- Family and Parenting»
Shopping for Loved Ones Got You Puzzled?
Always looking for gifts for children that are really fun but also educational for them in some way? I know that I am. I want to spend my money wisely to give them something they will enjoy. At the same time though, I want to help them grow intellectually and physically, also, with whatever item I pick. So, in my search for educational toys for the children in my life, I found many incredible jigsaw puzzles! I thought I'd share what I find with other parents and friends who may be looking, also.
I think I've found gifts that span over a large age range and interest base. You will find puzzles for the youngest learners all the way to adult in many themes such as alphabet, reading, numbers, telling time, shapes and colors, geographic locations, maps, oceanography, astronomy, zoology, art, and a few others that look fun!
As a teacher, I always like to include something on each lens that is educational in itself, so you will also find information about the educational benefits of playing with puzzles, the history of puzzles, how they are made, online puzzles to play with and create, and more. So, let's put the pieces together, and take a look at these ingeniously clever puzzles!
Educational Benefits of Puzzles
- fine motor skills
- shape recognition
- shape discrimination
- problem solving skills
- develops patience
- cooperation with others
- helps individual play
- promotes concentration
- picture recognition
- task completion
- counting ability
- map reading
- family time activity
- It's fun!!
Have you observed improved motor skills from children using puzzles?
Online Jigsaw Puzzles!
Play with them anywhere on your computer!
~ Jig Zone allows you to create your own puzzles then provides code for you to link to them (see link) or to add it to your website! ~ Joyful Songs Jigsaw Puzzle ~ They may be made in all sorts of cool shapes that you will enjoy. You may also send a jigsaw postcard to a friend with your photo! (Click the picture to find an online jigsaw puzzle of my music studio!)
~ Try some cool online puzzles at Jigsaw Planet! There are many to choose from which are already created, or you may make your own by downloading your own photos, then picking the shape and amount of pieces you want!! We made a puzzle of our dog!
~ Jigidi also allows you to play with online puzzles and create your own for free!
Make Photos Jigsaw Puzzles with Photoshop
~ Create Jigsaws in Photoshop ~ find directions at eHow.
Make a Jigsaw Puzzle
~ Jigsaw Puzzle Information: Many interesting articles about jigsaw puzzles! ~ History of Jigsaws, Making Jigsaws, Types of Jigsaw, Cutting Styles of Jigsaw Manufacturers, Choosing a Jigsaw, 20 Fascinating Facts about Jigsaws, 20 Frequently Asked Questions about Jigsaws, and Jigsaw Puzzle Contacts and Links.
Appreciate Art More With Puzzles
This 1000 piece puzzle is a replication of artist Georges Seurat's most famous pointillism masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The original painting which is located at the Art Institute of Chicago is over 6 feet by 10 feet, but art lovers will appreciate his work on this challenging puzzle.
How are Wooden Puzzles Made? - The 4th one is the most complete!
Box Puzzle Sets - A Favorite of the Johnson Clan!
My children have a transportation box puzzle set like this. (Except that it is an older version.) It is small and compact, therefore easy to take with us on the go. The sets contain 4 small puzzles of 12 pieces each that have their own compartments inside of the box. The children could build one at a time or mix them up as they got older. To help them know which pieces belonged together, small shapes were painted on the back of the wood pieces. The children even had fun with clean-up as we played a sorting shapes game. (Who can find the most circle stamped pieces?) I very fondly remember taking this puzzle set with us in my bag for my youngest to play with when the older kids were at their activities such as basketball, the doctor's office, and other places.
The Melissa and Doug Company have also created puzzle boxes with other popular themes such as farm, construction, vehicles, sealife, and zoo.
Alphabet and Literacy Puzzles - Strengthing Beginning Reading Skills
What a fun way to learn beginning alphabet, phonics, and colors concepts with this beautiful butterfly alphabet puzzle!
Alphabet puzzles come in many styles from simple letters to place in their shapes and order to train cars, animal shapes, phonics related letters and pictures, and simple word puzzles. Youngsters may learn and practice early spelling skills with these colorful picture and letter puzzles!
Mathematical Puzzles - Numbers, Shapes, & Colors
Practice counting and identifying numbers 1 to 10 with this cute, colorful snail puzzle. The wooden pieces make a standing snail to display in your child's room! :) ImagiPlay also makes an adorable octopus number puzzle!
Anatomy ~ Human Body Puzzles
Use these to reinforce learning about the human body with magnetic pieces that will stick to various metallic surfaces.
15 huge puzzle pieces are easy for small hands to manipulate, create, and learn!
One side of this 100 pieces puzzle features the human skeleton while the other displays several organs of the body.
While not a traditional puzzle, this kit contain 9 soft pieces that represent internal organs of the body that may be removed, studied, and replaced. It also contains a book for more study and fun!
Astronomy ~ Piecing Together the Universe! - They are "out of this world"! (Sorry, couldn't resist!)
"This puzzle gives you everything you ever wanted to know about the solar system and more! Timelines, planets, asteroids, satellites, meteors, comets - all in a giant 2' x 3' puzzle that you'll want to preserve and reference for years to come. Amazing in its extensive detail, this solar system extravaganza is well worth the time it will take to put together. Fun for the whole family. 1000 pieces." - Amazon Review
Zoology ~ Animal Puzzles
Little hands can build this animal puzzle with large pieces making a 2 x 3 foot floor learning center.
3D Geographical Puzzles!
"Puzzleball!! Perfectly crafted curved puzzle pieces allow for an exact fit and are easily assembled together to form a solid, smooth ball: with no glue required!! The underside of each piece is conveniently numbered so you take the easy or the challenging route for assembly. Each puzzle ball comes with it's own display stand so you can proudly display your puzzle prowess."