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Indoor or Outdoor: Indoor or outdoor but if done outdoors best to do on top of a rug so the pieces don't get stained or broken.
Puzzles, the bigger the pieces the better.
These could be ones you already have, borrowed or secondhand ones. Look for really cheap ones at fetes, fairs and charity shops. I found one at a bookstore that you add 3D pieces to for only $5 it has a layout of a neighbourhood with streets, roads, cars, walkways, parks and 3D people, police officers, cars and a police station.
Cost: Free or low cost.
1) The first step is to put the puzzle together correctly. Perhaps do this a few times before you give the puzzle to your child. Knowing how to put it together firstly really helps. Take a photo of the completed puzzle. (In case you lose the box, it falls apart or to save space by keeping it in a zip locked bag and recycling the box).
2) Once it is all pieced together turn each puzzle piece over in order and write the number of its sequence on the back of it using a permanent marker. Make sure each piece is numbered correctly and clearly.
3) Keep the numbered pieces in front of you but use your hands to shuffle them around so that they are all out of order.
4) Next show the child the photo or the box of the puzzle. Ask them, 'Could you please help me to put this puzzle together?'
5) Ask them to sit down near the shuffled puzzle pieces. Draw their attention to the numbers written on the back of the pieces.
6) Ask the child to find the first puzzle piece by finding the one with a number 1 written on it. When they hand each puzzle piece to you start to put them in a pile. Then the one with the number 2, 3, 4 on it and so on until all the pieces have been handed to you in order.
7) Now you will have a pile of puzzle pieces that are all in the right order. Ask the child to now help you to connect the pieces.
Encourage them to notice the different shapes and openings and to get the picture to line up. Show them how to turn each piece to line it up with its partners.
This is a fantastic way to introduce large puzzles to your children whilst also developing their number recognition skills. Your child will feel very proud of their abilities and will be encouraged to develop a can do attitude.
Aim: To learn about puzzles and have fun exploring them in different ways. To teach skills on thinking outside the box.
Time: This activity is best not rushed. Make sure you have a decent amount of time. The child will not enjoy it if they are rushed. Give them time to find the right number and time to turn each piece around until it slots into place easily.
Players: One or more players. You could even do this as a group!
Why?: Learning how to put a puzzle together can be a daunting experience for a child. This idea shows them the simple steps to take to put a full puzzle together. They will get to see that putting in the time and effort gets results.
Why not print out a picture or photo of what the finished puzzle looks like as a reference.
Older children could write the numbers on the back of the pieces themselves.
Take photos of each step of the process and save them for your children to show their family and friends.