I am thrilled to announce that I have joined the Guidecraft Educator team. In case you are not familiar with Guidecraft they are well known for their high-quality children’s toys and furniture. Each month I will be reviewing an item from Guidecraft and offering you an opportunity to win that item for your classroom from one of the members of our team.
This month we are featuring three sturdy wooden puzzles, the Hide ‘n Seek Shape Sorter, the See Saw Sorter, and the Primary Puzzle Board.
Importance of Puzzles in Preschool
Puzzles play a crucial role in any young child’s education both at home and at school by supporting the development of important cognitive skills necessary for future learning success.
Skills such as hand-eye coordination, spatial relationships, analyzing and solving problems as well as critical thinking are enhanced when children are given access to puzzles from a young age.
Children are also developing their fine motor skills when they use puzzles such as these by exercising the small muscles in their hands that will eventually be needed for holding pencils and crayons.
How to Use Puzzles in Preschool or Kindergarten
While these puzzles may seem a little young for most pre-k or kindergarten students let me tell you how I use them. First, I use these types of puzzles at the beginning of the year to assess my student’s ability levels and to determine what types of puzzles I should put out in my puzzle center.
Many preschool students may need to use puzzles such as these in the beginning of the year to become familiar with how puzzles work. I can also assess their fine motor skills by watching how they pick up and grasp the different three-dimensional pieces. Of course, if you work with special needs students or in a childcare setting these puzzles may be helpful all year long.
Another way I use puzzles such as these is during parent conferences. I don’t think it is fair to force parents to find childcare for their younger children to attend a parent teacher conference; it’s a financial burden for some. Therefore I have a baby and toddler friendly play space set up next to the area where I conduct my conferences. I spread a blanket on the floor and provide safe toys for the younger siblings to play with. Also, many of the toys in my classroom are not safe for children under the age of three so I try to keep the younger siblings contained in one area where the parents and I can keep an eye on them. Even if you conduct your parent conferences in a different room you will need some very durable toys to entertain the children and these Guidecraft puzzles are perfect.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary set of puzzles to review, I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are 100% my own.