Gwen's very eager to figure out how things work lately. She spends a long time studiously putting lids on and off bottles, opening and closing drawers etc.
I googled to find out what kind of educational learning tools I should provide her to further stimulate learning. And I decided on...
Picture Puzzles for Toddlers!
We have shape sorting and number puzzles but I think those are still too difficult for her. She refuses my help and wants to piece the puzzles on her own but gives up quickly from frustration without my guidance. Toddlers are at an awkward stage whereby they want to do everything on their own but lack the skill or coordination to execute them well 😂
So I decided to DIY very straightforward, simple picture puzzles with familiar imagery that Gwen recognises. Namely - an egg and pizza.
How to DIY Egg & Pizza Paper Puzzles
- Paper plates
- Coloured markers
- Bottle cap (to outline small circles for pepperoni on the pizza)
- Bottle lid (to outline a big circle for egg yolk)
Egg Paper Puzzle
- In the middle of a paper plate, place the bottle lid and outline its shape using a yellow marker
- Remove bottle cap and colour the circle yellow
- Your-egg-is-done! Cut out a quarter using scissors
Pizza Paper Puzzle
- Outline a few of the bottle caps' shapes on another paper plate. Colour these circles brown to look like pepperoni
- Draw other ingredients you fancy (Click here for a 50s video to see me speed-draw shrimps, olives, mushrooms, peppers, basil and cheese.
- Cut the pizza paper puzzle into halves
When I introduced the paper puzzles, Gwen seemed more interested in pointing at the various ingredients of the pizza than trying to fit the puzzle pieces together.
That's fine. Not all activities go the way we expect them to. So I used the child-led learning approach, explaining the ingredients Gwen pointed at. Then I mimed eating so she can relate the paper puzzles to real food. She wandered off after that.
When Gwen returned to the puzzles later in the day, I found that she could identify the pieces that fit together. So I demonstrated fitting the puzzle pieces together. She achieved better success with the pizza one. I found that adding a blank paper plate under one half of the pizza puzzle piece, Gwen could easily slip the other half on and both pieces would stay. So try that too!
Benefits of Puzzle Play for Young Children
- Cognitive skills (critical thinking and problem-solving)
- Hand-eye coordination
- Fine motor development
- Self esteem (when praised for making progress)
With these DIY puzzles, I like that you can easily tailor the difficulty level to your child's ability and learning pace. If you don't have time to draw puzzles, you could simply cut up printed pictures or flash cards to turn them into puzzles.
I hope you find this activity a stimulating one for your little one! Tell me your experience at @miraculove_sg via Instagram Direct Message or join my exclusive Facebook Group to swap play ideas!
This post is guest featured on Bump, Baby and You UK.
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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.