Tomorrow is International Puzzle Day. To celebrate, why don’t you and your family work on a puzzle together? There are puzzles to fit about any interest, from Disney characters, cute cats and beautiful landscapes to famous landmarks, oceans, candy and books. You can even take a favorite photo and have it made into a puzzle! Our family has recently taken to buying puzzles that we really love the picture of and want to showcase. Not only is it something pretty to look at, but it’s a memory of the time we spent as a family putting it together. We start puzzles on a large white board that sits on our dining room table. If we are having company over and need to clear the table off before the puzzle is finished, we can easily slide the board under a sofa. When we finish a puzzle that we want to frame we first seal it with Modge Podge puzzle glue (which can be found in any craft store like Michaels, A.C. Moore, etc.) and then buy a frame for it. The Marvel puzzle pictured above was our most recent completed family puzzle. We still need to buy a frame for it and then it will hang it in our son’s bedroom.
There are puzzles available for all ages. If you have toddlers, Melissa & Doug make a variety of puzzles perfect for this age. They have puzzles for ages 1+ with large knobs for easy grasping to puzzles for ages 2+ that make sound when you put the piece in (these were a favorite with my kids when they were younger!). As kids get older, there are a lot more puzzles available, ranging in size and pieces. For adults, the choices are limitless! If you really like a challenge, I’ve seen puzzles all in one color (though that doesn’t seem like much fun!). There are also 3-D puzzles, which we’ve never tried, but offer more of a challenge.
My son received the 500 piece White Mountain “What’s For Breakfast?” puzzle below as a Christmas present one year. This is a great family puzzle since the pieces come in three sizes. Younger kids can work on the larger pieces, older kids can work on the medium-sized pieces and the adults can focus on putting the smaller pieces together. Everyone was able to work on the puzzle with little frustration.
So, you say you’re not a puzzle person? Have you tried working on one recently? There are many positive benefits to working on puzzles. According to Social Psychiatry Blog working on jigsaw puzzles has many benefits including improving brain function and sharpening your memory. Teach.com also has a blog post describing the physical, cognitive and emotional skills that children can benefit from while working on puzzles.
For our family, working on puzzles together is a fun bonding activity. It’s especially nice when we want to unplug and take a break from the television and video games. I find that working on puzzles is also calming. After a long day of work, I will sometimes sit and work on a puzzle for just fifteen minutes. The concentration and quietness of working on a puzzle helps calm and distress me.
Celebrate International Puzzle Day tomorrow by spending some time working on a puzzle!