I have always loved jigsaw puzzles.
Children learn so much by the manipulation of shapes to create pleasing images.
Recently I watched children complete a simple, colourful jigsaw about the farm.
To complete it they had to think logically and find 4 right-angled corners, border pieces, keep checking the picture and go from large picture to small details. They had to concentrate fully and commit to actually completing the puzzle. So much learning took place!
There were various times when it wasn’t going so well and they had to problem solve and cooperate. There were some cross words as they disagreed on various methods. (It was a large and difficult puzzle for a 3 and 5 year old!)
Finally I watched their increasing concentration and mounting levels of anticipation and excitement as the gaps decreased and the picture came together.
And finally it was done!
One child wanted to rebuild straight away, the other wanted to just enjoy. We are all different!
Then the teacher in me kicked in.
We talked about the content and colours. We counted the animals and talked about the theme of the picture.
It sat on the floor for hours. A proud testament to their ability to stick at something,
Jigsaws are also good for adults. Studies have found that active adults who regularly complete jigsaw puzzles and crosswords experience longer lives and have less chance of developing Alzheimer’s, memory loss, dementia and other problems related to old age.
Dopamine production (crucial for learning and memory) is increased when we do jigsaws. They also increase our concentration, develop creativity and helps us to visualise, lower breath rate, reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
What’s not to like?
Start a jigsaw today!