I’m blogging and posting some favorite gift ideas for your kids for the holidays. I think that parents should have fun playing with their kids too so a puzzle is a wonderful joint activity for smart play.
I just spent several days with my 3 1/2 year old twin grandchildren who fell in love with “fuzzy puzzles” (Janod Tactile Puzzle- A Day at the Zoo, and Life on the Ice). Kids love the soft white fur on the polar bear, shiny blue tail fins of the whale, striped fuzzy back of the tiger, curly fur of the koala, or shiny patterned body of the lizard. With a large fold-up picture of the zoo and ice scenes, kids can refer to the placement of monkeys, ponds, ice, eskimos and penguins to complete the puzzle. Dad even had the kids orienting around the arrows that lead you through the zoo! I started by asking the kids what part they wanted to put together first–the alligator, wolves, igloo, balloons or flamingos. The kids gathered up the pieces with those images and started their part of the puzzle. They had to learn to look at the picture, not just fit the pieces together. We were looking for an alligator’s tail, giraffe’s head or flamingo’s legs. We even had a discussion on “What is an eskimo?”
The different tactile experiences associated with a furry deer or shimmery glittered goldfish provide kids with extra sensory input as they learn about animals and their habitat. We had lots of chat going on as we were looking for pieces and experiencing and little trial and error while assembling the puzzle.
The minute we finished the puzzle, they asked to do it again!