Thursday, September 5, 2013

Teaching Word and Shape Recognition with Puzzles

The clutter-cruncher in me cringes a little bit each time my daughters receive gifts with a lot of pieces. 
Parents Puzzle Rack
If you live with pipsqueaks, you know how it is with pieces. 
You vacuum them.
You find them inside your shoes.
You absolutely step on them in bare feet every time you switch direction.

But when it comes to puzzles, the prize is, most definitely, worth the piece war. 

In After Hours Puzzlin' and Where in the World?- Teaching Geography, I described how I've been using puzzles to help teach our pre-schooler—but let's not forget the wee-est ones!
Lil' tots can absolutely learn from puzzlin' too!

Once my girls were able to correctly position puzzle pieces in their appropriate slots, I increased learning opportunities by incorporating word recognition. 

Write identification words on the back of each piece AND on the slot in front. 
teaching with puzzles
To up the ante, I flip all pieces upside-down, so that only their shape and identifying word can be seen. Then, I ask my two-year-old to find the triangle. When she locates the shape, I say and point to the word "triangle" on the back of the puzzle piece. When she places it into the slot, I point to and say the word written there as well. 

Double whammy!

Homegirls start learning to read without even knowing it!
teaching with puzzles
By writing the words on the backs of these pieces, kiddos also learn more advanced shape recognition—since the underside often lacks the bold color and design that matches the front.

Make puzzlin' extra fun with these simple tricks to engage and excite your lil' peanuts! You'll be stunned at how quickly even the youngest tots refine complex skills with these quick variations on puzzle play.

Try it out and prepare to be amazed. Those spongey little brains will eat this up!
Let us know how it goes.

Any other cool tricks to make puzzles even more challenging and exciting? Send them our way!
Have a day full of solutions, my friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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