Here are some reasons why you should buy puzzles for preschoolers.
Puzzles help little ones with motor control, recognizing shapes, and keeping busy
Shape recognition is important for letter and number recognition later on when kids are learning to read, write, and figure. Seeing details and subtle differences are important for the skills of decoding symbols. Puzzles help develop these skills in a completely fun way.
Puzzles also develop fine motor control, mental rotation of objects, and logic. As kids put together the pieces, especially as they get into more advanced puzzles they have to categorize and put pieces in the puzzle in the right order.
I really like the Lauri Puzzles (the butterfly and kids foam crepe puzzles in the top photo) because they have similar shapes that have to be really looked at carefully to find the matching hole. Choose puzzles that are challenging, but not frustrating for your child. Helping them out a bit is just fine too.
Online puzzles and puzzle apps have their place. They certainly develop the logic and sequencing and shape recognition, but honestly they’re too easy. Dragging your finger or your mouse just isn’t the same as picking a piece up turning it over in your fingers and not having a buzzer tell you when your placement is wrong. So the apps are fine, but go for the real thing too.
Puzzles are a part of our preschooler’s day. He does a few workbook pages, a coloring sheet, a journal entry (he draws a picture and dictate to me what it is while I write), and then play dough, mazes, painting, or puzzles. The last items of his day are play, but they’re also learning.
Play to learn.