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# Creative Ways to Play with Puzzles!

2017-01-13 by Sarah Noftle

Guest blogger Sarah Noftle of How Wee Learn shares some creative ways to play with puzzles!

Quiet time activities are kind of my specialty, I’d say. Not in a small part because of the busy-ness of the two little boys I spend my days with.

The running and jumping and racing can only go on so long before a break is needed. For ALL of us.

For this reason we have tons of quiet time activities in our home. One of the easiest quiet time activities? Puzzles.

No prep needed, no set up, and very, very little mess with tons of learning too.

Since we have so many puzzles and my little ones spend so much time doing those puzzles we have gotten a little creative and found some neat learning activities to do with them as well.

I wanted to share three simple ideas for getting even more from your puzzles.

The first idea is to try to do a simple puzzle blindfolded.

We used the Melissa & Doug Jumbo ABC Chunky Puzzle for this game. Sam sat with a blindfold on his eyes (well, a winter toque because we are Canadian, so winter hats are always within reach). I then gave him 4 letters and had him try to guess which letter “A” was. He was feeling the sides of the letter and really, really focusing on every detail of the shape.

Once he got quite good at it I gave him a whole row of alphabet letters and had him try to put them in order.

The second idea can be used in so many ways. Using the back of the puzzle we wrote numbers, counting by 2s, on each puzzle piece in order. We used pencil for this so we could easily erase it and target a different skill on another day.

This idea works very well for counting, skip counting, or even practicing sight words and word families.

The final idea we used is making any puzzle into a name puzzle.

This time when I wrote on the back of the puzzle I used a black marker. I knew this puzzle would be used in this way again and again to help my preschooler really learn his name and I wanted all the marks of the letters to be very clear. He really had to focus on the shape of each letter and how they curve and bend to find the correct puzzle pieces.

Puzzles are such a great way for kids to practice so many skills. Using them just as they are intended teaches visual spatial skills, problem solving, and perseverance too in a very engaging way. With a little creative thought you can get even more from your puzzles which might just add another minute or two to quiet time.

And when we are talking quiet time, every minute counts.

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### Sarah Noftle

Sarah is a teacher, mama, and wanna-be homesteader. She is home with her kids learning through play, exploring with nature, and surviving parenthood with humor. She writes at How Wee Learn which is full of creative and playful learning activities for kids, as well as the occasional post on natural living and farmyard antics. Sarah would love to connect with you on Facebook and Pinterest so she can show you pictures of her chickens (and more relevant things too, of course).