As young children grow and develop, they have growth spurts. During these times, their bodies and minds develop at amazingly fast rates and their appetites for wanting to know and learn appear to be insatiable. They begin to ask lots of questions about the world around them. One way for parents to make the most of this phase is by providing their kids with educational wooden puzzles.
Kids puzzles offer many important benefits. They can be used to promote cognitive development during these important early years. Kids puzzles stimulate their natural curiosity and engage them with new problems to solve. Problem solving and reasoning abilities are just two of many cognitive skills which are positively affected when children play with wooden puzzles. For example, when a child attempts to place shapes in their respective openings in a shape sorting toy, they use reasoning and recall to remember where each piece belongs. When a piece doesn't fit properly, they use their reasoning ability to identify the problem and solve the puzzle by finding the piece that fits.
Wooden puzzles are a great way to introduce toddlers and preschool kids to letters, numbers, shapes and colors. By physically putting shapes in the form of numbers, letters or color coordinated pieces into the corresponding puzzle positions, they can become familiar with these letters before they are able to spell and with numbers before they are able to count.
Since wooden puzzles are typically designed for the little guys, the pieces are typically small enough to fit in tiny hands yet large enough for them to manipulate and handle each one. Pieces are also too large for them to fit in their mouths so there are no safety hazards. Because they are made of wood, pieces are thick and chunky, just right for little hands to grab and hold. The natural wood construction is simple by design, so young kids do not feel intimidated.
Grabbing and placing the pieces into kids puzzles helps develop hand-eye coordination and dexterity while improving fine motor skills. As they successfully complete these tasks, they gain self-assurance and confidence. Kids develop an "I can do it" attitude when they successfully complete a puzzle.
Another benefit of wooden puzzles is they last a long time. Parents do not have to worry about the puzzle wearing out, because they are made of wood, which is hard for kids to destroy. Some families give this type of puzzle to their children as young as 1 year old or even younger because they know these toys are virtually indestructible.
To get the most from wooden puzzles, parents should know that not all kids are willing to play with these toys immediately and require some encouragement. In some cases, children might want to play with the puzzle but they are hindered because they do not know what to do. The remedy for both of these problems is parental involvement, playing with the child and showing them what they can do with the puzzle including showing them colors, shapes and interacting when them as they discover the new toy and its capabilities.
There is a great selection of different types and themes of kids puzzles available. The most popular type is the block type which is usually, simple in nature and square or some other kind of easily recognizable shape. There are puzzles which depict friendly animals such as a dog or a cat, or a picture of a stable structure such as a house or an inanimate object of which the child is familiar. With all these choices available, parents should have no problem finding the right puzzle for their child.
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Joe Kanooga is a father of two kids, a successful business owner and the author of numerous articles about wooden puzzles. Click here to download our free kids puzzles guidebook filled with tips, ideas and information.
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