Benefits of Riddles and Puzzles
Riddles and puzzles are extremely helpful to a child’s developmental journey – from physical and cognitive aspects to emotional and social aspects. The techniques and reasoning needed to solve riddles and puzzles stimulate children’s brains for more wholesome development. Toddlers begin their puzzling journey (no pun intended) with outlines of shapes fitting into corresponding cutout boards, working their way up towards more complex games and riddles. The last step is often very complex jigsaw puzzles or escape games where children must apply teamwork and problem solving to free themselves from a simulated situation.
The skills taught by puzzles and riddles can be divided into four broad categories:
Physical skills – holding puzzle pieces and turning them to make them fit
Emotional skills – learning patience and boosting self-esteem when they succeed
Cognitive skills – solving clues in the puzzle
Social skills – cooperation and teamwork in group games
These four skill categories are essential to building a well-rounded and well-adjusted human being. With these skills, a child will be able to handle real-life problems with ease, cooperate, be patient and figure out solutions to difficult situations. Isn’t that what every parent wants for their child?
Even after a child learns to walk and talk, there are many more physical manipulations and actions they pick up in early childhood. Some of the skills taught by puzzles include:
- Bilateral coordination – this is the concept of getting both sides of the body to cooperate towards a single goal, e.g. drawing a line using a ruler
- Hand-eye coordination – the child develops a relationship between what they see and what their hands are doing. They learn to guide their hands using their sight
- Gross motor skills – stacking puzzle games or manipulating large puzzle pieces enhances the larger movements of the child’s hands. Such manipulations strengthen the child’s hand and arm muscles
- Fine motor skills – includes small and precise movements like grasping, pinching, twisting, or picking and fitting small pieces to the right spots. These skills contribute to stronger hand muscles and better handwriting/typing skills
Cognitive skills are those related to building the intellectual capacity and intelligence of a child. They include such things as:
- Environmental understanding – puzzles and riddles can help a child to understand the world surrounding them. By manipulating simulations of the environment in games, they can extrapolate their knowledge to the real world.
- Spatial recognition – from puzzles applying simple shapes to complex jigsaw puzzles, fitting pieces together helps children to understand how things relate within spaces
- Memory – a child needs to remember the pieces of the puzzle so that they can use them later in the game. Older children need to remember clues that will come in handy later in the game
- Problem-solving – critical thinking and problem-solving, setting goals and strategizing are all necessary to solve even the simplest puzzles
- Vocabulary – riddles specifically can help increase a child’s command of language and sentence relationships. Certain games can also help to build vocabulary
Emotional and Social Skills
Emotional skills relate to helping a child to keep their feelings centered, even when they face a challenge when playing a game:
- Setting goals– setting goals and strategizing also helps to build a child’s emotional fortitude. Following through with their strategy builds courage and resilience
- Patience – learning to remain calm, retrace your steps, and work slowly through a problem builds patience
- Self-esteem– achieving their goals boosts their sense of self-worth and build confidence in their abilities, which will be needed to go through real-life situations
- Social skills – group puzzles invite children to work together towards a common goal. Such puzzles encourage cooperative play and allow children to support each other when facing challenges.
Encouraging Fun Learning
Children should enjoy their playtime, and having a variety of activities allows them to keep having fun. Learning through play is an essential building-block for children, and makes up an integral part of structured play activities.
Puzzles give adults (parents/teachers/caregivers) a chance to teach children without their realization that they’re learning. In this way, children who may not enjoy classroom learning get an opportunity to learn through play.
Done with Puzzle Pieces: What’s Next?
Once your child has mastered jigsaw puzzling, they may be hankering for something more challenging. Sure, you can make the puzzle pieces smaller and the scenes larger, but sooner or later you’ll have to get more creative to keep their attention.
Enter the world of escape room games.
Escape room games are simulated scenarios of things that could happen in real life (or in the movies), and they can provide exciting entertainment for pre-teens, teenagers, and even adults. There are varying levels of difficulty according to the age of the children, as well as different simulations/scenarios depending on your child’s interests.
For each escape room game, there are puzzles, riddles, and clues (both good and bad clues) to help the players escape the room within a given timeframe. These games encourage players to use logic, critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork to free themselves. The timeframe adds the adrenaline rush that gets the blood pumping. It’s like being part of a video game or movie instead of just handling the joystick or watching on TV. How much fun is that?!
Learning through playtime is a critical aspect of building a well-rounded child. From the time they are born, children start using play to experience the world around them, learn limits, and build their physical and psychological capabilities. You should have a variety of activities to keep your child engaged and teach them various life skills.
Use puzzles and riddles to help build your child’s cognitive and physical functions from the comfort of home or school. Every so often, you can change it up by visiting escape room games such as the ones offered at A/Maze. It’s also an excellent way to celebrate a birthday or entertain a group of kids hanging out in your home.
Try escape room games today; you won’t regret it!