Children and adults alike love puzzles – putting the pieces together and seeing it all come together is an exhilarating experience at any age. Did you know though, that children can solve puzzles right from babyhood? Those puzzles look different from the regular jigsaw puzzles and meet the level of development at each level. Here is a guide on how to choose puzzles for your young child and what to proceed to once they have mastered one level.
- First puzzle (7 months onwards)
The Montessori First Puzzle consists of the Montessori egg and cup, the Montessori wooden box and cube and the Montessori peg and ring. They are 3d puzzle fitting exercises are your baby’s first puzzle. They are offered after the grasping toys.
The first wooden puzzle helps develop eye-hand coordination as your baby had to judge the distance and position that they need to hold one piece to fit it into the other. Since each puzzle has two pieces; this toy encourages your baby to use both their hands together and transfer between two hands.
- Block puzzle (10/12 month onwards)
Once your child has mastered the first puzzle, you can offer the block puzzle. This puzzle has four simple 3-d shapes that your child can take out and put back in easily into their respective slots. This puzzle helps your child to refine their palmer grasp. It also improves their spatial awareness as they have to figure out which shape to place into which slot. The shapes are familiar and distinct from each other – thereby offering a control of error.
- Leaf Puzzle (12 months onwards)
The leaf puzzle offers the next level of challenge. The shape of the leaves are varied, offering diverse opportunities to practice various grasps. Each leaf shape fits in only in one way, so your child must not only match the puzzle piece to the slot but also turn it around till they reach the right orientation. This puzzle also offers opportunities for learning leaf names commonly found in India.
- The Dino Puzzle (14 months onwards)
The Dino puzzle offers various levels of challenge. At the first level, your child needs to match the two pieces of each egg and then fit those into its respective egg-shaped slots. But inside each egg is also a dinosaur piece that must be matched by size. This puzzle offers opportunities to learn the different names of the dinosaurs. It aids visual discrimination, spatial orientation, and one-to-one correspondence skills.
- The rotating puzzle (18 months onwards)
The rotating puzzle offers opportunities of using a unique movement of wrist rotation and are also self-correcting. Adults don’t need to help children as they need to keep trying till the realistic image is complete – if it isn’t, then they try again. This puzzle aids with visual discrimination and spatial awareness – it is like the toddler version level of the Rubik’s cube.
6. The Chunky Puzzle (24 months onwards)
The Chunky Puzzle helps your baby work on their concentration. The child needs to understand how the puzzle works before attempting it, hence they are getting their problem problem solving abilities sharpened here. We can talk about the animal names, their food habits and later on develop simple memory games.