It’s hard to get today’s kids to find any interest in board games. Most likely it’s because there aren’t any graphics involved.
My sister and I used to spend hours playing Trouble, Connect Four and Clue, just to name a few. When my kids are bored and I suggest to them that they should play a board game my 15-year-old responds with, “That’s boring! There’s a reason they’re called ‘bored’ games.”
So while at Wal-Mart the other day I decided to purchase a jigsaw puzzle in the hopes that it would be something fun to do together as family. In the past we’ve put together a couple of Star Wars jigsaw puzzles that my son had. They were time-consuming, yet satisfying once completed. We even put clear tape on them because my son wanted to hang them in his room but somehow during the move out here they fell apart and we never got around to putting them back together.
I found a jigsaw puzzle of a view of the Las Vegas strip at night. I figured we have an advantage seeing that we moved from there and know where all the hotel/casinos are located. When we are putting it together and trying to figure out where the piece of the Sahara Hotel and Casino goes we know it’s not next to the Rio Hotel and Casino.
It might take us awhile to complete it due to the business of our everyday lives such as school and work but it will be something to do during downtime and will be a much needed break from the daily grind.
The first jigsaw puzzle is believed to have been made in Europe in the 18th century, and although jigsaw puzzles can be great fun they are also excellent sources to train our brains. According to www.BrainHealthandPuzzles.com, jigsaw puzzles develop our ability to reason, analyze, sequence, deduce, think logically, process and problem solve. They improve hand-eye coordination and help develop a sense of spatial arrangements.
Jigsaw puzzles, or any puzzle for that matter, are often used as learning aids. If you go in any classroom you will find a variety of puzzles. They improve spatial coordination which is good for both children and elderly people.
The website www.takingcareofthefolks.com states that jigsaw puzzles can also help to sharpen memory. They can engage the brain to retain information on colors and shapes. When choosing the pieces that fit together the brain is required to memorize what the pieces look like or should look like therefore reinforcing the short-term memory. It also promotes synergy between the right and left brain.
The placement of the pieces and the completion of the puzzle encourage the production of dopamine which regulates mood and affects concentration and motivation. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle can also be a stress reliever. An article on www.ezinearticles.com states that just by adding 20 to 50 pieces of the puzzle a day will essentially help keep your mind off those things that are causing stress.
When my dad was in a Denver hospital dying there was a family waiting room that had several tables with jigsaw puzzles spread out. Our family, along with other families, would often escape to that waiting room to work on a jigsaw puzzle. It provided relief if only for a few minutes.
Here at home we will continue to work on our jigsaw puzzle until completion and then tackle our next one — a two-feet high, three-dimensional puzzle of the Eifel Tower!