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September 27, 2011

Mama Loves: Puzzles!

I bought the girls their first puzzle for their first birthday – a big, chunky one with three pieces, each an inviting zoo animal.

The girls could complete the puzzle with A LOT of help, but it was much closer to 18 months that they really became interested in it.

Around that time I bought them several additional puzzles, still very basic ones where you match the picture to the cut-out. Those types of puzzles held the girls’ attention for the next few months.

The girls got a gift card for the second birthday, and I wanted to invest in some more puzzles. I found a couple of great ones that the girls have really enjoyed…

One has each upper-case letter of the alphabet, and the other has numbers 0 through 9. The level of difficulty was much greater than what they were accustomed to, as there is no “picture” to match, but I was so amazed – and so proud! – when they mastered the puzzle pretty quickly.

The puzzles provide such a fun, interactive way to play with numbers and letters. Once the girls could complete the puzzle, I started introducing new ways for them to play with it, asking them to put the letters into the puzzle in order, or asking them to put all the orange letters in.

In addition to the many alphabet books we regularly read, I give a lot of credit to these puzzles for helping reinforce letter recognition with the girls.

A few months ago, I found another set of letter puzzles that the girls have really enjoyed, as well.

Now I don’t mean to suggest that my 2 ½-year olds are spelling at this stage, but they can recognize their letters and fit them into the right slots. Sure looks impressive, huh? :) Of course all that really matters is that the girls are having fun.

I’m linking up again this week with my friend Julia at Pontifications of a Twin Mom for her Mama Loves series. This mama loves alphabet puzzles, and so do her girlies!

(These are "Classic Wood" puzzles from Walmart. I can only find a couple available online, but there are a number of different puzzles to choose from in stores.)


Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love anything wooden! Mine also love those kinds of puzzles. They got one each at Friday's party as a party favour (!) - I know, way too generous!

The kids LOVE them.

I have the alphabet and numbers and a clock packed away but tell me, should I take them out? K&C are nearly 27 months old.

Also, how do you store them so all those bits and pieces don't disappear under couches, etc.

Holly Ann said...

Puzzles are an excellent educational resource in early childhood! Some of my favorites are by Melissa & Doug.

Barbara Manatee said...

We love Puzzles, too! Sarah is a PRO at seriously she could do 25 piece jigsaw puzzles when Adam was born (when she was just 25 months old). She has some amazing visual perception skills!! She can now do up to 60+ piece puzzles on her own!

Reminds me that I need to add "puzzles" to the list for Christmas ideas! we need some new/harder ones!

oh...and here's an idea for when you get more pieces for jigsaw puzzles - put a # or letter on the puzzle base (board or box) and then put the same # or letter on each piece of the puzzle. That way if all the puzzle pieces from different puzzles get jumbled, you can easily tell which puzzle it goes to by looking at the back # or letter. I did this with all my puzzles at home and school! Such a huge help!

Julia said...

Yay! Love puzzles! The girls have two by Melissa & Doug. They got them for their birthday. Although the puzzle says 12 months & up, at 12 months, the girls only knew to put the puzzle piece on the board and start clapping. Ha! It wasn't until around 15 months that figured out turning the piece until it actually goes in the spot it's supposed to.

I've been thinking that we need to get some more challenging puzzle pieces. The alphabet would be fantastic! I don't think they'd "get" it right away, but it would be something to work on :)

Thanks so much for sharing your Mama Loves this week, Mandy!!!

P.S. The picture of your girls puzzling in their hats is pretty much the cutest thing EVER!!