Toddlers and preschoolers typically grasp how to assemble peg puzzles pretty quickly. This is because, in general, these puzzles have large, easy-to-grasp pieces that fit into obvious slots on a puzzle board.
My toddler has grown bored with most peg puzzles because they are too easy for her. However, jigsaw puzzles are still a little too challenging. They have much smaller pieces and are freestanding (there are no slots to show you where to put the pieces). Though she received a simple collection of four 12-piece jigsaw puzzles (affiliate link) for Christmas, she’s been unable to assemble them unassisted.
As adults, we can identify edge pieces and look at an image of a puzzle to determine where pieces of various colors might belong. Young children don’t have these skills. However, young kids do have matching skills. As I thought about this, I came up with a way to help my toddler learn how to assemble her jigsaw puzzles.
How to teach young children to assemble jigsaw puzzles
I assembled the puzzles and placed them face down on a copier. I then made a photocopy of each puzzle. As you can see from the images below, the places where pieces come together in the puzzles appear as lines on the photocopies. Even though our printer was running out of ink, these lines are clearly visible! These lines help young children understand where to place the puzzle pieces.
My daughter began by simply matching the puzzle pieces to the photocopies of the completed puzzles, but she’s slowly understanding the concept of how the pieces fit together to form a freestanding puzzle.
I covered the photocopies with clear contact paper so they will be durable. They’re holding up fine and have been a very valuable tool in helping my toddler understand how to assemble her jigsaw puzzles.
Would this approach work for your child? What other things have you done to help your child understand how to assemble jigsaw puzzles?
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