Sunday, November 25, 2012
Puzzles Make Great Holiday Gifts
It's time to buy gifts for the holidays. When choosing gifts for the kids you care for quality is more important than quantity and certainly quality doesn't have to mean toys are expensive.
One of the best learning toys we can share with kids are puzzles. Not only are there many options and they can be inexpensive, they reinforce logic, critical thinking, visualization, creativity, and fine motor skills.
For all these reasons, kids who are good at puzzles will find their ability to gather information, assess a situation, and find a quick solution to a problem greatly sharpened. This will pay wonderful dividends in their academic, and later, professional career. Logically piecing the joints together and picturing the overall image can aid in creativity and memory. As a bonus, children seem to love puzzles and can enjoy doing the same one over and over again without growing bored.
And there are puzzles for every skill and age, not just classic wooden puzzles for toddlers.
Here are our suggestions fo nannies and au pairs to give to the kids in their care as gifts for the holidays:
1. Classic Peg Puzzles
The Fresh Start Peg Puzzles from Melissa & Doug are a colorful and intuitive way to help teach your toddler about colors, number, the alphabet, and more. The three educational puzzles included in this set are solid wood construction and feature vibrant colors and illustrations that your child will adore. Intended for children two to three years and older, these vibrant and durable puzzles help develop hand-eye, fine motor, and visual perception skills.
Learn Colors with the Fish Puzzle
Designed to help your child learn and match colors, the Fish puzzle features 10 adorable fish with a spectrum of different colors. In this puzzle, each peg can fit in each hole, allowing your child to first hone their hand-eye coordination before combining it with the ability to perceive and match similar colors.
Number Puzzle Helps Your Child Learn to Count
This 10-piece puzzle features large, removable pegs of numbers zero through nine to help promote number recognition and counting skills. Below each numbered peg is a bright illustration showing the same number of items as the numeral on the piece, making this puzzle great for telling stories or playing guessing games with your child.
Featuring 26 wooden pegs, one for each letter in the alphabet, this vibrant puzzle is ideal for helping to develop letter recognition and prereading skills. Beneath each colorful peg is a charming illustration of a word that begins with the same letter, like a basket under the letter "B." Slightly more advanced than the other two included puzzles, the Alphabet puzzle is designed help get your toddler on their way to comprehending letters as well as promoting hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
2. Nerdy Wordy
Nerdy Wordy is the ultimate crossword challenge game for kids seven-years-old and up. Two players take turns calling out letters and earn points by creating as many two to five letter words in the grid. Earn more points by thinking of words within a word. Great for vacation or travel as the two compartments snap tight for easy storage.
3. Wooden Labyrinth Puzzle
This is the classic game loved by all kids and adults about eight-years-old and up. Have kids test their skills and their patience as they turn the knobs to maneuver the steel ball through the maze. Includes wooden game board and two steel balls.
4. Rubik's Cube
With "43 quintillion" possible moves and only one solution, the Rubik's Cube has been challenging puzzle fans for children, teens, and adults (eight-years-old and up) for over 30-years. Erno Rubik, an admirer of geometry and 3-D forms creates the world's most perfect and addictive puzzle. Whether it was full size or the smaller keychain version almost every child had this puzzle by in 1980 when it found worldwide success. Elementary school kids were seen solving it with their feet on television shows, conspiracy theorists believed it was an Eastern bloc tactic to distract American youth from getting an education, and Cubaholics Anonymous was formally established to help cure the compulsive need to solve it.
For all of the hullabaloo, the Rubik’s Cube actually has a pretty straightforward premise. The faces of the cube are covered by nine stickers in six solid colors and when the puzzle is solved, each face is one solid color. This Rubik’s Cube has reflective red, white, blue, yellow, green, and orange colored stickers with an official twenty-fifth anniversary sticker in the center white square. The cube is packaged in a clear hexagon box and includes a black display stand. There is also a solutions hint and game suggestion book to help solve it.
The phenomenon of Sudoku is sweeping the nation. This well conceived version consists of two-sided tiles that make it easy to retrace your steps and complete the game,without pencils or erasers. A compartment in the back of the board allows for easy tile storage. Select one of 50 puzzles from the booklet and then get busy solving the puzzle. One hundred problems and Solutions are provided by Pappocom. The attractive package makes it a perfect gift. Sudoku is a one player game, for ages seven and up. Game set includes official 3-D game board grid, 81 double-sided number tiles, built-in tile storage compartment, and 50-puzzle booklet by Pappocom.
6. Oblo Puzzle Spheres
Oblo is the award-winning 3D spherical puzzle that challenges and inspires kids seven-years-old and up. Oblo is also an engaging, didactic puzzle ideal for growing midnds. It's a colorful layer of spheres that creates a compelling 3D puzzle. The initial discover of its parts happens when the puzzle is taken apart. The challenge is putting the spherical elements back together. The user must find the correct position for each piece to progressively build spheres within spheres. A fun way to introduce young minds to simple geometry. Develops motor skills and hand-eye coordination as well as engaging children's curiosity. Using both hands to manipulate the Oblo, it is used as a great preparation for learning to write and draw. Winner of the Industrial Design Excellence Award 2008. Winner of the Red Dot Design Award 2011.