Jigsaw Puzzle your way to a fit mind

I was born into a jigsaw puzzle loving family. My childhood memories include vivid flashbacks of school holidays spent tackling difficult puzzles. If memory serves me right the most iconic puzzle we did (my mum, the sisters and I, my brother was more content with climbing trees) was a 10,000 piece puzzle featuring wild horses on some mountain. That puzzle was both infuriating and exhilarating, nothing tops the satisfaction of filling in your last piece.

Over the last few months, I have gone back to my roots, completing eight puzzles over a three months time span. Number Nine an is now loading, my sisters Christmas gift that I have borrowed.

Work is in progress, as usual get the boundary over and done with first.

Whilst puzzling can be seen as a hobby or a fun activity to pass time, it is know to have key benefits for the mental wellness and agility.

Benefits for Kids:

If you have ever had to baby sit three kids under the age of 7, you will know this is not an easy task. Over the last school holiday, I introduced my sister’s kids to jigsaw puzzles.

The result, amazing! I have found a perfect activity to keep them busy and quiet for about 30 to 40 minutes. Jokes, aside, it was beautiful to see them slowly understand the concept “shapes, colors and fitting”. It was fascinating to see how each child figures the puzzles out. Did I mention two of the kids are fraternal twins, however, one seemed to latch very quickly to the color technique (find the right piece based on the color) while he other seemed to gravitate more on the shapes, (getting the concept of the boundary pieces and identifying the three versus two heads/holes pieces much faster).

And just as I did in my childhood, completing the last piece was such a privilege that the kids would hold on to the last pieces and a fight always ensued over whose turn it is to have the honor of placing the last iconic piece in place.

All in all, this activity was of great benefit to all, more specifically:

  • A cost friendly activity to keep children engaged;
  • A learning experience that improves eye and hand coordination;
  • A mental exercise that improves cognitive and problem solving skills;
  • An off the screen way to pass time in this digital world.

Benefits for Adults:

I will focus on the benefits I personally relate to:

  • A great off the screen way to pass time in this digital world;
  • A calming, stress relieving activity that brings me into a focused but Zen state;
  • A mental activity that keeps my mind sharp as I age;
  • A happy state of mind, when you complete your first puzzle and every next one, you will understand this feeling.

I hope have inspired someone to take on a puzzle challenge this year. So what are you waiting for? Let’s puzzle away….

Where I get my puzzles (I am currently based in Nairobi – Kenya, so these are location centric).

  • Toy World @ ABC Place or Yaya Centre
  • Amazon.com and ship them in using Mall for Africa
  • Any Toy shop when I travel abroad
  • Second hand puzzles (Toi market, Adams Arcade)

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