Puzzles have been a classic toy for years. Chunky puzzles and Peg puzzles are great introductory puzzles for toddlers as young as 12 months of age. Chunky puzzles and peg puzzles are great at teaching children shape recognition as they attempt to fit the piece in the just right spot! Oftentimes as parents, we limit a toy’s use and purpose to just what the box instructions say, but what if we could take this toy and use it in a whole new variety of games, we'd tap into a whole new array of developmental benefits.
1. Unwrap the Tin Foil
Try taking some tin foil and wrap each individual puzzle piece with it until the pieces are covered
and unknown. Then, let the children unwrap each piece and solve the puzzle! This can work for
both peg and chunky puzzles and can bring a great deal of excitement and anticipation to this
toy, not to mention the fine motor work involved in unwrapping each piece.
2. Scrambled in a Bowl
Grab a bowl and scramble all the pieces inside. One by one, let the kids pick a piece out then
add it to the puzzle! This can add a new sense of curiosity to the game, as well as offer a great
opportunity for children to improve their patience and self-regulation skills.
3. Dig in the Sensory Bin
Fill a bin with different sensory objects and toys, as well as the puzzle pieces, and have the
children take turns digging into the bin to find the pieces. Sensory objects could be anything
from crumpled newspaper to a rubber duck. The opportunities are endless with this variation
and can work with anything you may have on hand! This can also improve a child’s problem
solving skills, and can help develop their ability to identify textures, sizes, and shapes!
4. Make a Scavenger Hunt
Play hide and seek with the puzzle pieces! Hide them inside and around the environment you’re
in and have the children seek out all the pieces until the puzzle has been completed! This
variation is very much open to all sorts of adaptations! Make rules like ‘the puzzle can only start
being solved once all the pieces have been found’, or make it so once the children have found
one piece, they must bring it back to the “meeting point” and start to build the puzzle one piece
at a time!
5. Play Pretend props
Let your child's imagination flow as they are challenged to think of other ways to use chunky puzzle pieces. Could each piece be a pizza slice? Maybe it’s a knight’s shield? It could even be a brand new pet! By giving children the opportunity to find different ways of using the puzzle pieces, this type of creativity could be encouraged in their own playtime, potentially resulting in them finding new ways to use their other toys too!
Chunky puzzles can be levelled up in more ways than we’d think. Consider all of the things
children enjoy doing and think about how many ways they can be combined together! If they
love arts and crafts, try making chunky puzzle art by taking some washable paint and using the
pieces as stamps! If they love dress-up, see if they can make a cool hat or a piece of armour out
of the puzzle! Chunky puzzles can also be used to tackle numerous types of developmental
goals. As seen above, anything can truly be focused on and improved by using this simple toy!
From a child’s problem solving skills, to their patience and self-regulation skills, these are so
many aspects that can be developed! So, let the creativity flow and see how many new ways
you can use these fun puzzle pieces!