Puzzles vary is size and shape. Some include actual recognizable shapes like squares, circles, and triangles, while others connect in more abstract ways. No matter how the pieces of a puzzle are cut, the method of finding where a piece goes remains the same.
When using a puzzle, the child must learn how to observe the shape of the piece in their hand and the shape of the open spot in the puzzle.
In a Montessori classroom, the teacher demonstrates this quality of shape by sliding a finger around the entire circular puzzle piece. They then trace the outline of the circle on the puzzle board to show that the space is the same shape and size as the piece in their hand. This helps the child learn what to observe and what qualities to look for when completing a puzzle and is most often a key lesson in the sensorial area of the classroom.
Fine Motor Development
By using puzzles, the child learns how to grasp the small knob on each piece with their pincer grasp. This pincer grasp aids in the movement of the puzzle piece while in turn strengthening the fine motor movements a child needs to hold a writing instrument later on.
Strengthening the grasping motions of the hand and touching the puzzle shape outline give each child direct didactic practice that leads to stronger fine motor skills.
Uses for Puzzles:
Puzzles teach children how to complete a work cycle and lengthen the period of time in which a child can focus.
Have a collection of puzzles for all ages that can be switched out throughout the year. From Toddlers to Kindergarteners, every child has something to learn from puzzles.
A barn yard puzzle, Cassat puzzle, or a Geometric Stacking puzzle all aid in curriculum planning and the implementation of new topics in a classroom throughout the year.
- Montessori puzzles, like parts of an animal, can remain on the shelves year round so children can learn these concepts when ready.