Just several weeks more and parents, especially Moms, will again be flocking to department stores, retail shops, and other merchandisers looking for the perfect Christmas gift they could ever give to their loved ones, most specially children. And if you are looking for something that is guaranteed to help your kids build on their sense of patience and perseverance while stimulating the various intellectual and cognitive processes of their young brains, then you may want to try giving them jigsaw puzzles.
This year, we have shortlisted 15 of the best and most entertaining jigsaw puzzles you can give to kids this coming season of giving.
How We Chose the Jigsaw Puzzles in Our List
When we told our research team that our next project will be jigsaw puzzles, almost everyone in the group, quite literally, had a “puzzled” look on their face. And why not? How do you choose a jigsaw puzzle from a sea of choices when everything essentially boils down to the same inherent features? The only possible thing that can differentiate one puzzle from another will be its design which is, in our opinion, very subjective. Our choice of design may not actually sit well with your taste. So how did we do it?
Well, we had to rely on fellow parents. Many of the products in the market today have been around for quite some time. As such, we had to look at the experiences of these parents and determine if they strongly recommend the jigsaw puzzle. Likewise, we had to look at the developmental appropriateness of the puzzle. Most manufacturers recommend a particular age for which their products will be most valuable. Our task therefore, is to make sure that the recommended age is appropriate to the developmental age of children who will be putting together the jigsaw puzzle. It should not be too easy otherwise they’d get bored easily. It should not also be too difficult lest they get frustrated and simply give up.
And then there’s the reputation of the manufacturer. While it is safe to say that well-established brands have an excellent reputation, there are also new players that really strive to adhere to federal guidelines regarding product quality and safety especially when talking about products for kids. It is thus, essential that we establish a company’s credibility as well as trustworthiness to help us better decide on whether to include the product in our list or not.
Choosing the top jigsaw puzzles that will comprise our shortlist was indeed, never easy. Nevertheless, it was a fruitful endeavor.
Jigsaw Puzzles and Children’s Cognitive Development
If you think that the only benefits you’ll get for solving a jigsaw puzzle are strained, tired eyes and a severe throbbing headache, for children, it is entirely different.
Being able to piece together several units of vastly different shapes require an understanding of patterns, colors, and shapes and how a particular shape can fit into the slot of another shape. This helps sharpen a kid’s cognitive skills primarily his or her spatial reasoning and problem solving.
For example, to put a piece onto a slot, the brain has to interpret how the slot is shaped and then compare it with the piece on hand. The brain makes very fast computations and estimations leading it to conclude that the piece fits into the slot.
While this does not happen all the time, it is also possible that kids learn to appreciate problem solving by means of trial and error. If the piece does not fit into the slot, then the brain is encouraged to look for another piece which the child can “try” to fit into the slot. If it doesn’t fit again, then the process is repeated until such time that a particular piece fits perfectly into the slot. While the trial and error method is going on, the brain is keeping track of which shapes of puzzle pieces do not fit into the slot so that these will automatically be excluded from succeeding attempts.
In real life, we are often faced with situations wherein the solution is unknown to us. So, we try a particular solution. If it works, then we can say we are successful. If not, then we try a different approach. We do this until such time that we are able to achieve the desired outcome. This is grounded in our ability to solve problems using the trial and error method. It may not really be scientific but, given the scarcity of factual information, we can only use what we currently have.
This is what children learn to develop in solving jigsaw puzzles. While most moms and dads will see fine motor skills development, most child experts see substantial improvements in kids’ cognitive development.
The Bottom Line
Jigsaw puzzles are not just for kids. These are for adults, too. That is why we believe our top 15 jigsaw puzzles for kids will be an excellent source of Christmas gifts to your loved ones. It can be a great tool for encouraging family bonding and cooperation. Completing a jigsaw puzzle is one great way to spend the holiday with the whole family.