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Same Old Puzzles, Brand New Fun

I've been on this kick for simplicity. Mostly I'm just all over the place when it comes to parenting/teaching/wifing/blogging/life in general so sometimes I'm way over the top and then sometimes I'm reminded that if I feel like I'm losing my mind, I'm allowed to make a change. [Can I get an amen?!]

So we're gearing up for spring by diving into all things GARDEN and I happened to find this beautiful puzzle in the clearance section at TJMaxx yesterday. Can we say MEANT TO BE?! There are exactly ONE MILLION THINGS you can do with a fun puzzle like this. Did you know that?! I won't list all one million for you, but I'll start you off with the three we did today:

1. Hide and Seek
First, I hid the pieces of the puzzle around our little library room. The kids got SUCH a kick out of this. Of course you will know how difficult to make your hiding spots but mine were pretty much in plain view and my kids still needed help. Beckett asked to do this three times and I'm pretty sure puzzles will forever require a search and rescue step first.

2. Word Match
I'm a big fan of flash cards. I know there's a whole movement out there where flash cards are the epitome of lame but WHATEVER MAN. It's my party and I'll flash card if I want to.

So I whipped up these bad boys, because I'm ALSO a big fan of computer creating + lamination. However, this would work JUST as well if you wrote these words neatly on index cards. And your kids could not care less.

Once Buck & Chuck found all of the pieces and put the puzzle together, Beckett chose animals from the puzzle, one at time, and matched them to an index card. He used the puzzle itself to help clue him in when he didn't know the word. You may not know this, but this is a FABULOUS skill for kiddos to practice! We want them using their resources (in this case, his puzzle) to answer questions and solve problems. Once all of the puzzle pieces were matched with their flash cards, Buck & Chuck worked together to reassemble the puzzle.

3. Word Recognition
Finally, I challenged Beckett to read the flash cards, using the photos as a sort of answer key. He thought this was totally boring and we didn't make it all the way through, but I still stand by the concept: I placed the assembled puzzle on the floor for him to reference while he read through the cards. After your kiddo has done the word matching enough times, they will start associating the puzzle pieces with the words, and hopefully be able to read them! Imagery is a POWERFUL learning tool, so pairing mental images like this is a great way to learn to recognize new words!

That's it! Super simple, low-prep, no mess fun! What do you think? Do you have puzzles like this at home that you can turn into a new adventure? We'd love to hear from you! Join our BOOK conversation here!

2 comments on "Same Old Puzzles, Brand New Fun"
  1. As usual, so many great ideas!! :) I don't think I'll ever be able to pass up a clearance puzzle again now that I know all the fun you can have with them!