There's something hugely satisfying about watching little people solve puzzles. Those little furrowed brows, that intense look of concentration as they make the pieces fit... it's like my baby suddenly became turned into a mini adult in that split second.
Puzzle play is stimulating and brings many learning benefits (more about that later) so I decided to leave out a puzzle at any point in time in Gwen's play area so she could incorporate puzzle play into her daily play.
The plan sounded good, but that was when I realised... I would need many many MANY puzzles for rotation to keep the interest level high.
Short of ordering 10 puzzles off Amazon (I mean I could, but puzzles lose their appeal once they're solved and hence have limited play value), so I decided to be thrifty and DIY a collection of puzzles for Gwen instead. Making my own puzzles means I could tailor the difficulty level and type of puzzle play to suit my little one, so that's a huge appeal!
This is one favourite puzzle of mine!
DIY Cardboard Pizza Puzzle for Toddlers!
Inspired by Mothercould's rainbow cardboard puzzle, I made an adorable round pizza puzzle for Gwen (18 months).
Young toddlers are still working on their fine motor and pincer grip skills, so having a little pom pom ball handle to hold onto as they lift and return the puzzle pieces really helped. Such a brilliant idea by Mothercould!
I really liked that the pom pom balls fit into the design of the pizza - imagine them as little meatballs or pepperoni! 😂
- Undo the activity. A toddler is more attracted to activities that are undone than one that's been completed (e.g. jigsaw puzzle pieces placed together in a bowl next to an empty jigsaw base vs. all the jigsaw puzzle pieces fitted into the base) It's also recommended to place the elements to be fitted in (e.g. jigsaw puzzle pieces) on the left, and the element that hold the fitted pieces (e.g. jigsaw puzzle base) on the right as a left to right movement is indirect preparation for learning to read.
Benefits of Puzzle Play
- A round puzzle like this teaches fractions! It's a great way to introduce the concept of equal pieces forming something whole when put together. If you'll like to go deeper into learning about fractions, try Happy Tot Shelf's watermelon puzzle!
- Promote problem-solving and logical thinking
- Hone shape and object recognition
- Boost language skills (Discuss your favourite toppings on pizza!)
- Fine motor development
- Further hand-eye coordination
Gwen's Play Experience
Solving this round pizza puzzle is much harder than it looks! This was so different to the regular puzzles Gwen's used to (she's familiar with individual puzzle pieces fitting individual holes on the puzzle board) so this came across as a big challenge for her!
I've introduced this puzzle for a few days but it seems Gwen hasn't really cracked it yet. She is still figuring out how to position and align the quadrant pieces together to form one full circle that fits the round base.
Once in a while, she shows frustration but I remind myself to let her work it out on her own because it's a good practice for self-correction and independent problem-solving!
I'll likely keep this puzzle till when she's older (preschooler age). I can introduce fractions to her then!
To follow Gwen's play adventures, check out @miraculove_sg (Instagram), save our pins or join A Toddler Activity A Day Facebook Group.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.