The Benefits Of Playing Jigsaw Puzzles

There are few games or pastimes that are as universally enjoyed as jigsaws.

The concept is simple, but thoroughly absorbing.  They can be easy, or maddeningly complex, depending on the design, number of pieces or even the shape of the puzzle.  So what is it about jigsaws that are so appealing to all age groups?

For The Kids

Jigsaws can be made from any number of pieces, and this allows the puzzles to start at the basic level of three or four pieces, and then increase to hundreds or even thousands of pieces without changing the concept or method of play.  This flexibility means the basic activity can grow in complexity to keep pace with the child’s ability and problem solving skills.

The appeal also comes from the basic human skills involved.  There is an attractive, usually colorful, image; simple problem solving is involved to work out how the pieces fit together; hand to eye co-ordination is involved to manipulate the pieces and fit them together; and finally there is the satisfaction of completing the puzzle, followed by the chance to break it up again for someone else to solve.

Whilst the kids just see jigsaws as fun, they are in fact an invaluable aid to developing basic cognitive and manipulative motor skills.  This fact can even be exploited by health professionals involved in the assessment of children’s progress.  Watching a child attempting to solve jigsaw puzzles of varying complexity allows the following learning markers to be assessed:

  • Problem solving.
  • Fine motor skills.
  • Hand to Eye Coordination.
  • Color Perception.
  • The ability to match shapes.
  • The ability to understand abstract shapes (the picture in pieces) and form them into the composite pictures.

It’s the best form of educational aid, the child learns and develops key skills while simply having fun.

For The Adults

Most people past through phases in their lives, and the same is true for jigsaw puzzles.  Adolescents grow out of jigsaws in the same way they outgrow other toys and focus on the usual distractions of young adulthood.  But unlike other toys and pastimes, settling in to adult life is often accompanied by the return of an interest in jigsaws puzzles.  They are a great antidote to the pressures that come with work and family life as the concentration required when completing more complex puzzles takes the mind off worries, while providing the satisfaction of solving and completing a task in way which is often missing from everyday living.  It is a simple form of problem solving that provides a relaxing outlet and escape from the more mundane aspects of life.

Jigsaws Online

Online jigsaw puzzle websites are one of the great success stories of the internet.  The appeal of the puzzles doesn’t seem diminished even though the pieces are not physically handled. Indeed, there are real advantages to playing the puzzles on the screen.  There are a huge variety of puzzles online, and most websites offer free online puzzles, as well as more variety and complexity in the puzzles for those happy to pay a small subscription.  Online puzzles also offer features such as being able to choose from thousands of pictures, then cutting it as a puzzle in a whole variety of ways, changing the number of pieces, the shape of the pieces, and even the overall shape of the puzzle. So while many other types of game loose much of their appeal when moved to the online environment, jigsaws have not only made a seamless transition, they actually seem improved by the array of features and variations that online jigsaws offer.


Author Bio:

John is founder of Jigfun, a jigsaw website offering some of the best jigsaw features found anywhere online.

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