Nik’s really into puzzles lately. We started with the early childhood ones, wooden with pegs, when he was around 2. It took him a while to figure out what we wanted from him. We would hold all the pieces, then give them to him one at a time, as a reward for a sound or word. Approximations counted. He mastered those, then we moved on to the puzzles within a frame.
The ones he really clamors for these days are the free form puzzles.
I bought him a set of 6 high quality paperboard puzzles, in varying levels of difficulty. They start with a monkey in 4 pieces, and the most difficult one is a giraffe at 8 pieces. The best part is, each puzzle comes with a little paperboard image of the finished piece, which I think is the highlight for Nik. He searches for the “baby” and then puts the “mama” together. We are working on “Big” and “Little” this week, so this puzzle set is great.
“I want the puzzles?”
“Okay. You want to play with the puzzles.”
“Go get the box.”
[He runs to the cupboard, and pulls out the box. I pretend to have a hard time opening it. More conversation builders!]
“Oh, I am not able to open the box. Ooof!”
“Box stuck. It is hard, mama.”
“Very hard. Want to help me?”
Parent participation play. I love it.