Jigsaw puzzles are great educational tools. Not only are they fun but they can help develop your child's reasoning and problem-solving skills. And, of course, there's nothing like the sense of satisfaction kids feel when they place that final piece into their puzzle.
In addition to using commercial puzzles, it's a lot of fun to have your child make her own jigsaw puzzle. Use one of her drawings or coloring books pages or even an enlarged photo and glue it to a piece of cardboard. Draw puzzle-piece “lines” on the cardboard (see photo). Carefully cut along the lines. Keep the number of puzzle pieces for younger children minimal and increase the number of pieces as they become comfortable putting the puzzles together.
As your child works on her jigsaw puzzles, be sure to ask her about her strategies which may include completing the border first and putting all the same colored pieces together.
Karyn Hodgens, co-founder, Kidnexions and Elementary Mathematics Specialist
Karyn is co-founder of Math Unity LLC, an educational company specializing in elementary mathematics. She has a BA in Child Development, a Masters of Arts in Education with a Specialization in Elementary Mathematics and a multiple subjects teaching credential. Her passion is designing real-world lessons that resonate with kids and their interests. Karyn is the creator of Nifty Numbers, Math Medley, Gellin' with Geometry and Play and Take Family Math Night kits. These kits were designed to build strong family-school partnerships and get parents involved in fun and engaging math activities with their children. To find out more, visit www.FamilyMathNight.com