Do you love doing arts and crafts with your kids, but a bit tired of cleaning up the mess? We know how it goes — glue, glitter, and confetti get stuck in every nook and cranny of the house for years to come. And let’s be honest, we know our kids won’t be the ones scrubbing the floors... 

Art doesn’t always have to be messy! Have you tried puzzles? Puzzles are a fun way to keep your children entertained while helping them learn. With the weather getting cold and parents looking for more indoor activities to keep their children entertained, puzzles are a great choice that provide tons of benefits for children. 

1. Hand-eye coordination

Putting together a puzzle requires a large amount of hand-eye coordination. Your child will have to pick a piece with their tiny fingers, figure out where their mind wants it to go, and move their hands to the right place. Your child can then use their mind, fingers and hands to try again. Puzzles are a fun way to practice hand-eye coordination while encouraging independence. We know it’s hard, but try not to help them too much!

2. Fine motor skills

Puzzles are also a fun way for your child to practice their fine motor skills. Puzzles can help your children, especially younger kids, develop strength in their fingers. These are the muscles that they will eventually use to grasp a pencil and the handlebars on their bike! 

3. Persistence 

Persistence is completing a task even though it’s hard. Sometimes you want to quit, but it’s important for kids not to give up! This happens a lot with puzzles (to this day, we still can’t find the last piece). It is also okay to fail, though, as long as you try. Maybe a puzzle isn’t age appropriate for your child. Let them know if they can’t finish, it’s okay. Have them try something different that works better with their skill set. 

4. Creativity 

The colors and shapes in puzzles push your child to be creative, especially when exploring solutions. How will they organize their pieces? While you might think there’s only one way to solve a puzzle, there are countless ways to organize your pieces along the way. 

5. Self correcting learning tool

When your child attempts to place a puzzle piece in the wrong space, they’ll learn pretty quickly that it’s not in the correct spot. The act of manipulating each piece, turning it and testing it is a way children learn to problem solve and develop critical thinking skills. Try letting them use these skills by having them choose their favorite snack after completing a puzzle all by themselves. 

6. Shape recognition

Puzzles help children begin to distinguish between squares, rectangles, and other important shapes they need to know. You can also practice this in the car, and have your child point out shapes they see out their window. 

7. Memory

Younger children tend to like to solve the same puzzle over and over again. This helps them remember where all the pieces go and improves their memory skills. So let your child do their same puzzle all day long. It will help them in the long run!

Age-appropriate puzzle recommendations.

Ages 2-3: Start with jumbo knob puzzles. They should begin with 2-3 pieces and could reach up to 20 pieces. 

Ages 4-5: Children this age can handle a puzzle with up to 50 pieces. 

Ages 6-7: Children in this age group can start tackling puzzles with up to 120 pieces. 

Ages 8-9: This age range should be able to do puzzles with anywhere between 250-500 pieces. 

Ages 10+: Children over ten should be able to solve any size puzzle with the right amount of patience and some guidance. 

Your children will have a great time working on their puzzles. The outcome is always so rewarding, and much less messy than arts and crafts!

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