From early childhood until later adult years, we have always been drawn to solving puzzles. Whether it be jigsaw puzzles, Rubik’s Cubes, logic puzzles, word puzzles, or even just pattern guessing, people of all ages take great pride in being able to correctly and quickly sole a puzzle. But, does puzzle solving have any effect on childhood development?, and are puzzle games for children essential?
Understanding the World Around Them
Everyone knows that the development process of a young child’s brain is heavily influenced by what they see and interact with constantly. Puzzles have been noted by several psychological tests that giving a child the ability to directly work with something in their environment that lets them change its physical shape and overall appearance can help them understand external things in their world better. Having children play with puzzles also helps them develop a basic understanding of fulfillment from solving these puzzles.
Sharper Hand-Eye Coordination
As a child interacts with a puzzle by flipping, turning, or removing pieces, they are furthering developing the core connection between their hands and eyes. As the eyes see the puzzle and each piece of it, their brain becomes more active and begins to envision how the puzzle needs to look and where to place each piece so that it can look like the completed image. After the brain goes through this quick problem-solving sequence, it then sends signals back to the eyes and hands so that all three parts of the child’s body can work together and accurately fit all the pieces together.
Tuning Key Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are needed in any child’s future as they begin to practice handwriting and other related activities. As the child begins to physically solve the puzzle by moving the pieces, they are developing a part of their brain that is in charge of helping limbs make sharp and precise movement. The more puzzles a child solves, the more developed motor skills will become – which in turn will help the child greatly in their future.
Bettering Gross Motor Skills
These are the skills categorised as the movement of the arms and legs. Younger children, such as babies and toddlers, can develop and slowly improve these skills as they play with basic puzzles, like building blocks or other larger, easily movable puzzles. Studies have shown that one a child is introduced to these types of puzzles, solving more complex puzzles as they age will become even easier.
Puzzles have the ability to help improve a child’s memory, which is essential during their younger years. For instance, when solving a puzzle, a child must remember the size, colour, and the shape of the various pieces as they try to fit each piece in the correct area properly. However, if a piece doesn’t fit, the child will set it aside, but they will need to remember that piece for when its needed again.
After a child begins to work on more puzzles, they will begin to develop a strategy to help them complete the puzzle in a timely manner. An example of this is when a child will decide to complete the puzzle from the outside edge to the inside to save time, or by sorting the different pieces into piles depending on the shape, colour, or size. This practice will help children develop small goals (solving the puzzle as fast as possible), which can serve as a motivation that will be useful for their future life events.
Parents of younger children should start giving their children puzzles to solve, whether it be a physical puzzle or a puzzle game via an app. This simple process will allow children to start developing the essential skills needed, and this will lead them in the right direction to becoming successful adults.