Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Puzzle Play Improves Math Skills

My mom wasn't surprised that I turned out to be the math whiz in the family. She said growing up that I was the only one out of her three kids who loved putting together puzzles. Research backs that up. Puzzle play improves spatial skills. Think geometry. Spatial skills give you the ability to rotate objects in your mind. This skill set is important in technical careers or careers involving design. Architecture, engineering, graphic design, and photography are some examples of careers where spatial skills are necessary.

In the research article I linked to above, I found the following paragraph to be quite interesting.

"The researchers asked the parents to interact with their children as they normally would and about half of the children in the sample played with puzzles at least one time. Higher income parents tended to engage children with puzzles more frequently. Both boys and girls who played with puzzles had better spatial skills, but boys played with more complicated puzzles than girls, and the parents of boys provided more spatial language during puzzle play and were more engaged in the play than the parents of girls."

It's no wonder that technical fields like engineering are dominated by men. As parents it is important that we engage our girls in puzzle play in the same way we engage our boys. If you are like me, you want ALL of your children to have EQUAL opportunities in life.

Friday, the UPS man dropped off a box containing some new puzzles. We headed out of town for Easter so today was the first day I had the chance to break into them and play with my kiddos. I snapped some pictures of my babes at play.
Roo is a little young to learn how to tell time but this is a fantastic puzzle for number recognition and sorting colors. Lil' Turkey was drawn to the hands that spin round and round. Roo had no problem taking all the pieces out and putting them all back in their places. She was quite pleased with herself.

As Roo took out each piece I said the number and did the same as she returned each piece. She repeated me and then insisted she count each piece. I love that she has put together that numbers are used for counting. Lil' Turkey is at that age where he repeats every sound that he hears so he too was calling out the number names along with Roo. She was able to clean this one up and put it away all by herself.

We moved on to the Our World puzzle set which includes planets, continents, and the U.S. We have an older version of a SimplyFun (SF) U.S. puzzle already so the new one will become someones birthday present. Each puzzle is individually wrapped which is great.

When you lift the planets out the base, it's position to the sun is noted. Cool! Besides learning about the sun and planets, this puzzle can be used to discuss colors and compare size -- Which is the largest? Smallest? Which one is the red planet?

On to continents and oceans!!!

Lil' Turkey busied himself with some blocks. Every child should have a set of blocks. I found a pretty good list of the benefits of blocks. The list includes spatial reasoning, language skills, and hand-eye coordination.

You can find all of the information about the puzzles that SF offers here.

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