Does your child know their tibia from their fibula? Puzzles can teach us so much about the world. For toddlers in particular, I love floor puzzles. They are big and chunky and promote movement.
Large floor puzzles can also be fantastic for colour recognition, language develepment and even mathematics (including counting). Most of all they are good for developing the child's sense of spatial relationships, visual discrimination, coordination and for building concentration. When used with a friend or sibiling, (or parent) they can help build collaborative skills. For a young toddler, they can also help with completing a cycle of activity. For example, choosing the puzzle from the shelves, taking it to the floor, doing the puzzle, packing it up and returning it to the shelves.
I love that floor puzzles promote movement, if you have a toddler who can't sit still they may be more interested in a floor puzzle than a table top puzzle, they have to move to do the puzzle! Floor puzzles take up more space and usually, you need a firm flat surface (some carpets are too soft).
I noticed a huge jump in Otto's (2yrs) puzzle-doing-skills once he started working on floor puzzles with his brother. At first the puzzles seemed above his ability but with repetition he become very familiar with and fast at doing them and this gave him confidence and now he can tackle and complete most large piece floor puzzles at around 20-30 pieces. As with all items in the first plane of development I like the puzzles to be as realistic as possible, based in reality and relevant to the young toddler.
Floor puzzles can make great gifts from family and friends. My go-to brands for floors puzzles are Melissa and Doug, Orchard and Tuzzles (an Australian brand).
Above Otis is with a Human Body Anatomy and a Skeleton Floor Puzzle (15 pieces). These are fantastic for children of all ages. The skeleton puzzle has the bone names printed on the back so it's so much more than a puzzle, it's an osteology and language lesson all in one. In the past, we've helped the child write labels and attach them to the body parts and bones. I love the size too, these are really big!
Above is the Giant Fire Truck Floor Puzzle (24 pieces). We started by doing these with Otto but after a couple of goes he could do them by himself.
This Going Places Floor Puzzle contains four puzzles each with twelve pieces. We love the transport theme but some of these pieces don't click in as well as with other puzzles. It is only a problem for the very young toddler. We started presenting these one at a time but now Otto can use them all at once and separate the pieces (they have a key on the back of them to make sorting easy).
Another Fire Engine Puzzle (20 pieces). This Big Tractor Puzzle (25 pieces) is one of Otto's all-time-favourite and absolutely his most used puzzle. The Big Tractor Puzzle has so much to look at, it's fantastic for young toddlers who are starting to point and name and to count! This one has been specifically designed so there are various things to count from apples, sheep, cats, pigs, cows and, eggs. It's great value.
We also like this Giant Road Floor Puzzle, it's useful when having a playdate and the children usually don't mind using it together and Otto always has little cars around to play on it. I would love to get the extension kit to make this one bigger.
I have a ton of floor puzzles on my wish list including:
- Turtle Floor Puzzle (18 pieces) - this looks gorgeous.
- Shark Floor Puzzle (72 pieces) - I love the detail on the shark, with the teeth and gills.
- Aboriginal Whale Floor Puzzle (48 pieces) - there are a few similar Aboriginal floor puzzles in this series and they are all visually stunning (Turtle and Kangaroo).
Let me know your favourites. I feel like we need to diversify our themes a little!! 😊
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