8 simple ways to make puzzles more interesting for kids!

I am – ask we speak – enjoying my favorite place on the face of the planet…
Seaside, Oregon.
Really? Could it be any prettier?
It's my happy place. So much so, I had it painted as a mural on my wall (more on that soon, but here's a sneak peek!)
Seriously, there is just about no other place I'd rather be. We go every year, and I look forward to it for 11 months. (Remember years' past like here?)
No, I won't come home with a tan. In fact, I typically get rained on every time I'm here. BUT…It's gorgeous, it's laid-back, it's quaint…and it's HOME.
Needless to say, I'm enjoying some R&R with the fam. I have NO internet (woo hoo! well, kinda…) so I planned some fun posts for you while I'm gone. The first? A guest post by my right-hand-woman and soul-sister-fo-life, Lindsay, who has a clever idea on how to get the most bang for your buck out of puzzles. Enjoy!

Hey everyone! I had such a blast writing about summer treat bags that I came back to share this quick puzzle revamp I did for Greyson the other day.

Greyson loves puzzles. He is great at them and has a blast. The problems with puzzles?

A) If a puzzle is too difficult he has no interest in it.
B) When he masters a puzzle (after only a few times) he gets bored of it with it and is reluctant to go back to it…ever.
C) They can be EXPENSIVE! The famous (and awesome) Melissa & Doug puzzles can be $10.00 + a pop! To me that is a lot of cash to deal out for a toy that will only get a few uses.

I saw these super cheap puzzles at Walmart and had an idea.
These were in packs of 3 for $3.00. (I bet the dollar store has some too!)
The problem with these puzzles is that they are a bit lame (compared to the fancy puzzles I talked about above), and they are pretty difficult because the only way to know where to put the pieces is by the faint indention on the board.
To make it easier AND a bit more educational here is what I did:
  • Took my cheap puzzles and some trusty markers, removed the puzzle pieces, and traced over the indentation on the puzzle board like so:
  • I then took each puzzle piece and wrote a number, shape, or word on the back for him to match up with the correct puzzle piece “spot” on the game board.
When done (after 30 seconds of back-breaking work…) they looked like this:
Now he has multiple dimensions to the puzzle to keep him entertained for longer!

This could work for kids of all ages:

For older kids…
You could do the same concept (with a more complicated puzzle, naturally) and you could do

  • (1) Math equations (from simple addition/subtraction on up to times tables and more),
  • (2) Vocab words,
  • (3) Reading (put an animal sticker on the back of the puzzle piece, and write the animal name on the board and they have to match).

For younger kids… 

  • (4) Alphabet matching (match lower-case to upper case, for more of a challenge)
  • (5) Color matching
  • (6) Shapes
  • (7) Numbers
  • (8) Words
By adding these personal little touches, it makes the super cheap puzzles more entertaining, and more educational for my little guy.
Do you guys do any toy revamping? I would LOVE to hear your ideas!
XOXO,
Thanks for sharing, Linds!

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