Are you struggling with thinking of a Christmas gift your little one will play with for more than 10 minutes before boredom strikes? Are you getting peeved with getting bamboozled by all these ridiculously gimmicky Christmas presents which require a bajillion batteries?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas presents, but quite frankly, I don’t want a tonne of brain-numbing toys exploding onto our floor this Christmas. But what I do want is….a good old fashioned jigsaw puzzle.
Truth be told, we have a bit of a love affair with jigsaw puzzles in this house at the moment. It started with two piece Farmyard set from Orchard Toys at 18 months, and we’ve never looked back since. In a year of our toddler being absolutely fixated with them, I have come to love these often over-looked ways of entertaining and developing our little tykes. And so I am holding the banner high now, and telling you to go forth, and reclaim the jigsaw puzzle as your Christmas gift of choice for the following reasons!
1. They keep your children better entertained than flashing lights and noises
Let’s face it, when you have seen a few lights, pressed a few buttons and heard a few songs – the holy trinity of most toys on offer – the show is over. The beauty of jigsaw puzzles is that while most toys only touch on very basic problem solving skills – if at all – jigsaw puzzles take problem solving to the next level and far beyond by helping our little would-be cherubs to hone their logic, develop critical thinking and memory, enhance visualization and power up their creativity. Extra brownie points for the fact that the reward they get when they solve a jigsaw puzzle is much better than any flashing light and noise combo!
2. They go the extra mile
Unlike many other toys, jigsaw puzzles take persistence and practice to get them right. This means that while other toys have been long discarded because they have already been figured out, jigsaw puzzles will see strong-headed little ones returning to them countless times, until they have absolutely mastered them. That means months and months and quite possibly dare I say it, years! of mileage – but more importantly hours and hours of relative peace for parents as little ones tackle the challenge of completing and mastering puzzles.
Pictured above – Giant Alphabet Puzzle from Orchard Toys
3. Learning the fun way
We all know we are supposed to be supporting the learning of literacy and numeracy in our little’uns but quite frankly, in these busy lives we lead, it can sometimes be difficult to have the headspace to find fun and creative ways of doing that. Thankfully there are some great educational jigsaw puzzles out there which focus on teaching ABCs and 123s, and I am a huge fan of the ones by Orchard Toys which encourage counting, literacy and discussion.
The huge One, Two, Three puzzle is a great one for keeping fraggles entertained time and time again, as they happily count to the top of the tree spotting and counting the funky animals along the way. Likewise, the Giant Alphabet puzzle is such a fun and colourful way of learning the alphabet and associated words. Extra points scored for the fact that the puzzles comes with some super handy hits of discussion points, plus questions for parents to ask sproglets to maximise the learning experience (so you don’t have to try and rack your already tired brain for something useful to say).
4. Helping your child get the hang of the small stuff
Let’s face it, the quicker our munchkins can hone their fine and gross motor skills, the easier all our lives will be. Jigsaw puzzles are a great way of developing their finger muscles and dexterity (think less dropping of everything, everywhere; and being able to hold a pencil!). And so ultimately, they’re not just a great gift for them…but also you!
**Looking for a Christmas present that won’t end up in the charity shop heap? Check out the full range of educational jigsaw puzzles from Orchard Toys here. Puzzles range from £5.25-£13.95.**
*This post is in collaboration with Orchard Toys. All opinions are my own.