Jigsaw puzzles are hardly a new phenomenon. The oldest known is a dissection of a square mentioned by Archimedes around 250 BC. But they appeal to people of all ages and have stood the test of time. For hundreds of years, jigsaw puzzles have provided countless hours of enjoyment and are still seen as a great, peaceful way to pass the time.
For as enjoyable as jigsaw puzzles are, they also have numerous benefits. In fact, the brain makes the most connections among its cells before a child turns 10. Children playing with jigsaw puzzles learn many important lessons and development mentally from them. The benefits of puzzles on children include:
- Cognitive development
- Problem solving
- Hand/Eye coordination
- Fine motor skills
- Self esteem
- Social skills
While puzzle building has numerous positive effects on children, it also can be beneficial for adults. Research has shown that those who build jigsaw puzzles keep their minds active, have a better quality of life and reduce chances of developing any number of serious mental illness issues later in life.
Movement gets the brain going and an active body makes for an active brain, so hands-on learning like puzzle making is a great way to keep the brain active. Furthermore, research has shown that puzzles cause the brain to produce dopamine, helping people relax and evoking good feelings when a person is engaged in puzzle building.
There are plenty of other mental benefits to puzzle building, but here are five reasons why puzzle building makes for a great hobby.
- Numerous options: Do you enjoy looking at pretty landscapes? Are you a fan of animals? Do you love comic books and superheroes? Whatever your interests may be, there’s a good chance there’s a puzzle or multiple puzzles with that theme. Whether you like an easy puzzle or want to challenge yourself with 2000 piece puzzles, there’s any number of themes. A basic Amazon search brings up more than 20,000 results for jigsaw puzzles, so the only limit is your imagination.
- Challenges: Want to put together a poster-sized version of Superman? Eager to construct a starry sky? Ready to try building 2000 piece puzzles? Whatever you love easy puzzles or difficult puzzles, there’s something for everyone. Maybe you’ve mastered 500 piece or 1,000 piece puzzles and want to challenge yourself. There’s plenty of 2000 piece puzzles available or if you’re even more daring, there are even bigger puzzles. Another Amazon search reveals a 32,000 piece puzzle of the New York City skyline and a 40,000 piece Disney puzzle. To paraphrase Apple, no matter your skill level, there’s a puzzle for that.
- Keeping goals: Puzzles can be tons of fun, but they can be challenging too. Maybe you’re tackling a puzzle that’s got a few hundred pieces of a solid color. Dealing with a puzzle like that can be daunting, but puzzle building teaches the important lesson if sticking with something. No matter how challenging a puzzle may be, attacking it piece by piece, a little a time will ultimately have you completing it and you’ll good about yourself when you do.
- They’re Fun: Puzzles may help with learning and brain function, but above all else they’re just plain fun. If you’ve got a puzzle you think looks fun, it’s going to keep you involved in the building process. Maybe you’ve got a strategy for puzzling building, whether it’s doing the border first or gathering pieces you think might go together and knocking it out a section at a time. Whether you’re building 2000 piece puzzles or 10,000 piece puzzles, they’re fun to build and there’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes from completing one. If you want to keep your work, you can always buy puzzle glue and frame your puzzles.
- Everyday application: For puzzle lovers, they may approach mundane everyday tasks as a puzzle of sorts. An editor at a newspaper may look at a day’s headlines as puzzle pieces and try to figure out where they all go in the paper. An architect or a landscaper may view a project as a puzzle as they try to erect a new building or add improvements on a house.
No matter your age or skill level, putting jigsaw puzzles together is a great hobby to have and an excellent way to keep your mind sharp.