Are Jigsaw Puzzles Educational?
Many companies advertise their products as being educational. How much of this terminology is sales promotion and jargon, and how much is fact?
As an educator for many years, I can say with authority, that there is educational value in all types of jigsaw puzzles. The skills acquired and practiced in completing jigsaw puzzles are a foundational part of successful learning. Doing jigsaw puzzles develops several functions of the brain simultaneously as a child has fun and also learns. Most notably developed in this learning process are the abilities to reason, deduce, analyze, sequence, and develop logical thought and problem solving skills. Physically, ...view middle of the document...
Their focus on the states and where they fit is limited to the process of completing the puzzle.
In order to maximize the educational value of a jigsaw puzzle, it needs to part of the learning process, but not all of it.
Children have different styles of learning and an advantage of a jigsaw puzzle is that it does involve using more than one type of learning aptitude in the process of completing it.
The most obvious learning style for a puzzle is the visual. In doing a puzzle of the USA the child will see the overall shape and also how the various states fit together to complete the whole. Jigsaw puzzles involve both the global (big picture) and analytic (details) aspects of learning. Puzzles are also good for the kinesthetic tendencies of learners. Kinesthetic learners learn best by practical hands on activities. For those with a auditory preference in learning, conversation about the learning and the correlations in the puzzle combined with the overall learning objectives, needs to happen at the same time as the puzzle is being done.
However the greatest educational benefit comes when the jigsaw puzzle is done as part of the overall learning objective. A jigsaw puzzle can be used to introduce a new subject as well as reinforce learning that has already occurred. The educational value increases to the extent that the subject of the puzzle is meaningful to the knowledge the child already has. To the degree that the child can...