A puzzle for Christmas

Puzzles are perhaps one of the defining toys - and joys - of childhood. We've all seen our kids absorbed in a puzzle of some kind, and it's gratifying to know that puzzles not only engage your children, but that they also learn through playing with them. Puzzles really go to town with brain development! They provide an opportunity for your child to engage with the world around them, improve their hand-eye coordination, and develop their fine motor skills. And for smaller children and toddlers, puzzles can help them develop their gross motor skills. Puzzles help them set goals, help their developing memory, help them recognise shapes ... the list goes on and on. At Dragonfly we have a wonderful range of Spiel and Holz wooden puzzles to engage your child as they play with colours, shapes and tactile objects. All of the puzzles in this range really are delightfully beautiful and make a special gift. Our Large Spiral Puzzles have a wonderful weight and tactile quality, and the colours are brilliant. They come in three different sizes, and are worth considering for your children as we swing into Advent and Christmas approaches. dragonflytoys_butterflyOur Wooden Butterfly Puzzles come in bright colours in a natural wooden butterfly-shaped frame. And our Grimm's Landscape Puzzles are a delight, given the same loving care and craftsmanship as the other puzzles, featuring the sky, sunset and water in a beautiful landscape. In a world focused on quick fixes and throw away gifts, at Dragonfly we bring you toys, puzzles and games that help your child learn and grow as they play, that add to the richness of their lives. Which is, of course, the true meaning of Advent and Christmas. Studies have shown that puzzles are good for your child’s mind and cognitive development. The below is an extract from the Childhood Development Institute. The World Around Them Psychologists have determined that a child’s brain development is influenced significantly when a child acts on or manipulates the world around him or her. Puzzles provide that key opportunity. Hand-Eye Coordination When children flip, turn, or remove pieces of the puzzle, they are learning the connection between their hands and their eyes. The brain, eyes, and hands work together to find the piece, manipulate it accordingly, and fit it into the puzzle accurately. Fine Motor Skills Similar to the way hand-eye coordination is achieved, puzzles provide the opportunity for children to develop fine motor skills. These skills require small, specialised movements that puzzles provide. Gross Motor Skills For babies and young children, gross motor skills can be enhanced with stacking blocks and other large, easily-manipulated puzzles. Problem Solving The skill of effective problem solving is a valuable and important one. As a child looks at various pieces and figures out where they fit or don’t fit, he or she is developing this vital skill. A puzzle, after all, can’t be completed by cheating! It either works and fits or it doesn’t. So puzzles teach children to use their own minds to figure out how to solve problems and think in a logical way. Shape Recognition For young children – even babies – learning to recognise and sort shapes is an important part of their development. Puzzles can help little ones with this, since the pieces need to be recognized and sorted before they can be assembled. Memory Simple jigsaws and other types of puzzles may help enhance a child’s memory. For example, a child will need to recall the size, color and shape of various pieces as he or she works through the puzzle. If a piece doesn’t fit, the child sets it aside; but he or she will need to remember that piece when it is needed. Setting Small Goals As a child works on a puzzle, he or she will often develop a strategy to work the puzzle faster and more efficiently. He or she may do all the edge pieces first, for instance, or sort all the pieces into piles according to colors or shapes. This helps a child learn to achieve small goals as a means toward a larger goal.

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