Jigsaw puzzles were created as an educational tool, so it should come as no surprise that they are a valuable resource in the classroom. Regardless of age, jigsaw puzzles teach hand-eye coordination, enhance spatial reasoning, and encourage problem-solving. As students get older, though, jigsaw puzzles often stay shelved and may make an appearance at indoor recess.
The Significance of Puzzles for Education
In 1760, cartographer John Spilsbury created the concept of the jigsaw puzzle we know and love today. Then called dissected maps, Spilsbury concocted the idea of placing a map on a piece of wood and cutting it into sections, thus developing a puzzle for educational purposes. Students used this puzzle to learn geography, which later expanded to other subjects such as history, botany, zoology, and the alphabet.
What is a Jigsaw Puzzle Good for in the Classroom?
Jigsaw puzzles used to be a vital resource in education and can have significant benefits in the classroom.
There are many health benefits to working on puzzles for all ages. Older adults are often encouraged to solve jigsaw puzzles for brain health, as they are a great aid for memory retention and fighting off dementia.
This benefits younger humans, too. No matter the age, puzzles are a great mental workout, stimulating both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Jigsaws are a low-stress activity that helps boost dopamine levels, while simultaneously enhancing problem-solving skills and big-picture visualization.
So remove the puzzle from the shelf, spread out the pieces, and encourage your students to participate.
3 Ways to Incorporate Jigsaw Puzzles in the Classroom
1. Create a calm environment
Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to relieve stress and chill out. Allowing students to have a space they can engage in this calming activity allows them to self-soothe, calm the mind, and refocus their efforts and thoughts.
2. Encourage team building
Whether it’s one class or multiple, having students work together on a jigsaw puzzle establishes a sense of community and encourages communication and collaboration. You can have multiple classes work on one jigsaw puzzle, or take it a step further by setting up multiple puzzles for each classroom and challenging them to see who can complete their puzzle first.
3. Occupy free time
For the students that finish their work early, having a puzzle available is a great way to fill up free time, keep them occupied, and away from the screen.
Puzzle Display Ideas
You can easily stick a completed puzzle back in the box to be used for another class. Blue Kazoo puzzle boxes are designed to show off. There are also a variety of puzzle storage options available if you have limited space.