Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pre-Toddler Activity # 3: Puzzle Search

Melissa and Doug have a great line of puzzles that are appropriate for various ages.  We own 4 of the wooden puzzles (plus a few other brands), but B is not at the age where he has the fine motor skills or the understanding of how to place the pieces in their respective locations.  However, he is not to young for object recognition or pulling objects out of a container.  As a mater of fact, those are two developmental milestones that are appropriate for his age (somewhere between 12 and 18 months).

What to do:
  • Place all of the wooden pieces into a container.  We use an old protein powder container (an empty cereal box is another good option).  It is nice because B can't see which piece he is pulling out and when the lid is on he loves to shake the container (which makes lots of NOISE)!
  • Have your child pull one out
  • Ask he/she where the piece goes
  • If they are unable to identify where the piece should go give them a hand
**Don't get discouraged if this activity does not go so well the first few times you complete it with your child.  This is one that will improve with repetition and is very stimulating for their little brains.  If he/she doesn't get it the first few times keep demonstrating what you want them to do while verbally sharing the steps with them.  

B places the piece in the general area where it belongs, but he has not always been able to do this (obviously).  This activity can be made more simple by using one puzzle board (versus three) or having them hand you the pieces while you tell them what the object is and place it in it's proper spot.  Then, as the get older or learn what you want from them you can add additional boards.

I love that B still has some learning to do with this activity.  At this point, he places the puzzle piece in the proper location about 90% of the time, but he still has to learn how to manipulate the piece so it will fit into it's proper location.

If all else fails, put the lid on and let them have fun playing with their new shaker!!

**I realize this activity requires you to own a few puzzles.  There may be alternatives, but I think purchasing a few wooden puzzles for your toddler is an excellent purchase.  You can order several varieties directly from Melissa and Doug or look at your local Marshall's and/or T.J. Maxx.  You can also find several of them on Amazon (Vehicles Chunky Wooden Puzzle Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle Dinosaur Chunky Puzzle etc.)

View Other Pre-Toddler Activites

Disclaimer:  The links in this post are affiliate links.


Casey Martinez said...

yet another great idea so thank you! We have a couple puzzles but, I think they are too complex for her age so I am going to look for one with half the amount of pieces. Love these posts!

Tiffany said...

These are great! :] Hunter and I have been using one puzzle without a container... I'm going to have to use the container (and add in another puzzle). I love finding treasures at TJ Maxx.

Sandy said...

What a great puzzle stretching idea! Michelle told me several years ago that sorting is a necessary foundational skill for primary academics.

If you didn't have wooden puzzles you could probably use a couple toys with individual parts (blocks, stacking doughnuts, etc.) or household items (empty vitamin or RX bottles, boxes of bar soap, etc.) to put in your big container for sorting. I like that the protein container is deep and opaque ....that definitely adds to the fun :-)

Young People in Love said...

AH! So cute and smart! Your blog is reason number a gazillion why I want a baby! So much to look forward to :)