Did your child receive some new puzzles for Christmas? Puzzles make the perfect gift for kids of all ages, but the Chunky Puzzle in particular (modeled by two adorable fans, below) is a great educational tool for 2-year olds. Acting as two toys in one, these puzzles feature thick, chunky wooden pieces that can fit into the puzzle board, or stand up on their own for pretend play!
As with many of our products, we have “Extension Activities”—or more ways you can play and learn with your child’s toy. Here are six of our favorites:
1) Use the puzzle as color identification practice! Help your child identify the colors on the puzzle pieces.
2) Ask your child to line up the pieces, and count them aloud together.
3) Place three or four pieces in front of the child. Ask the child to memorize the pieces, then to cover his/her eyes. Remove one piece from the child’s view. Ask the child to look at the remaining piece(s) and identify the piece that you removed.
4) Ask the child to remove pieces from the puzzle board by following clues that you give. For example, you might say, “Please remove the pink animal.” You also might say “Please remove, an animal that has wings.”
5) Remove the pieces from the puzzle and stand them up on a flat surface. Help the child make up a story using the puzzle pieces for pretend play. For example, perhaps today is the first day of spring, and the animals are playing in the farmyard. What will Happy the horse do? Which animals will run in the grass, or roll in the mud? Will they see any other animals nearby?
6) If your puzzle has animals in it, make each animal’s sound, and ask the child to point to the right animal and say its name as you “call” it.
What are your favorite ways to expand on your puzzle play with your child? Leave your play ideas in the comments below, or join the conversation on Melissa & Doug’s Facebook page!