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Four Ways Puzzles can Invigorate an Early Years Classroom

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Four Ways Puzzles can Invigorate an Early Years Classroom

Puzzles are more than just placing pieces in a frame. A puzzle’s engagement of fine motor skills helps develop mental dexterity and can be a great way to introduce curricular themes and learning areas, inspiring open ended play.

With a puzzle, children are examining and working with one static image over time.  In our visually busy world of on-demand still and moving images -- pics, videos, gifs, slides, movies, animations -- puzzles encourage meditative consideration of a single image.

Puzzles are also inherently errorless and self-regulating. You can get stuck with finding the right piece but there's no way to do a puzzle wrong. These built-in rules make puzzles a great opportunity for the collaboration of students of different abilities. 

Community Playthings Low Display-It-All with Clear Panel for child care or daycares.

Display-It-All from Community Playthings 

Often puzzles are kept in specific learning area but thoughtfully introducing a puzzle can reinvigorate an existing area.  Also completed puzzles can be displayed and then used as an invitation for a specific theme.  The Display-It-All from Community Playthings (pictured above) with its clear panel is great way to display puzzles and keep them intact.  Wheels hidden behind a kickplate and display area on both sides makes it ideal for using for invitations in different learning areas. 

Here are our top four puzzle applications in an early years classroom.

  1. Puzzles can reflect your community and reinforce values of your centre. Connect youngsters to interact and manipulate images that might be on your walls or in books
    • Indigenous themes and teaching
    • Local landscape and environment
    • Multi-cultural 
    • Family diversity

Bald Eagle Bundle - louisekool

 Bald Eagle Bundle

Multicultural Families Puzzle Set of 6 - louisekool

Multicultural Families Puzzle Set

Friends Like Me Puzzles - Sets of 4 - louisekool

 Friends Like Me Puzzle Set

  1. Introduce new topics or themes. The close-up focused interaction with a single image can reinforce or act as an experiential introduction to  curricular topics:
    • Community helpers
    • Weather
    • Eco-systems and biomes
    • Animals
    • Transportation

Large Knob Puzzles - Sets of 2 - louisekool

Large Knob Puzzles Set of 2

Chunky Pieces Puzzle Set of 4 - louisekool

 Chunky Pieces Puzzles Set of 4

  1. Math
    • Number puzzles that reveal value
    • Geometry
    • Create patterns

Classic Creative Puzzles Set/4 - louisekool

 Classic Creative Puzzle Set of 4

  1. Art and creative expression.  Not all puzzles can be solved in just one way.  Some puzzle sets can be a way to express creativity. 
    • By decomposing and recomposing image or type of image, puzzles can be a great way to model the structures and shapes of images in 2 d or 3 d artistic representations of their world such as food, landscapes, people, objects.

 

Wooden Arctic & African Animal Puzzles - louisekool

Wooden Arctic & African Animal Puzzles

 

Black & White Animal Puzzles - Set of 2 - louisekool

Black & White Animal Puzzles

  • Creating their own puzzles out of images photographs or images of art work. Puzzles can help focus a student on more visually challenging images – paintings, abstractions, images of sculpture – that they might otherwise not dwell enough on to decode and engage with the image.  With a Dusy Maxx teachers and students can create their own puzzles out of any image, for endless flexibility. 

 

 Dusy-Maxx Match Game - louisekool

 Dusy-Maxx Match Game

Share how you use puzzles in your classroom!

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  • Bogdan Pospielovsky
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