How to Use Puzzles for Toddler Development
The importance of puzzles for toddler development and how you can use toddler wood puzzles to reach important milestones.
Here at ToyVentive we are all about less is more. We want you to make the most of the toys that you have, especially with the toys we offer! When it comes to puzzles, you may think you know exactly how to play with them. You put the puzzle piece in the slot it’s perfectly fit for and that’s that! Well, there’s more than meets the eye with your everyday puzzle. Puzzles are a great tool in working on your toddler’s development. Keep reading to learn about all the various ways you can play with your puzzle beyond the typical expectation!
Benefits of puzzles for toddler development
Before we get into the fun of playing with puzzles, we want you to know just how beneficial puzzles are for toddler development! Puzzles provide a task for your toddler to focus their attention on, working on strengthening their concentration!
While their concentration is strengthening, they also work on their fine motor skills through using their little fingers to grab specific pieces and placing them in their designated spot! Your toddler will start to understand how little pieces can make up a whole image, allowing them to further their problem solving skills when the piece they hold does not fit the slot they are trying to make work!
Toddler wood puzzles are great when working on your toddler’s development. You are working on a wide range of skills in one simple activity! Check out our blog posts on wooden number puzzles your toddler will love or play ideas with shape puzzles to learn more!
Peg puzzles for toddler development are the best!
Peg puzzles for toddler development are an amazing option when choosing what type of puzzle you want to play with! Peg puzzles have simple and easy pieces that help your child focus without being overwhelmed. All of the suggestions you are about to read are 100% possible when playing with a peg puzzle!
How to play with puzzles for toddler development
Now that we’ve established the “why” behind the importance of puzzles for toddler development, let’s dig into how to play with the puzzles you have!
1. Try question and answer
Your puzzle, whether it’s our wooden puzzles or your own, will have pieces that you can use to help your toddler learn! Try asking questions about the individual piece before placing it in it’s spot.
For example, try asking...
- What does this piece look like?
- Do you like what’s on this puzzle piece?
- Have you seen what’s on this puzzle piece in real life?
- If the puzzle piece is of an animal, ask what sound do they make? Or where do they usually live?
2. Expand on your child’s answers
In addition to asking questions, you can also work on feelings during this form of play!
After they answer, expand on how they’re feeling! Try asking…
- How does this color make you feel?
- Does this animal make you happy? Does it make you scared?
Then, expand on their answer by asking…
- How does it feel when you’re happy?
- How does it feel when you’re afraid?
Through this play, you have a way of connecting with your child and working on their own emotional expression all while completing a puzzle!
3. Organize your parts by size
If you have a stacking puzzle, have your child sort the pieces from either smallest to biggest or biggest to smallest. This will help them to learn patterns and be able to compare objects! Even if your puzzle isn’t stacking, you can still have your child make comparisons by asking about the pieces you do have!
For example, ask them if the cow puzzle piece is bigger than the chicken puzzle piece! Is the yellow circle smaller than the blue triangle? You can work on a variety of skills such as organization, comparing similarities and differences, and recognizing that not all objects are the same!
4. Practice counting
Count the pieces! For an extra challenge, have your child work on groupings. Ask your child to make a group of three or four, then have them count how many groups they have! You can ask a variety of counting questions from there!
5. Practice letters through alphabet puzzles for toddlers
There are many ways to play with alphabet puzzles! If your puzzle has individual pieces of each letter, use those to help your child learn their ABCs! Alphabet puzzles for toddlers are an excellent choice when working on your child’s development! Have them arrange them in order before placing on the puzzle or even ask them to think of a word that starts with a specific letter.
For example, “Can you think of a word that starts with an ‘A’? What sounds do the letter ‘A’ make?”. Your child will work on letter recognition and the basics of understanding order all while playing with your alphabet puzzle!
If your puzzle does not have specific pieces meant for the alphabet, ask them to think about the words that are on the board! Ask questions such as, “What does the image on this piece start with?” or “This piece is blue. What does blue start with?”.
6. Learn about colors!
Going off of practicing the alphabet, now try teaching the colors. In any puzzle, colors will be there. Ask your child what colors they see, what color is their favorite, and what colors aren’t on the puzzle!
7. Get creative with the pieces
Puzzle pieces can be used to create stories and characters, strengthening your child’s imagination and creating an entirely new form of play all with the same puzzle. Suddenly the elephant puzzle piece is named Cindy and has a dream to one day be an opera singer!
As an adult, if this type of play feels uncomfortable, check out our article on how to become more playful as an adult and why it’s important!
Now you may not have character pieces, but you might have various shapes! Use those shapes to build a village. Work on balance and create a larger structure from the small individual pieces. Feeling extra creative? Have the characters from your story live in the village you build!
Another fun option to get creative with your puzzle is to make an art project! Trace your puzzle pieces on paper, cut those shapes out, and decorate them however you want!
We hope after reading this, you understand how puzzles help child development and are able to apply our play ideas to your puzzles for toddler development. Toddler wood puzzles are not only for play, but they also are for reaching important milestones! You may think having fewer toys limits how much your child can do, but that’s not the case at all! One toy, such as a puzzle, has an infinite of possibilities with a little creativity and a bit of strategy.
- The Importance of Educational Toys on Child Development
- 3 Ways To Increase Toddler Attention Span
- Will YOU or an Activity Cube make your Toddler Smart?