The Surprising Mental Benefits of Puzzles

The Surprising Mental Benefits of Puzzles

Nearly everyone knows what a jigsaw puzzle is: a cardboard sheet with an image printed onto it, then cut into many interlocking pieces. These pieces often have cavities and knobs on them to fit together snugly, and when a puzzle is finished, it will form a square or rectangle and show the entire image. This can be a lot of fun for kids and adults alike, and puzzles vary in how many pieces they have for different challenge levels. 300 piece puzzles, for example, may have relatively large pieces in them, and 300 piece puzzles may be just fine for kids who are getting into puzzles. Moderately difficult puzzles or tough puzzles won’t be those easy 300 piece puzzles, though; they may be 500 pieces jigsaw puzzles instead, or even a 1000 pc puzzle. And if someone is looking for a super-level challenge, he or she may try their hand with an impressive 2000 piece puzzle.

What’s more, while puzzles are fun and challenging to play with, they also have some serious mental benefits for the young and old alike, and even Alzheimer’s patients can get some good out of them. Puzzles involve all kinds of relevant skills such as motor skills (physically moving the pieces into place), spatial awareness, problem solving, intuition, and more. Puzzles can be good “brain food” for kids for these and more reasons, like 300 piece puzzles. What else is there to know about fun puzzles?

Puzzles In General

It could be said that the oldest known puzzle was a dissection of a square that Archimedes mentioned back in 250 BC, but the first modern puzzles came around during the early 1800s or so. At the time, kids in England could play with wooden puzzles that, when assembled, formed a map of the British Empire. Puzzles kept developing since then, and by the early 1900s or so, we got the puzzles we know today. Modern puzzles are made of cardboard sheets cut into pieces, as mentioned above, and they can vary based on piece count and the image. Both of those factors affect how tough a puzzle may be to complete, since a larger count puzzle offers many more pieces to work with, and the pieces tend to be smaller. On top of that, the image may be more homogeneous in color and appearance to make the puzzle tougher. While many puzzles have distinct subjects in the completed product, some may show an open blue sky with just a few wispy clouds to make for a real challenge.

Puzzles are convenient as products since they are easily affordable, easy to store in their box, and don’t need electricity. A person could easily collect a few puzzles, or even a lot of them, and assemble their favorite ones. Puzzles can be easy ones for kids, or tougher ones for adults who want a little challenge.

What about the mental benefits of puzzles, as mentioned before? For one thing, puzzles can be a fine group experience, especially larger ones that may take a long time to complete for one person acting alone. This can be a fine way to teach cooperation and group efforts to kids, and it’s a fine way to pass time without using electronic screens. Puzzles also teach coordination and problem solving to kids, and that’s an important part of any child’s mental development. Not to say that a jigsaw puzzle will turn a child into a genius, but puzzles involve a lot of crucial areas for a child’s development, and they can be fun for the child and provide a way to spend some time. This way, it’s mental and exercise that doesn’t even feel like work at all.

Adults don’t need mental training, but staying sharp and mentally fit may do them some good with puzzles or other related activities. It isn’t strictly “kid stuff”; the mental benefit are for everyone. Even Alzheimer’s patients may benefit from puzzle solving, since logic problems and puzzles of all kinds can engage their brains and help slow down the progress of that disease. This isn’t to suggest that puzzles are a cure Alzheimer’s, far from it, but mental stimulation such as puzzles and healthy social lives can provide medicine-free ways to slow down Alzheimer’s progress.

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