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Puzzle Fun    

TIPS FOR USING PUZZLES WITH TODDLERS

  • Number of Puzzle Pieces – One piece puzzles are great for one year olds.  Two to three piece puzzles are good for two year olds and three to five piece puzzles are fine for three year olds.
     
  • Knob puzzles are great for toddlers.
     
  • Puzzle pieces should be large enough for children to handle easily, especially if they have interlocking pieces.
     
  • Interlocking puzzles with frames around them are best for young children.
     
  • Toddlers work best on puzzles if they each have their own puzzle.
     
  • Do not let a child struggle too long with a puzzle.  Success is important for a child to learn.  Most toddlers need help with puzzles at first.
     
  • Puzzles are toys that need adult supervision.  The adult should sit close by the child and be available to help, if needed.  Most toddlers are not mature enough to work with puzzles successfully without help.  They need success.
     
  • Child care centers should not purchase cardboard puzzles for toddlers.  They are not washable and the edges get worn with too much use and make it hard for toddlers to fit the puzzle together.  Cardboard puzzles are ok for home use with parent supervision.
     
  • When purchasing puzzles, look for ones with pictures that are familiar with your child or your group.  This could include animals, toys, clothes, people, or transportation vehicles.  Scenic puzzles are inappropriate for toddlers.
     
  • Puzzles should be stored up high and not left out for individual play.  Pieces get lost and puzzles get damaged if left out for free play.
     
  • Simple two or three piece puzzles can be made for your toddler at home by using small cardboard cutouts.  Cut the cutout into two or three pieces and have your child put the pieces back together.  Store puzzle pieces in a small zip-lock bag for future use.
     
Cookie Cutter Puzzles
Cut a square out of corrugated cardboard. Place two or three simple cookie cutters on the cardboard and trace around them. Using a craft knife, cut out the outlined shapes and discard. Give your child the piece of cardboard and the cookie cutters. Let your child place each cookie cutter in its matching space in the cardboard.
 
Puzzle Hunt

Select a simple puzzle with a few pieces. Hide the pieces around the room. Let your child hunt for the puzzle pieces before putting the puzzle together.
 
Puzzle Sort
Choose two simple puzzles for this activity, such as a puzzle with individual vehicle pieces and a puzzle with individual animal pieces. Mix up the puzzle pieces. Help your child sort the puzzle pieces before putting them into the appropriate puzzles.
 
My Own Puzzle

Enlarge and copy a photograph of your child. Glue the copy of the photograph to a sheet of heavy paper and cover with clear self-stick paper. Cut the photo into a few simple puzzle pieces. Let your child enjoy putting this personalized puzzle together.
 
 
Sandwich Puzzle

Make your child a whole sandwich and cut off the crusts. Cut the sandwich into two or three pieces. Place the pieces on a plate. Help your child put his or her Sandwich Puzzle together before eating it.