10 November 2011

How do you start a jigsaw puzzle?

My daughter is nearly three years old. Her play school teacher told me that she was good at puzzles. I assumed that she meant any sort of jigsaw puzzle and so went and bought her a 300 piece pokeimon puzzle.

I assumed it wouldn't be a problem.

I realized that the type of puzzles the teacher had talked about are the ones especially designed for children.

Oops.

Not to worry.

I did the puzzle myself, then took bits out and ask my daughter to put them back in. I showed her how to turn the bits in her hand and then I showed her how to look for similar colors to see how two jigsaw pieces would fit together.

On subsequent occasions she'd empty the box of pieces on the floor, her signal that she wanted some attention and so I'd spend the first few minutes putting all the pieces puzzle side up.

And then, instead of starting with the frame, I'd find similar pieces, part of a face as an example and put them together. And then work outwards from there. And in the meantime I'd give her pieces to put in. I'd put the piece near where it fit in, usually oriented right way around. Sometimes she's get it wrong, but I'd show her and then she'd study it for a bit and either put it in or ask for my help. I then would show her how the piece went in and then take it out for her to do herself.

She's not nearly at the stage where she could put the whole thing together but she is progressing rapidly.

And I'm learning different ways to start a jigsaw puzzle.

It's kind of fun because each time I try to start of differently, and once I've flipped all the pieces right way up, then reflipped them right way up again after Elizabeth has walked through them all, then I let the first piece to catch my eye be my starting point.

Sometimes I try to proceed in a logical row by row or column by column manner reminiscent of eating a box of dad's oatmeal cookies one row at a time and at other times I focus on completing one well defined area of the jigsaw puzzle before moving on (either Doreimon or his friends).

The last thing I think of is starting with the straight edges and the frame.

It's kind of interesting because all the "frame" has are well defined edges. Jigsaw pieces with one flat edge are easy to locate and relatively easy to put together.

However, by looking for "well defined" other pieces, pieces with colors that stand our or other strong features, those pieces are just as good a starting point as working from the frame inwards. And it's kind of fun too.

Another interesting challenge is seeing how fast I can proceed. Sometimes Elizabeth gets bored. I'll often be nearly done with the puzzle when she decides that it is time to put the puzzle away.

She takes as much delight in taking the puzzle apart as she does in putting it together.

Aaagh.

Oh well.

I can always look for a new way to do the same puzzle.