Serious Brain Heath Part 3: Developing Brains, Active Minds

February 8, 2013 10:37 by rob

Early childhood is a pretty important time for a person [first understatement of 2013]. It's a time when much more than strengthening or sharpening skills is needed, children are currently in the process of developing all those skills! The more stimulation and interaction provided for these skills, the stronger their potential becomes.

 

SeriousPuzzles.com carries a wide selection of puzzles, games, and activities designed to engage the mind and strengthen these developing skills. Created by some of the most innovative and experienced minds in the market; they're full of fun from beginning to end, the fun just happens to be good for developing brains. The puzzles feature bright colors and visually exciting images to keep their attention, while larger and thicker pieces meet their motor skills on their level.

 

Assembling puzzles and playing with these interactive games helps to foster abilities like spatial recognition, attention and focus, as wells as encouraging positive feelings of achievement. It's entertainment with a benefit, both to growing minds and budding self-esteem!

 

Farm Sounds – Start puzzling early with this block puzzle filled with farm fun! The two pieces are cube pieces covered in half pictures of cheerful farm animals. When they are placed correctly in the included tray, the two pictures match up to show a Cow, a Pig, a Sheep, and more, but you'll also be rewarded with the sound that animal makes! (2 blocks, recommended for ages 2+)



 

Transport Trio – Chunky wooden pieces painted in bold colors interlock on top of each other within a sturdy wooden frame to form a playful and layered image of a jumbo jet, a car, and a sailboat. Not only does this help with spatial recognition as the child learns how the shapes fit, it also introduces sequencing. (8 pieces, recommended for ages 3+)



 

Spanish Alphabet (Alfabeto Español) – With bright colors and interactive sound, little puzzlers can learn the 27 letters of the Spanish Alphabet as well as a bit of simple vocabulary; engaging all the usual motor and visual recognition skills, this puzzle can play an effective role in early language development. (27 pieces, recommended for ages 3+)



 

Happy School Bus, Make 'Em Move – Just like in the song, the wheels on the bus go round and round! The fun here is just beginning when the puzzle is completed; you can turn the bus wheel like it's really rolling along, spin the soccer ball, and even make the skateboarder flip! (24 pieces, recommended for ages 4+)



 

I Learn: To Add & Subtract – This puzzle set includes several basic jigsaws that incorporate the flash card method for teaching basic arithmetic. Their clever design also shows concrete examples for the math with visual representations that are laid out as the puzzles are pieced together.

 

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Read Rob's other Brain Health Blogs:

 

Serious Brain Health Part 1: Is a Healthier Brain Just a Checkmate Away?

Serious Brain Health Part 2: Puzzling Makes Brain Health Not So Puzzling


Serious Brain Health Part 2: Puzzling Makes Brain Health Not So Puzzling!

December 12, 2012 22:55 by rob

Who doesn’t want improved neurological health, better cognitive performance, higher mental aptitude… You know, get a better brain box and stuff! 

There are a wide range of products and activities that make an even wider range of claims on how they’ll whip your noggin into shape. However, there is some dispute over whether their efficacy is exaggerated and the accuracy of results from testing and scoring these various fields of cognitive ability.

What is known, and this knowledge is reinforced by this contested field with experts and scientists arguing from all sides, is that that human brain is a complex muscle, an intricate organ, a practically magical spongy ball of smarts that we are still coming to understand. Keeping this still mysterious tool active and engaged is not a bad thing; definitely not detrimental to health or ability, on that we can all agree. Even if certain products won’t raise your IQ to Einstein levels, even if some tests are only narrowly applicable, keeping your brain engaged is definitely a positive!


While software and interactive programs have become increasingly popular – and hotly contested over their claims – in recent years, there have always been activities that keep the mind sharp. Last time we discussed the merits of Chess, and this week we come to jigsaw puzzles. [If you missed Part 1, click here to catch up!]

Jigsaw puzzles have been the gym equipment of the brain for decades, and there is substantial evidence that they help maintain, if not in fact improve, mental well-being. Jigsaws are more than just shaped pieces that interlock to form a completed picture, they are PUZZLES that challenge our brains! They challenge our shape recognition and our spatial intelligence, they stimulate fine motor skills and encourage creative thinking, they require focus and a developing ability to problem solve while exercising both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Through exercising these skills, the brain is strengthened via its natural process of attempting to increase efficiency in a repeated activity.

At Serious Puzzles we offer a huge variety of products under the Jigsaw Puzzle umbrella, and below are just some of the ones that fit the more standard definition. Jigsaws can incorporate a lot of additional aspects and factors, but that shouldn’t undercut the effectiveness of what is commonly understood as a jigsaw puzzle.


Heavenly Peace – Featuring art by James Meger, this puzzle depicts a charming winter scene with beautiful fallen snow, curious wildlife, a cozy cottage, and a traditional Christmas theme. Its 1500 piece count offers a significant step up from the challenge level of the average jigsaw, and like all Sunsout puzzles it was made in the USA.


Cookie Cutouts – This cheerfully colorful collection of Christmas cookies boasts a 2000 piece count and repeating patterns of designs and colors for a serious challenge with a seasonal flair. A reissue of a classic puzzle image, this puzzle is perfect for sharpening the mind on a cold winter’s night or in a warm, cookie-smell filled kitchen! As with all Springbok puzzles it was made in the USA.


Coral City – Piece yourself away to a magical underwater kingdom through this beautifully blue jigsaw puzzle featuring artwork by the beloved Fantasy artist, Ciro Marchetti. The heavy use of blue shades strengthens the challenge of this jigsaw, while the 1000 piece count offers accessibility to most puzzlers. Spiel Spass puzzles are made in Germany


Double Retrospect – Keith Harings recognizable artistic style pairs with a monstrous piece count to form the Guiness World Record holder for largest jigsaw puzzle, though it’s more like a jigsaw wall or a puzzle mural! If you don’t think you’re up for breaking the World Record of 1000+ completed jigsaws, you can at least get a feel for record breaking puzzling by completing this epic project. Get ready for a brain workout! This is like the marathon of jigsaw puzzling!
 

Whether they feature an epic size or complex imagery or feel more along the lines of the standard fare, jigsaw puzzles will always exercise the most important muscle we’ve got. Take your pick, the choices are numerous, and introduce some brain-strengthening fun to your life or even into this Holiday Season’s gift giving!