Hooray for “fuzzy puzzles” as my preschoolers say. They were so excited to hear I had NEW tactile puzzle to play with. At 4 years of age they can finally work the puzzle independently and so enjoy collecting the pieces associated with their favorite animals so they can start putting the puzzle together. With so many actions to describe–the pig spattering mud on the rooster, the chick sipping drops of water from the watering can, or the kitten swatting the bunny’s tail, or the hen pulling the worm out of the ground–kids have lots to talk about and describe, building their vocabulary as they talk about the puzzle. As kids feel the different tactile experiences, they learn words to describe the leathery nose of the frog, the cottony back of the sheep, the smooth bunny’s tail or the soft pig’s back. Kids can’t get enough of these puzzles with the beautiful illustrations and extra sensory experience. A puzzle is a wonderful parent-child activity for preschoolers as parents join the conversation Kids get into the conversation asking about parts of the puzzle they need. My 4 year-old friend said, “Where is the milk?” looking for the cow’s utters! What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when the puzzle is completed.
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Erika O. Cardamone, MS, CCC-SLP