3 Ways to Use Puzzles with Preschoolers

There’s so much more to puzzles than pieces! In today’s speedy quick Mother Goose Time Micro Training we share 3 new ways to use puzzles with your preschoolers.

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Welcome to a Micro Training with Mother Goose Time. Today we will be talking about 3 more ways you can use puzzles with preschoolers. Every month with Mother Goose Time you receive an extra sturdy new cardboard puzzle, so, be sure to save them and have a full collection of preschool friendly puzzles!

FoxPuzzle.pngFirst try puzzles with 4-6 pieces, then try 12 and then 24. Slowly increase the amount of pieces the child has to manipulate as the child demonstrates independent mastery of the given amount.

The common way to play with a puzzle is to dump all the pieces on the table and then put it together. This builds problem-solving and spatial awareness skills. But try one of these new ideas and build even more skills. The first idea is what we like to call…

Feed the Puppy

You can feed any animal or object. Just use whatever toy you have. 

Begin with an assembled puzzle. Name a hidden feature and encourage the child to take that piece from the puzzle and feed it to the puppy. Continue to describe features, find the piece and feed the puppy. Children love the make-believe aspect of this idea. Add a story to any simple math concept and it becomes much more interesting and engaging to children.

  • Puppy wants to eat a puzzle piece with the color white.
  • Puppy wants to eat a puzzle piece with a the cow’s foot.

This is a great listening comprehension and vocabulary building activity because it requires the child to understand and apply the meaning of the adjectives or nouns that you use in your description. It gives you an immediate opportunity to assess their understanding.

Dig For Puzzle Pieces 

The second idea is to dig for puzzle pieces and focus on fine motor skills.

You can pretend the Farm Dog took puzzle pieces and dug holes to hide his new treasure. But now you need help finding the lost treasures! Simply hide the puzzle pieces in sand, flour, cornmeal or oats. Set out different tools such as tongs or spoons with holes. This requires the child to control his small muscles while hunting and digging up the puzzle pieces. The adventure story of hidden treasure will captivate the imagination of the child!

Using Numbers

The third idea is already found on page 25 in the Down on the Farm thematic study Teacher Guide.

One Mother Goose Time activity is titled “Cow Puzzle”. We suggest that you write numbers on the back of the pieces. You can pretend that you are counting everything in the barn! We wrote numbers 1-9. You can encourage children to either find numbers in numerical order and line up the pieces. Or you could give simple math challenges:

  • Can you find a puzzle piece with a number that is less than 3.
  • Or roll one or two dice and find a puzzle piece with the same numeral on it as the amount of dots on the dice.

So today, before you play with puzzles, try an idea for how to add a story or tool to the process of taking apart or putting together the puzzle.

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