You may only be able to dream about starting seeds (though it will be here before you know it!). The days are still dark and cold. And the kids are… bored. New holiday toy fun has worn off… and it’s back to school too! Perhaps the kids are going crazy from being coop up indoors because of the wet, cold weather (or starting to drive you that direction a bit…). What are parents to do?
It seems like a puzzle. But perhaps a puzzle is the answer. As a child, one of my fondest winter memories was working alongside my mom on puzzles. Sometimes I would help her with her puzzles once I was older. But often she would give me a smaller puzzle set on the floor or table next to her while she worked on hers. For hours and hours and hours, a few minutes here, a few there, we did puzzles.
Puzzles have many benefits for both adults and kids. Concentration, spatial awareness and reasoning, focus and concentration – but unlike other brain challenging activities, research shows puzzles let you rest your mind while working out your brain. No wonder so many folks find the challenge of puzzles relaxing!
So, for a family needing some indoor wintertime relief, here are a few great ways to take advantage of puzzles!
1. Pre-Bed Routine
When I was a kid, this was my mom’s winter go to. A warm cup of tea, and thirty or so minutes of puzzle time before bed many nights. Sometimes I worked on with her on her puzzle, sometimes I worked on my own puzzles, and sometimes I just played Legos at her feet in between helping (and not so helping!) her! It helped all of us gear down for bed without just sitting in front of the TV!
2. Cold Rainy Day Blues
If the kids need a quiet time because mom and dad need a break, but they can’t go outside, having a stash of puzzles is a great way to deal with a cold or rainy day. Just give them a simple, clean snack (so they don’t make the puzzles messy or damage them!) and a spot to work for a while.
3. Keep a Little One Busy During School
Since we homeschool, the almost three-year-old can sometimes pose a problem if both mom and dad are busy. But he is also the perfect age for simple puzzles! We use puzzles as part of a rotation of toys, games, and activities that don’t just keep him distracted, but help him develop a foundation of skills – both mental and motor – that he will need as he continues to grow.
4. Family Time
Larger, more complicated puzzles are a wonderful parent with child or family activity. When I was younger, we even framed a few of our family’s favorite puzzles once completed and glued to celebrate and make the memory more permanent. Having a “puzzle” night provides another option alongside books, board games, and card games, helping keep all the different activities fresh and enjoyable for everyone.
Editor’s Note: Happy National Puzzle Day! Shop Lehman’s full selection of puzzles here.