Here are 10 fun new ways to play with puzzles:
1. Puzzle Mix-Up
2. Tactile Bin Search
3. Puzzle Hunt
Create a scavenger hunt by hiding puzzle pieces around the room on high and low surfaces. This supports development of whole body movement, visual scanning, spatial relations, and attention.
4. Puzzle Unwrap
5. Puzzle Road
6. Puzzle Without Vision
Put a blind fold over your kiddo's eyes and invite them to try to complete a puzzle without looking! This is a great way to repurpose knob puzzles for younger ages.
7. Puzzle Race
Race to see who can finish their puzzle first! This helps build tolerance of losing, an important social skill. Alternatively, you could challenge your kiddo to do the puzzle as fast as they can and time it, then have them try to beat that time with each next trial.
8. Log Roll Puzzle
Here's a great vestibular activity! Place the puzzle board and puzzle pieces 10 feet away from each other, and have your kiddo gather one puzzle piece and log roll it over to the board, then log roll back to gather their next piece. Log rolling is an incredibly easy way to activate the vestibular system, which is an important sensory experience for developing balance, appropriate muscle tone, coordination, core strength, and fine motor skills. Watch your kiddo's response to log rolling closely, and make sure they do not get too dizzy or overwhelmed.
9. Puzzle Search
Place puzzle pieces in a pile of other toys or objects, and have your kiddo search through the pile without touching anything until they find a puzzle piece. This is great for visual scanning, visual discrimination, spatial skills, and impulse control!
10. What can your kiddo come up with?
Ask your kiddo what new idea they can come up with. How can they use this puzzle differently? What can they do with the pieces? What can they do with their body? Encouraging kids to come up with new ideas is sooo important for development and learning.
There ya have it! I hope those puzzles of yours get more play time. I would love to see it in action, and hear what comes out of #10! Share on Instagram and tag @steps2grow, or comment below!
Happy puzzle playing!
Hi! Austen here. Portland based Pediatric OT obsessed with leggings and all things child development. Welcome to my journal! I hope to educate and empower parents and caregivers with science inspired insights, effective strategies, and confidence.