
However, one thing that you have to keep in mind is that there are many different puzzles on the market so you will need to get one that is designed for the age of the child you are buying for.
You wouldn’t buy a kids puzzle for an adult and you shouldn’t buy a puzzle designed for an 8 year old for a toddler either.
So check the age recommendations and stick within a year of them to be safe.
To see the most popular kid puzzles just click here.
Benefits Of Solving Puzzles For Kids Of Different Ages
While six months can seem pretty early for kids to play with puzzles, it can prove beneficial for kids in multiple ways.
For kids up to 5 years of age, playing with puzzles can boost motor skills, strength, and even hand-eye coordination. Puzzles for younger children are different from those designed for older children and adults.
Playing with these puzzles requires children to correctly hold on to the puzzle pieces and place them in their mold. It develops the strength of children’s grip and their ability to hold the same object differently.
Solving puzzles requires children to look for solutions, promoting the development of early cognitive skills. It also enhances their visual and perceptual skills.
Playing with the same puzzles, again and again, can also help children learn recognition and sharpen their memory. Children can also retain details of things they already know.
For example, solving a puzzle of a cat’s picture may make children notice the cat’s whiskers, paws, and tail in new ways.
Among children older than 5, playing with puzzles can help with setting personal challenges.
Kids cannot cheat while solving puzzles. However, they can remember the puzzles they solve. When children solve a particular puzzle multiple times, it helps them improve their memory by recalling.
It also helps children develop a healthy competition with themselves. Children can time themselves while solving puzzles and try to break their own best time every few weeks.
Children can also develop the skills required for coming up with and applying strategies. Solving puzzles in groups can also teach children to put their ideas into words, the importance of communication, and teamwork.
Children may also learn techniques from each other while working on puzzles together.
Among children of all ages as well as adults, playing with puzzles can promote healthy competition. It can also boost attention span and the ability to focus.
Puzzles also promote understanding of various objects and their relationship to each other. Sometimes, the child solving the puzzle might imagine a particular solution for the puzzle. However, their perception may be wrong, and they can learn how the puzzle pieces may be connected.
Young children may understand the same phenomenon through colors and shapes. Puzzles can be very handy to teach young children basic shapes such as circles, triangles, squares, etc.
How To Pick The Right Puzzle For Kids Of Different Ages
While most puzzles come in boxes that will give the ages of who the puzzle is suitable for, the information is sometimes inaccurate. Every child is different and so are their puzzle-solving skills.
Parents or other family members looking for puzzles for kids can follow the guidelines below to pick the right puzzle:
Number Of Pieces
Looking for numbers of pieces is a better way to judge a puzzle’s suitability for kids. Children under the age of 2 should not have access to puzzles that contain more than three pieces.
Kids up to the age of 5 can complete puzzles with 24 pieces.
Kids with ages up to 10 can solve puzzles with up to 60 pieces.
Children aged 12 and above can start solving puzzles with 500 pieces and above.
Puzzles with 1000 pieces or more make a great gift for teenage children.
As much as solving puzzles is beneficial for kids, it might involve a choking hazard. Children under the age of 5 should not have access to puzzles made of paper, cardboard, or other chewable material without supervision.
The puzzle pieces should also be big enough to not fit in their mouth or be able to be swallowed.
As the number of pieces in a puzzle increases, the size of these puzzle pieces also decreases. Parents and older siblings should keep small puzzle pieces away from and out of reach of young children to avoid choking hazards or medical emergencies.
Colors play an essential role in defining the solvability of a puzzle. They can also add complexity to a puzzle set.
Children are generally attracted to bright colors and more likely to play with a puzzle set that keeps them engaged. Such puzzle sets can also be used to teach children about colors.
For younger children, look for puzzles with defined pieces in solid colors. For example, children aged 3 can learn both alphabets and colors by playing with alphabet-shaped puzzles.
They can also learn shapes and colors by playing with puzzles that require matching shapes and molds.
Children older than four and younger than eight can enjoy more complex puzzles that have defined color outlines.
Young adults and adults enjoy puzzles with abstract color combinations or gradients the most.
Children younger than 3 years of age learn the most with puzzle pieces that carry a complete picture among themselves. The puzzle molds appropriate for their age can contain pictures of objects that represent the shape. For example, a circular puzzle piece can have a picture of a pizza on it.
Puzzle sets with shapes broken onto multiple puzzle pieces are only suitable for children who clearly understand them.
Puzzles are available with as few as three pieces and as many as over forty thousand pieces. However, for young children, puzzles with simple shapes and pictures work best.
Kids should be introduced to puzzles with complex pictures and shapes only once they’ve mastered simple puzzles.
However, while introducing complex puzzles, choose puzzles that carry pictures the child would be interested in. For example, a child interested in trains would be more excited to complete a puzzle with a picture of a train than one with flowers.
This is an important point as being forced into solving puzzles that they’re not interested in can make children give up on them entirely.
Playing with puzzles can help children develop and improve many skills. However, puzzles are primarily used as toys and should be chosen for children according to their interests and entertainment requirements.