The Role of Puzzles and Games in Child Development
Games that are both educational and fun can greatly improve a child's development as they engage in play. Research shows that playing is an integral part of a child's growth which should be encouraged, not dampened. It is important because it teaches resilience and social skills in kids at a very young age. Introducing educational and fun games ensures that learning can be as natural as playing.
Here are some essential roles puzzles and games play in childhood development:
It plays a part in their Intelligence Development:
Puzzles and games are not just a way for children to play and have fun; They are also an opportunity to train and sharpen their intelligence. Spatial visual intelligence is one of the multiple intelligences sharpens. Spatial visual intelligence is the intelligence of thinking and learning with images, understanding the shape of patterns and the space of an object, including thinking creatively.
Children are 'hands-on' learners. They acquire knowledge through playful interaction with things and people. Studies conducted by S.C. Levine et al. 2011 show that regular toddlers who play puzzles have better spatial-visual skills than those who do not. These are because the ability to recognize and understand the shape, size, colour, and space is sharpened by playing the puzzle.
It Supports Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills:
Children develop creative thinking skills when they play puzzles and games. For example, when you show children how a game works, they most likely use that in the way you demonstrated and then discard it. However, when you place the game in front of the child and give them the freedom to explore how it works by themselves, they focus on the game longer and discover new or more effective ways to use it. You have to understand that when children play, they are not thinking, "Oh! I am going to learn something tangible from this activity." Yet by playing these games, it creates powerful learning opportunities across all areas of development. They often take on challenging cognitive tasks such as - figuring out how to fill in the smaller pieces of a puzzle when the larger ones are not available.
That's why it is essential for parents or caregivers to interact with children as they play and to respond to their cues. They will learn more and be more engaged if you direct their play less and look for ways to support their ideas.
It Plays a Part in Social Development
One of the many benefits of puzzles is that they build social, emotional knowledge and skills. Puzzles provide an excellent opportunity for children to work together to accomplish a greater goal, enhancing and promoting cooperative play and paving the way to build deeper understanding and robust relationships.
For example, The designers of Fill In the Map here at TVP Games believe that the next step in puzzling, beyond the placing of pieces together, is the social conversation about country names, capital cities and flags of each country and interesting cultural landmarks. It will inspire—the creative freedom to explore the world and artistry. Children would understand the world around them. There's no better way for them to do that than literally letting them manipulate the world around them with puzzle games like Fill in the Map Collection for every continent.
It Equips Children to Handle Stress and Conflict:
Playing puzzles and games forms part of the fundamental building blocks of future complex "21st-century skills" like negotiating, conflict resolution, self-advocacy, children leadership and group skills.
When challenges or stresses arise during games—a puzzle piece won't fit, a ball won't fit into a hole, the drawing a child made from a paper tore apart, or the toy won't come on. All these are typical examples of what happens during play. Gradually, they learn to handle stressful, unpleasant, or challenging situations and solve the problem rather than respond with an outburst of emotion or stop playing.
It Fosters Communication and Family Time:
When you play puzzle board games with a child, you are bonding with them. You sing, laugh, speak, tell stories. You are showing them how relationships work—something they don't learn from a screen. These interactions allow children to try out and refine their communication and language skills and receive a smile when they complete the puzzle that says that they are valued and loved and that their ideas are exciting and worth exploring.
Lately, the actual time children spend playing is decreasing. Today, children play eight hours less each week than their counterparts did two decades ago (Elkind, 2008). Parents are more focused on giving their kids a leg up, signing them for activities like Maths Drills, Piano lessons, Karate classes. Not saying these are bad, but they could be mutually inclusive or balanced. If you give math lessons or reading practice an hour, you should also give equal time to playing puzzles with family and peers. Allow them the freedom to engage in activities in their backyards, fields that are not disguised as "educational".There is no need to underestimate the immerse role of puzzles in childhood development. Unplug yourself and your children from screens and devices. Give children an opportunity to continue learning from simple shapes to silhouettes, jigsaw puzzles, abstract forms, to board or card games with a twist. And in the words of David Elkind; "When we appreciate the important role play games serves in a child's learning about self and world, we give children the time and opportunity to engage in the self-initiated play that is the surest way for them to fully realize all of their intellectual, emotional, and social potential".