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3D Jigsaw Puzzles and Their Benefits

Updated on August 4, 2015
A finished globe 3D puzzle - fun to piece together and beautiful upon completion!
A finished globe 3D puzzle - fun to piece together and beautiful upon completion!

You can find many types of puzzles in the world today, from sudoku and crosswords to strategy games to brain teasers. But there is also the much loves jigsaw puzzle. Who doesn’t have some memory growing up of assembling a puzzle. Fit the pieces in together, make sure everything fits right, and voila! There is a feeling of satisfaction and contentment that many before our times have felt. Nowadays, there is a new type of puzzle that has come out called the 3D puzzle. While some 3D puzzles share the same “insert peg here” enjoyment that most people get from finding the right piece, these puzzles also come with types that are like layers to building on top of each other, or with instructions for how to construct your very own building and landscape.

Before we get into that, let’s look into what a 3D puzzle is. A 3D jigsaw puzzle is almost like a model, only without all the hassle that comes with glue, paint, and intricate pieces that need to be inserted into each spot. Depending on what type of puzzle you get, you may find yourself with puzzles that construct into standing animals, or tall buildings that can be displayed around your home or office. There are even globe puzzles that can be constructed and put on a stand to give a room a more scholarly look.

While normal puzzles have their satisfaction of finishing an intricate work of art, that can be lost when it’s finished. A normal puzzle has to lie flat, even if you have puzzle glue to hold all the pieces together. It can only be displayed on a flat surface, laying down or on a wall. 3D puzzles, however, with measurements consisting of length, width, and height, allow you to show off your work for as long as you would like, but also deconstruct it if ever the need arises.

This wounded army veteran took brain injury in while serving his country. He helps his to improve his hand/eye coordination and memory by playing video games and piecing together puzzles, like this 3D puzzle of the White House.
This wounded army veteran took brain injury in while serving his country. He helps his to improve his hand/eye coordination and memory by playing video games and piecing together puzzles, like this 3D puzzle of the White House. | Source

Benefits of 3D Puzzles

Let's explore some of the benefits of 3D puzzles. Of course, there is a lot of benefits that all puzzles share - anything that gets your mind working to create something is healthy for your brain. But jig-saw puzzles have long been used to help with mental strength and acuity. And here's why:

Trains Short-Term Memory: Going through all those little pieces, you have to remember where you place certain pieces last, and recall where a piece that looked like it would fit into the piece you are holding would be. While there are different types of memorization, jigsaw puzzles help with short-term memory.

Trains Spatial Orientation: Visualization is the key to trying to get a puzzle finished. Does this piece of blue fit over next to the missing piece of this piece of blue? Having to see where the pieces fit without having the piece in place causes you to acquire a sense of spatial orientation.

Improves Concentration: A puzzle takes concentration trying to keep the short term memory and visualization in your head - otherwise you might as well loose your spot in the book you're reading! Losing your concentration while doing a puzzle makes you break the flow, and it will take even longer to finish the puzzle or cause you to feel flustered and finish before the puzzle is finished. Concentration is key to solving a puzzle, and a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to train this because it's, well, fun!

Exercise Both Sides of The Brain: Neuroscientists have found that building a puzzle involves all the parts of the brain. This helps to create the neural bridges needed for your brain to function at it's peak (which is why it's so important for children to do puzzles). When the logical left side and the creative right side of your brain work together, it's a wonderful pay off for your mental health!

Less Brain Deterioration As You Age: Studies have found the regularly doing jig-saw puzzles throughout your life can decrease the chances of developing Alzheimer's, dementia, senility, and other memory problems that come with old age.

Increases Our Creativity: Seeing pieces of something with an idea of how it should appear at the end is the very building blocks of creating things - art, music, crafting, and the like.

Reduces stress: Doing jigsaw puzzles have been shown to slow our breathing, decrease heart rate and blood pressure. It places us in an almost meditative state. Think about that next time you feel you need to blow off some steam!

Improves Learning Ability: With all the inter-connectivity of the right and left hemisphere, spatial reasoning, improvements on concentration - basically everything listed - all this can be applied back to learning and helping us to obtain and retain information better.

A spherical 3D puzzle in the process of being made.
A spherical 3D puzzle in the process of being made.

A 3D jigsaw puzzle has the added benefits of taking things out of a 2D context and bringing it more to life. When you build a 3D model, not only are you working hands-on in architecture and design, but you are creating a little piece of art to showcase around your house. Select things you like: if you enjoy traveling, collect building puzzles. If you enjoy animals, collect animal puzzles. For a more sophisticated look, globe puzzles are a nice accent for the home!

Wooden Puzzles

Wooden puzzles are made with a thin yet sturdy wood.  The pieces are already cut out for you to put together.  Some puzzles, like the infamous Dinosaur Puzzles you often see at museum gift stores, will have simple slots for you to put the appropriate pieces into, creating a standing puzzle.  Others, however, work with the idea of layers.  Each piece of the puzzle fits on top of and next to another piece, and when put together, gives the puzzle a textured feel to it.  They can be somewhat complicated, but there are many 3D wooden puzzles for children that are relatively easy for adults and just as satisfying to kids.

3D Jigsaw Puzzles

I recently bought small 3D jigsaw puzzles for my friends for Christmas.  They could be constructed into ornaments, and hung on the tree.  Both were puzzle balls, one a regular ornament, the other in the shape of a snowman.  Many of the 3D puzzles with the jigsaw feature to it will be puzzle balls, which as their name indicates, can be constructed into a ball.  This is where you can find the globe puzzle ball mentioned earlier.  For those who love the challenge of an original puzzle, this will be the best choice.

3D Building Puzzles

For those who like constructing things, this is a good choice.  Many well known buildings and monuments have been transformed into building puzzle form.  It can stand on its own, is light weight and doesn’t fall apart too easily if handled with care, and depending on the complexity, can take only a few minutes or up to a few days to complete.  It’s a good choice for those who like the idea of building models, but can’t afford the time for the hobby.

No matter what type of puzzle you choose, a puzzle is sure to give your brain a workout – it’s just your choice how much of a workout you want to get!  3D puzzles make great gifts to people of all ages, whether they are novices to building puzzles or have completed even the most intricate normal jigsaw puzzles.  For children, it helps to develop spatial reasoning, increases motor skills, and can spark their imagination and make them feel good about a job well done.  And a 3D jigsaw puzzle can rekindle one’s love of puzzles that they might have lost long ago.

3D Puzzles can be found in many toy stores, but the best place to find a variety is online.  I hope you enjoyed this article, and I hope you get your brain ready to explore the love of puzzles once again!

What kind of puzzles do YOU like?

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