My almost 4-year-old loves to “help” with Mommy’s puzzles. This assistance consists of hiding her dolls in the box of pieces, sticking pieces in play-doh, and scattering the pieces all over while laughing at the mess.

How do puzzlers work on their images with young children around? How can you get your young ones, and older ones, to join in the fun?

My little one takes after me. We have a couple of foam puzzles with about 15 large pieces that are great for her small hands. When she is finished, she claps her hands and jumps on it. 😊We have some with about 50 pieces that we do together. With or without a pandemic, doing puzzles with your children can be a fun bonding experience. There is a new Frozen puzzle coming out by Ravensburger. She LOVES Frozen. With 1000 pieces, I am tempted to do it just so she can watch me.

Disney Puzzle

I saw several comments online from parents who said they simply could not puzzle with their young ones around. One mother said they only way she can do her puzzles is by neglecting her children. Instead of doing that, I have some suggestions that might be helpful.

I use foam boards from the dollar store, and I keep my puzzles “sandwiched” between the boards. I cover it up when we are eating or whenever I want to protect it. I was laughing when I read that some people slide their puzzles under the bed or on top of the fridge as a safe place for toddler free items. There are multiple storage type accessories that you can buy as well – rolling mats or portable caddies. These can also protect your puzzles from your furry friends. 😊

Puzzle Board

As they get older, get them involved. Have them choose the image. There are superheroes, Disney characters, comic book themes and so much more to choose from. Have them do the sorting – ask them to find the blue pieces or the edge pieces.

I will not get into too much detail regarding the benefits of puzzling on child development. That would be a long blog entry.

Suffice it to say, here are a few skills to learn from puzzles:

The physical benefits of holding and turning the pieces, the cognitive benefits of problem solving, and the emotional benefits that come from patience and accomplishment. In addition to these areas, talking about the shapes, colors, and objects is excellent for their vocabulary as well as object recognition.

At the end of the day, puzzling is wonderful for children – with or without a parent. The same applies to us as well. Sometimes we have a day where we don’t want to share our puzzling with anyone. There is nothing wrong with that either. A little me time never hurt anyone. 😊