Guess what we did this past summer (apart from swimming, cricket and barbecues)?
2016/17 will be known as The Summer of the Jigsaw in our house and it’s likely that it will also be the Easter Holidays of the Jigsaw. And in case you’re wondering, it’s not because I declared a tech-detox or a ban on all devices and screens…
Last year, Grade 3/4 teacher, Miss Murray, set up a big, complex jigsaw on a table in the corner of the classroom. My daughter talked about the progress of the jigsaw often and I soon learnt that the kids could work on it when they’d either finished their work, had free-time or simply needed some ‘quiet time’.
With that in mind and the weather forecast indicating a stretch of very hot days (meaning January beach time would be limited), I wandered into Kmart to find a puzzle. They had dozens and at just $6 for a 1500 piece jigsaw, I figured there wasn’t much to lose.
Fast forward three days. The puzzle was complete and all four of my children (including the teenagers) had worked on it together. Without fighting. ‘Together’ as in co-operating and working toward a common goal. Who knew the power of the puzzle? (I guess they knew in the 70s which is why I got one every Christmas…).
Anyway, we’ve become jigsaw-addicts. It’s difficult to walk by an incomplete jigsaw and not spend a few minutes looking for a particular piece. I may or may not have worked on the puzzles after the kids have gone to bed, only to greet them in the morning with “Look at the bit I completed!”
As an added bonus to our summer fun, there are recognised learning benefits in completing jigsaws – there are the obvious problem-solving skills, as well as using the abilities to reason, deduce, sequence, and develop logical thought. Puzzles involve both the global (big picture) and analytic (details) aspects of learning. It’s also a fine-motor skills, hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness frenzy. And, when you’re marshaling a family of six around a 1500 piece puzzle, project-management skills are required.