Category Archives: Puzzles

Letter Puzzles (and on sale!)

I was just doing some birthday shopping and noticed a sale on one of our favorite learning tools.  I thought I’d hop on here to share real quick.

Nab ItI came across Nab-It in the store about a year ago and it has been such a valuable tool.  It is actually a game but I honestly have not even read the instructions and haven’t yet played the game as intended. I’ll get around to learning that soon hopefully.  We’re having enough fun with the pieces right now.

The game consists of 4 sets of letter puzzles, each a different color and each in their own drawstring bag. Each puzzle piece has a letter on both sides. Your little one will get used to looking on both sides for the desired letter. We have used them to practice the alphabet, spelling words, word families, and blends.

Amazon has Nab-It for sale right now.  If you’re in the market for a fun preschool tool that will double as a fun game when your little one is older, this would be great!

**photos from Amazon**

Homemade Sunbleached Puzzles

I came across this brilliant idea for sunbleached puzzles.  They were so easy to create and great entertainment (and practice) for a puzzle-lover. It was also a great little lesson in the sun’s effects.

I set out foam bath letters and numbers on dark construction paper and left them to sunbathe awhile on the deck.  J enjoyed watching the process, impressed by the magical results! We then brought it all inside to start putting it all together.  You can make this activity more difficult by adding extra foam letters to the choices.

This is great practice at letter recognition.  It’s also great way to help them learn how to spell their name, memorize their phone number or address. 

The link above used magnetic letters and shape blocks to create their puzzles.  You could also cut your own shapes out of colorful foam.

Hidden Puzzles

This is such a great idea that one of my online friends, Karen uses with her toddler. I asked her to share her great idea for all to enjoy.  If your toddler hesitates to pull out those puzzles, this is a great way to add some interest.  Thanks Karen!   

Not your same old boring puzzle….

Age attempted: 25 months

 Materials needed:
Shoe size clear plastic tub with lid (for storage)..I bought at dollar general for $1.00
Large bag of uncooked elbow macaroni
½ bag of dry beans
Puzzle of your choice (I use Melissa and Doug’s See-Inside Numbers Peg Puzzle http://melissaanddoug.com/see-inside-numbers-learning-peg-puzzle )

 Directions:
1. Pour the bag of noodles and ½ bag of beans in the tub
2. Pour out an age appropriate puzzle into the tub with mac and beans
3. Have the child hide the puzzle pieces in the mac and beans (or you can show them the first time)
4. Have the child find the pieces of the puzzle and put them into the puzzle board in the right places

I like to put the tub on a child’s table at the child’s reach and the puzzle board on the floor so it’s an up and down work out (but it’s not necessary).

I’ve been doing this with my two year old with a number puzzle he had ZERO interest in. I figured the tactile mac and beans would get him interested in learning his numbers and it was an instant success! We’ve only been doing this for two weeks and he can already find most of numbers in order.

The first time you do this you may want to let your little one explore the mac and beans before pouring in the puzzle pieces.

Alternative: use oatmeal and/or rice in the tub to hide puzzle pieces. 

Toddler Made Puzzles

Every now and then I’ll print out a scissor worksheet for J (just do searches on google and you’ll find lots of options).  It’s really good practice.  Using scissors requires lots of fine motor skills!  Honestly most of the worksheets are too hard for him at this point, but he enjoys them.  We really should practice this more often!

So J came up with this activity on his own.  One day he was having tons of fun cutting up one of the worksheets and went way beyond just cutting along the dotted lines.  He then announced that he had made a puzzle and I looked up to see him refitted all the pieces together! 

This has become one more activity he wants to do after scissor practice.  We mix up the pieces and he fits them back together like a puzzle. 

Age attempted: 34 months