Bond With Your Grandchild Over a Jigsaw Puzzle and Heartfelt Conversations

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Is there anything more relaxing than a jigsaw puzzle? Whether doing one by yourself or with a loved one, puzzles are an entertaining and satisfying activity that keeps your mind – and your eyes – sharp. I have found that puzzles are not only fun to do alone but excellent for bonding, especially if you’re doing one with your grandchild! 

What are you waiting for? Grab your grand and some snacks, and get ready to chat and bond over a jigsaw puzzle:

Cognitive and social benefits of puzzle-solving

Putting a jigsaw puzzle together

You know that doing puzzles keeps your mind active, but it can also do wonders for old and young minds alike! Here’s why:

Enhances memory

Puzzle-solving stimulates the brain’s production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps improve memory and concentration. (I can sure use more of all of the above!)

Problem-solving skills

Puzzles require you to take different approaches to solve them, promoting flexible thinking and creativity.

Improves visual-spatial reasoning

Puzzles, especially jigsaw puzzles, require you to consider where each piece fits into the larger picture, improving visual-spatial reasoning.

Increases IQ

A study at the University of Michigan found that adults can increase their IQ by four points after spending 25 minutes a day puzzle-solving. Even I have time for that!

Improves mood

Solving puzzles helps increase dopamine production, improving mood and feelings of optimism.

Promotes cooperation and teamwork

When puzzles are solved in a group, they encourage collaboration and build social bonds.

Enhances communication and language skills

Discussing strategies or sharing thoughts while solving puzzles can help improve communication skills and language development.

Selecting age-appropriate puzzles

Jigsaw puzzle at the table

You don’t need me to tell you that different ages require different skill levels! However, it can be hard to gauge between closer age groups, so I am including this handy guide:

Toddlers (1-3 years)

Choose large-piece puzzles with simple, recognizable pictures. These can often have knobs for easy gripping.

Preschool (3-5 years)

For this age group, look for puzzles with more pieces (around 10-50) and more complex pictures.

School-age (5-12 years)

At this stage, kids can handle puzzles with 50-500 pieces, depending on their individual skill level. Themes that match their interests can keep them engaged.

Teenagers (13+ years)

Teenagers can tackle adult puzzles ranging from 500 to several thousand pieces. 3D puzzles and complex logic puzzles can also be good choices.

Conversation prompts

Two children putting together a puzzle

Ask about strategies

“What’s your strategy for solving this puzzle?” or “Why did you decide to start from that corner?”

Discuss the image or theme

“What do you like about this picture?” or “If you could be in this scene, what would you be doing?”

Talk about feelings and experiences

“How do you feel when you can’t find a piece you’re looking for?” or “Do you remember the first puzzle we completed together?”

Encourage future planning

“What kind of puzzle should we try next time?” or “Would you like to pick our next puzzle?”

Share personal stories

“This puzzle’s image reminds me of a story from when I was your age. Would you like to hear it?”

Do you want even more conversation starters? There’s more where those came from!

A few of my favorite puzzles

Melissa & Doug Wooden Peg Puzzle 6 Pack 

Where were Melissa and Doug toys when our kids were little? While you cannot go wrong with any of their wooden, heirloom-quality pieces, my younger grandkids love the educational puzzles.

Coogam Wooden Blocks Puzzle

Do you remember Tetris on the computer? This is the same concept and one that my middle elementary-aged grandkids enjoy! 

500 Pieces Puzzle for Adults

If you are doing a beautiful and in-depth puzzle with your older grandkids, choose one that is pretty enough to frame.

Are you already planning your puzzle night with your grandkids? I can’t wait for the next one! If you have one soon, please let me know – and as always, enjoy those grandbabies!

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