- Hand-eye coordination
- Gross motor skills - larger puzzles, stacking puzzles
- Fine motor skills - smaller pieces, fitting puzzle pieces into exact, precise spots
- Spatial Awareness - A research study was conducted by the University of Chicago about the importance of puzzles in early childhood. They found that if children between the ages of 2-4 years old played with puzzles daily, they had better spatial awareness when the children were 54 months old (4.5years). The children developed a mental ability to transform shapes. Spatial awareness is an important predictor of how well a child may find success in science, techonology, engineering, and mathematics. Boys were also found to have more success than girls, which they found could be a result of parents used more language with boys to help scaffold them in the activity, whereas the girls needed less help.
- Understand surrounding - able to manipulate objects around them.
- Shape recognition
- Memory - hold visual image in memories
- Problem Solving - engage in critical thinking skills to figure out how to put the puzzle together,
- Finding similarities and differences - enables children to generalize and group items in categories. They also engage more closely to details, teaching them skills that are required to learn how to recognize letters and read.
- Set goals
- Patience - This is a big one for my son. He likes to be able to figure things out quickly and sometimes he runs out of patience and gets frustrated when his puzzle pieces do not fit together. We have to take a step back and talk through it slowly so he can figure it out through his frustration.
- Work together - as a family or with friends.
- Accomplishment of the puzzle feels good. :)
Here is a list of some awesome references.