Using puzzles to learn seems like a no brainer. Kids LOVE working with puzzles so having puzzle activities in your classroom that also provide learning opportunities is a win/win situation. Puzzles help strengthen fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Challenging puzzles also allow children to practice using new strategies which is an important learning tool when attempting to solve a problem. They are also a great way to work collaboratively with a group. Cooperative play can in turn help advance social skills. Puzzles are certainly an excellent tool and accomplishing them can also help with their self esteem and give them a sense of pride.The following are several ways you can use puzzles to help students practice learning objectives in a simple way.
Alphabet Puzzles help students practice alphabet letters recognition. Each letter includes several beginning sound pictures. These pictures help students make connections to the learning of each letter and also teach students new vocabulary. Puzzles are hands-on, which most young learners find to be more fun than doing a worksheet.
Help with Rhyming
You can use puzzles to help reinforce rhyming which in turn helps with language development and language skills. My Rhyming Puzzles are a fun, hands-on activity to help students identify rhyming vowel sounds. Each piece has an image and its word, so students can work on rhyming sounds and reading skills. Encourage students to say the words out loud. For example, “Cat / hat, they rhyme.” We want them to be able to hear the endings and understand that they are the same.
Identifying Beginning Sounds
Beginning Sounds Puzzles give students a variety of activities to help them as they learn phonics. As children are putting each puzzle together, they are creating a strategy to put each piece together. Not only are students practicing their beginning sounds, they are engaging their brain to improve cognitive skills.
There are so many other puzzle activities that I've created for young children. To learn more about these types of puzzles, click here.
When giving children puzzles to put together, it's important to ensure that it is on their skill level. There are age-appropriate puzzles out there for children of all ages. Younger children definitely don't miss out on the fun. It's a great opportunity for them because puzzles and puzzle games reinforce so many academic skills. They also allow for children to develop problem solving skills and strategies which is great for cognitive development.
Any time you have the opportunity to add a fine motor component and a hands-on activity for children at a young age, they are more likely to engage in the learning processes. And once a puzzle is complete, they will have such a purposeful sense of accomplishment. This can also be a great way to spend quality time with family members as well. It can definitely be a fun experience for kids of all ages.
Overall, small children tend to see a new puzzle as a fun toy. But as you now know, there are actually many benefits of puzzles and they can get there in a fun way! What are different ways you've found to use puzzle play with your children? I'd love to hear about your puzzle experience or selection of puzzles in the comments below!