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Sitting and working on a puzzle can be a calming and relaxing activity. Teaching your kids how to sit and solve a puzzle can be a bit of work, but still lead to a fun time.
When your kids are young, you should buy them a puzzle or two that are easier for them to solve. Your toddler isn’t going to be solving a 500+ piece puzzle anytime in the near future. You need to make sure that you have something that they can pick up, and that you can help them solve.
A couple of our favorite such puzzles are these little wooden puzzles or this big piece puzzle. Both of these are a lot of fun for younger children to start solving. Depending on your child’s age, you’re likely going to need to help them. Especially on the first go around you’ll need to help them as they won’t know how a puzzle works. As your child gets the hang of it though, they’ll be able to do them on their own. When we first got these puzzles for my son, he would spend hours working on putting them together - it was quite wonderful.
As your child gets older, they’ll want more complicated puzzles. A 20 piece puzzle isn’t going to cut it for their interest (although they may still do them from time to time). There are a lot of options out there, but I generally like to aim in the 100 piece range for a child that is comfortable with puzzles, but they’ll be doing mostly alone. You don’t want them to get too frustrated with it as they won’t continue doing it, but you also want it challenging enough that they spend a decent amount of time working on it. You probably also want something that they’re interested in on the puzzle.
Once your child is doing 100+ piece puzzles on their own (or mostly alone), they should be ready to start helping you with your 1000+ piece puzzles. Puzzles are great for parents and children alike, and it can be a great time to get everyone together. It can be tough with a toddler running around the house, but it can be done - just more challenging. We like to set out all of the pieces onto our table, and work on the puzzle throughout a day or weekend. It usually takes us many weeks, so we’ll use this puzzle storage kit when we need to keep things clean.
Puzzles are both a stimulating and calming activity. It’s one of the few activities where I can sit and do something for several hours straight. Sometimes, I’ll get so into a puzzle that I don’t want to do anything else. Both my wife and I are similar in this way with puzzles, and our kids have shown an interest in puzzles as well. They’ll often sit and work on a puzzle with us when we pull them out to work on.
Overall, puzzles can be a really fun activity for the family that isn’t too wild or crazy. It will help your child to learn how to match shapes and colors, while keeping them entertained as well. The real question is how many pieces are you going to lose before you finish? If you can finish with all in place, then you’ve definitely won. It’s pretty rare with kids though.