My kids love puzzles. We have, I don’t know, two dozen, maybe 3 dozen puzzles? About a third of them are flat with the pieces fitting within the frame. About a third of them are 24 piecers inside a 5″ x 5″ x 2″ cardboard box. There are a few miscellaneous sizes, and then the remainder are 100 piecers in that same 5″ square box.
Several years ago, I got into the habit of putting a CODE on the back of each piece. Someone had given us a few puzzles, and I noticed that they were labeled on the back. What a great idea, I thought. Admittedly, it may be tedious to label those 100 pieces…
…but thank goodness, I do.
Pete, now, has decided he loves puzzles too.
And he knows where they are.
And he can open the door.
Of course, he doesn’t know how to put them together. And those cardboard boxes can be a bit difficult for a 20 month old to open. But no matter.
The fun, you see, isn’t in assembling the puzzle. That requires time, effort, fine motor skills, and thought processes above and beyond the capabilities of his little mind. No, he finds it vastly more amusing to rip open those pesky boxes and dump the contents in a heap about him. And to a toddler, 7 or 8 hundred puzzles pieces piled about you (plus their cardboard containers) has an effect similar to being buried in sand at the beach. Cool!
And so, when I spend an hour taping boxes and sorting pieces and counting to see if they’re all there when I had really planned that time to cleaning out the walk-in
junk pile pantry, I can not but be thankful for that acquaintance who gave me coded puzzles and sparked a habit that years later would pay off big time.