Puzzles are an inspiring way to help children identify patterns and objects and they begin to establish attention and concentration for challenging tasks. The 12 pieces of the Silly Shark floor puzzle by The Learning Journey is an exceptional learning experience for toddlers for its big size with a very exciting theme.
Using puzzles to build an understanding of basic concepts and new vocabulary is extremely effective. Part-whole relationships focus on teaching how small parts can combine to make a whole, which is an early math concept. This is a great strategy for problem solving and vocabulary development. For instance, “the shark’s eye” or “the shark’s tail” is a part-whole relationship.
Puzzles are also great for learning spatial concepts. Studies support that high quality parent interactions during puzzle play promote spatial thinking and later math skills. Using words that describe position such as in, on, under, above, behind, etc. help to further boost those skills.
Our 2 year old toy tester was very interested in finding parts of the shark to create the giant puzzle. We practiced spatial concepts like top and bottom and associated those words with body part vocabulary, like back and belly. Her favorite puzzle piece was the sharp teeth and it was especially hilarious when the shark attempted to chomp on her finger, as we exercised our imaginations and even pretended to be sharks! It was fascinating to watch the focus and attention on problem solving as pieces were flipped and turned to find their spot.
The Silly Shark puzzle was great for learning new vocabulary, like fin, gill, and sharp when describing teeth, and practicing cognitive skills like problem solving and critical thinking to match colors and patterns.