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If you teach your toddler to do puzzles, you will be doing much more than just a fun activity with your child.
You will be developing vital visual perceptual skills that will help prepare your child for school!
The steps below will help you introduce your toddler to the joys of doing puzzles. Most importantly, have fun with your child!
For toddlers who have no idea what building a
puzzle is about, or for children from deprived backgrounds, you often need to first
introduce them to the concept of fitting things together.
1 piece puzzles are a good introduction to this concept.
Making use of a shape sorter will also help your toddler learn to perceive and match shapes as well as the concept of fitting things together.
If your child is overwhelmed by all the shapes, place just a few shapes at a time and make it "easy" for your child!
Wooden Peg Puzzles are also excellent. Start by showing just one piece at a time, placing it next to the correct hole and helping your toddler place it in.
Once your child understands how peg puzzles work, the next step is introducing the concept of completing a picture.
In front of your toddler, show how a picture is completed by fitting pieces together.
Have your child complete a variety of 2 piece puzzles, then move on to 4 pieces.
Toddler puzzles often come in sets with a 4 piece, a 6 piece, and a 9 or 12 piece in one box. Mastering one 4 piece puzzle does not mean your child will be ready to tackle the 6 and 12 piece puzzles (though some kids learn quickly).
It is better to let your child master 4 pieces completely, with a few different 4 piece puzzles, before moving on to puzzles that are more challenging.
The steps below are not meant to be done all in one sitting! Your child's temperament, visual perceptual skills and concentration will determine how quickly this skill will be mastered.
Progress at your child's pace and keep it fun!
Build the puzzle in front of your child and show your child the completed puzzle.
Take away one piece, and then ask your toddler to fit that piece back in to complete the picture.
Repeat with a different piece.
Upgrade to taking away 2 pieces.
Repeat this step often, by taking away 2 pieces from different places each time.
Once your child can place 2 missing pieces correctly, break the puzzle up, keeping pieces correctly orientated, and ask your child to build the puzzle.
Once your child has mastered this, mix the pieces up completely so your child has to orientate them as well as place them.
This may take some time to learn!
I have looked out a few resources on Amazon that are very similar to the ones I have used, to help you find fun puzzles to do with your child.
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