Jigsaw Puzzles for All the Family
Jigsaw puzzles, those packs of distinctively shaped pieces of wood or cardboard that most will remember from childhood. They proved to be very popular during the recent Covid lockdowns, perhaps people wanted a link to safer, more certain times. Most likely they all just wanted to enjoy the pleasure and sense of accomplishment you get when you finish a complicated jigsaw.
Whatever the reason isn’t it great to see a traditional (and physical) game giving digital entertainment a credible challenge for our attention?
Puzzles were always a way of keeping kids happily occupied but jigsaws can be fun for all ages – children, teenagers, and adults. Read on to learn more.
Jigsaw Puzzles Come in Many Shapes & Sizes
The range of available jigsaw sizes means there’s something for every levels of skill. You can find toddler friendly puzzles with a handful of huge colourful pieces or easy 250 piece kits that are ideal for kids of about 7 and 8. You’ll also find 500 piece puzzles which are good for adults and children over the age of 12.
For anyone looking for a bit more of a challenge there are much larger puzzles such as those with 1000, 2000 or even 10,000 pieces. Modern technology has also enabled the creation of jigsaw puzzles that, rather than lying flat on the playing surface, are formed into 3-dimensional structures thus providing another layer of complexity for the avid puzzler.
What all these puzzles have in common is that familiar system of interlocking ball and socket connections. Traditionally they were made, rather laboriously, by hand but these days laser and die cutting machines are used for mass production.
A jigsaw puzzle is solved by piecing the separated (and jumbled) individual pieces back together. One of the main aids in achieving this is the picture printed on the surface of the puzzle. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when you’ve got the reconstructed image in front of you exactly matching that on the box.
The range of art and imagery available on jigsaw puzzles is fantastic, you’ll find any style you want. From Disney scenes to classic works by painters like Cezanne and Monet; abstracts and photographs; landscapes and animals; colourful or muted – they’re all represented.
Solving a Jigsaw Puzzle
A jigsaw puzzle can actually be solved by just focusing on the shapes of the pieces and matching them up (there are actually image free puzzles that take this to the extreme). But, as we discussed in the previous section, an easier and more obvious method for solving a puzzle is to use the picture on the box as a guide. You need to look for the piece that goes in a particular position by identifying a colour, shape or detail from the image.
Don’t get frustrated if you still can’t see how the pieces fit together or where one piece goes next. If you find yourself stuck, or when you’re dealing with large puzzles, it can help to start with the edge pieces and work your way inwards.
Also, if you’re having problems with a specific piece try rotating it around and looking at it from different angles, you might be able to see a feature of it’s shape, size or colour that you missed previously and that will help in placing it.
Jigsaw Puzzles Provide So Many Benefits
Cognitive Skills: Problem Solving & Logical Reasoning
Puzzles can help promote problem solving abilities by exercising your logical reasoning as you piece together intricate scenes from colour, shape and feature clues.
‘Did I just see a piece with that colour?’ you might ask yourself as you solve a puzzle – yes, jigsaw puzzles can help work your short term memory too! Other benefits include improvements to patience, concentration and attention span. It may also help strengthen your focus as you concentrate on what you are doing.
Puzzles have been used as an educational tool for many years by teachers who noticed how much school children enjoyed them and how improvements in the children’s problem solving skills followed once they started working on them.
As we’ve already mentioned, having to figure out where a piece fits by considering the shapes and colours of the pieces is a great test of logical reasoning. For younger children jigsaws are often used as a fun and engaging way to exercise their understanding of shapes, colours, numbers, the alphabet and words. With older children the image on the puzzle can be used to remind them of topics they’ve covered in lessons such as geography and history.
Each time you try to locate a piece that is needed in order for the puzzle to make sense you will be helping to develop your hand-eye coordination.
Jigsaw puzzles require that you move your hands and eyes in unison when you match up the shapes, put the pieces together and take them apart on the playing surface. As such solving jigsaw puzzles can help improve coordination skills over time.
Social and Collaborative Skills
Jigsaw puzzles are a great group activity. If you ever find yourself struggling with a difficult puzzle try asking for help from someone else, as well as a greater chance of finishing the puzzle you’re bound to get many more laughs out of it.
Doing a jigsaw with a few friends is a chance to hone those social skills that are so important when individuals or groups of people need to cooperate and work together.
Jigsaw puzzles for sale – we carry 3 sizes of jigsaws printed with original art by Tina Lewis, from children’s art to landscapes and still life.
You’ll find monochrome jigsaws and those with plenty of colour. We hope there’ll be something in our selection to provide enough of a challenge to everyone in your family.