There’s a reason that we introduce our toddlers to puzzles at an early age. Instinctively we know that they help with so much. BUT there are important reasons we should keep promoting puzzles as they grow. For older kids, jigsaw puzzles (especially during the summer) are a kids health must! Thanks to my friends at Springbok, I’m bringing you this sponsored post so we can talk about this important topic.
I still remember the first puzzles I bought my daughter. She was so little as she grabbed onto the wooden knob of an incredibly large puzzle piece and tried to fit it into the proper place. Back during that first year of life, parents are so focused on helping their little ones learn.
There was no doubt she had a lot to learn. Those early puzzles, with large chunky pieces, helped her learn coordination, spatial awareness and more. Not to mention, the puzzles were cute and stimulated her brain and imagination with colors, shapes, animals, etc.
As she grew, her puzzles advanced bit by bit…and then one day I realized we had stopped.
Yes, I admit that I had stopped focusing on jigsaw puzzles as a mom. Now don’t get me wrong, we still have all the puzzles I’d accumulated over the years. I also have several jigsaw puzzles with a gazillion pieces that she wouldn’t even dare to attempt. BUT, I stopped gradually buying puzzles that would be a bit challenging for her, in lieu of all the tech-y gadgets and toys she wanted. She didn’t exactly ask for a puzzle on her birthday wish list.
What I’ve learned is that now more than ever, jigsaw puzzles are a kids health must.
The Google Problem
Think about it. Our kids are growing up with so many gadgets available to them and school issued iPads are often the norm (even in elementary school).
Don’t know the answer? Google it.
That’s what they see us as parents do. Easy answers at our fingertips available in just a few seconds. We don’t struggle to remember a fact we learned years ago. What are the layers of the atmosphere? Hmmm, let me just google that, though I know upon seeing the answers that I had those in my brain all along.
It doesn’t take someone with a medical degree to figure out that this might impact our kids when it comes to brain health.
As someone who has had a relative with Alzheimer’s disease, this really concerned me.
I met my great-grandmother once, in a nursing home, several years after she stopped remembering who my grandmother was. Still alive and now in her 90’s, my grandmother talks of the pain it caused to know her mother didn’t share the memories anymore of those she loved.
So many of us watch as loved ones try to fight off short term memory loss, cognitive decline, early-onset dementia, and yes, Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve heard that older people should work their brains with all kinds of puzzles…crosswords, soduku, and jigsaw puzzles.
It only makes sense for all of us to make sure we are stretching our brains and using our memory.
Family Tips to Focus on Kids Brain Health
- Put the phones away for a good old fashioned trivia fun, age appropriate of course.
- Remember the game “Concentration”? Simply recreate with a deck of cards or make your own. It’s challenging for any of us. Try it if you don’t remember! 🙂
- Keep the cupboards stocked with age appropriate, challenging jigsaw puzzles
Tips for Selecting the Right Jigsaw Puzzles
- Select puzzle with image that is of interest to your child (hobby, characters, etc)
- Select high quality puzzles (like Springbok), which are 18% thicker than most and every piece is unique.
- Select a puzzle for a theme experience. Ex – holiday puzzle before Christmas; soccer puzzle before the big game
- Select puzzle with age-appropriate number of pieces based on skill level
3 Years old – 12-26 pieces
4 Years old – 60 pieces or less
5-7 Years old – 200 pieces or less
8-9 Years old – 300 pieces or less
So back to this mom dropping the ball, so to speak. Looking in our cabinet, I realized that we only had puzzles of 100 pieces or lower (or 1000 or higher). There was a big gap there, so I did some shopping and picked these two just for the summer. I figured we would start with the 350 piece and see how well she (and I) did. Yes, I said “I” because this mom could use a little brain stretching myself. Great mommy/daughter time!
- Vacation Treasures (350 piece) – perfect since it’s summer and we’ve traveled so much!
- The Sewing Box (500 piece) – someone has her first sewing machine so this is current hobby!
I love that Springbok goes the extra mile with the quality of their jigsaw puzzles. The chipboard in all packaging and puzzles is made from the highest quality 100% recycled materials with 80-90% post consumer waste. Not only that, but their inks are 100% vegetable/soy based with no petroleum additives.
While ideal for summer, when kids aren’t necessarily using their brains as much, jigsaw puzzles will remain a key component of our wellness plan throughout the year. Next up…holiday puzzles! I can’t wait to pick some out!
Do you enjoy jigsaw puzzles? What other ways do you stretch your brain?