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    Puzzles: Playing or Learning?

    Topics: Early Childhood Education, Elementary (4-12), Teen (13-17), Articles

    Puzzles are classic toys that come in many forms: jigsaw puzzles, peg puzzles, framed board puzzles, block puzzles, and more! When a child starts to put together puzzles they are learning about shapes and space.

    The most basic puzzles we see babies play with are simple stacking toys that can be clumsily manipulated with one hand. Putting together a basic stack of rings helps build reasoning skills as well as fine motor skills, but when you first watch a child try to stack the rings on the peg, it may seem that luck plays more of a roll than skill!

    As children get older, trial and error will decrease and dexterity will increase. Holding the knob of a sorting puzzle like this requires far more motor and hand-eye coordination than getting a ring on a peg.




    And, further still, children will begin to develop reasoning skills. Rather than just push until the piece falls into place, they will start to consider size, shape and color.

    For children 4 and up, Stages offers a series of wooden cube puzzles that feature a variety of beautiful photographic images.

    The cube shape means that each puzzle is actually 6 different pictures! To help kids get started, each side of the puzzle has a slightly different pattern on the border so they can get the pieces on the right side.


    The cube puzzles come with 6 fun fact cards to increase the learning value. These classic wooden puzzles will last for years, and show you that learning and playing go hand in hand!

    Puzzles can also be used to build collaboration. Read our lesson plan to see how.


    Collaborate with Puzzles

    Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M.

    Written by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M.

    Angela Nelson is the creator of the widely-recognized Language Builder Picture Card Series, and the creator and lead author for the Language Builder ARIS curriculum. Angela received her BA and JD from UCLA where she studied and practiced behavior psychology under Dr. Ivar Lovaas, and her Ed.M. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, with a focus on technology innovation and education. As Founder and CEO of Stages Learning Materials, Angela has created autism, special needs and early childhood curriculum products since 1997. In addition to her duties at Stages, Angela writes for multiple industry publications and is Chair of the Education Market Association.