Preschool Learning Puzzles – Perfect For Language Development and Skill Building!
Learning puzzles for preschoolers (and toddlers) were one of my favorite toys when I was practicing as a speech therapist. My kids also had a whole collection of beginner puzzles. This article will review different types of puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers, and discuss the learning opportunities that come with each. I hope that by […]

Learning puzzles for preschoolers (and toddlers) were one of my favorite toys when I was practicing as a speech therapist.

My kids also had a whole collection of beginner puzzles.

This article will review different types of puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers, and discuss the learning opportunities that come with each.

I hope that by the end of this article you will see that there are many different ways to use puzzles for a variety of language and learning purposes.

The different types of preschool learning puzzles

Insert puzzles (large)

This type of puzzle is great for toddlers and even preschoolers.

However, not all children will enjoy puzzles.

If your child doesn't like puzzles, be sure to insert puzzles first as they will be the easiest to complete.

I particularly like the Melissa and Doug puzzles as they are theme based and are great for vocabulary building.

My kids had several of these puzzles, including the ones in the photo.

Melissa & Doug Chunky Wooden Puzzle Set - Farm & PetsLanguage and learning ideas with insert / bulky puzzles

Fun activities

♦ Put all the puzzle pieces in a bag and ask the child to choose them one by one

♦ “I spy” - ideal for children who already have a large vocabulary. For example, "I observe a pink animal playing in the mud"

♦ Role play - use the puzzle pieces to play a scenario

♦ Hide and seek - hide the puzzle pieces in the room.

Give the child clues as to where to look (for example, look under the large green chair). Once a piece has been found, the child can put it in the right place on the puzzle

Vocabulary building

♦ Label puzzle pieces along with other elements on the puzzle board itself (eg cow, horse, pig, sheep, duck, chicken, barn, sun, pond, grass, butterfly, etc.).

Also include the animal sounds that accompany it if you are using an animal puzzle.

♦ When using a bag to keep all the parts inside, talk about putting the parts “in” the bag and removing them “out” of the bag.

♦ Sentence models - These jigsaw puzzles are great for working on sentence models for kids who need extra help.

For example, each time a child takes turns picking up a puzzle piece from the bag, he or she may say “I take a (piece)”.

♦ Prepositions - If you play the hide and seek activity, children can work on their understanding of prepositions such as "in, over, under, behind, beside, etc." because they will be used in directions.

Social Skills

♦ Turn taken - play the "coins in a bag" variant with 2 or more children.

They will each have to wait their turn before they can take a piece of the puzzle. You can also take turns working using vocabulary such as “my turn” and “your turn”.

Corresponding to

♦ Most insert puzzles will have the same image where the actual piece should go.

With young children or those with developmental delays, you can work on the corresponding skills. Ask the child to find the matching animal and you can help him put the puzzle piece into the puzzle.


♦ Count each piece of the puzzle as you put it in the bag.

See more large puzzles

Lock and Lock Puzzles

Latch and Lock Puzzles are great for working on fine motor skills, but there is always the option to work on language development.

This type of puzzle is intended for ages 3 and up, as the locks can be difficult to open and close.

An adult will need to help a younger child with the latches and latches, but don't let that put you off.

My daughter loved her lock puzzle when she was about 2 years old. We were playing at a peek with (see below for a description).
Melissa & Doug Latches Wooden Activity Board

Language and learning opportunities with Latch and Lock puzzles

♦ Counting/number recognition

Many of these puzzles have numbers printed on them with a corresponding number of objects / animals. For example, under number 2 you can find 2 fish.

♦ Colors

Talk about the different colors you see. For example, "I see green fish" or "I see a yellow house".

♦ Look - a - boo Game

This game is fun for toddlers and works well if you use the puzzle with a toddler and a preschooler.

Your child can work on opening and closing the latches, while the toddler focuses on vocabulary.

The adult can say “Look, I see ______ hiding behind the door”. As the child opens the door, encourage him to tell you what he sees.

♦ Penalty patterns

Just like in insert puzzles, you can work on simple sentence patterns with interlocking puzzles. For example, "open the door" or "I want to open the door".

See more lock and lock puzzles

Puzzles for beginners

Beginner puzzles have large pieces that need to be matched.

Therefore, they are great for working on hand-eye coordination.

This type of puzzle is a bit more advanced because there is usually no image reference.

Depending on what type you get, the box can be used as a reference for what the final puzzle should look like.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Puzzle Set: Vehicles, Pets, Construction & Farm

Language and learning opportunities with puzzles for beginners

♦ These puzzles help develop perseverance and perseverance.

♦ Counting

Count all the pieces before putting the puzzle together to make sure they are all there.

♦ Tell a story

Take turns telling a story about what you see in the puzzle (once it's assembled), if your puzzle has a scene like the one above.

Storytelling is a great way practice sequencing skills which are extremely necessary for executive function skills later!

♦ Vocabulary

Label the puzzle objects. Also, be sure to tag any actions you might see such as swimming, jumping, digging, driving, etc.

See more puzzles for beginners

Preschool Letter Puzzles

Preschool Letter Puzzles are similar to large insert puzzles, but focus on letters.

I love these puzzles because the kid is working on hand-eye coordination while learning the letters at the same time.

Children are very visual and involve learners, so letting them feel and see each letter helps them remember the letters.

But don't forget to keep this activity fun!

Don't constantly test your child by questioning their knowledge of the letter. As long as your child enjoys the activity, keep going.

I will not go into the language and the learning opportunities with these puzzles as it is quite obvious that the main goal is to learn letters.

However, I am going to share some activities you can do to keep the letter puzzle fun and interesting.
Melissa & Doug Clear Alphabet Puzzle

Preschool letter puzzle activities

Letters in a bag

This is the same activity that I described in the Insert a puzzle section.

Place all the letters in a bag and have your child (ren) draw a letter.

Ask if they can label the letter and find its place in the puzzle.

You can also use dice to determine how many letters the child can choose.

♦ Guess the sound

Have your child identify the letter, then guess the sound it makes before putting it into the puzzle

♦ Build a word

Help your child organize the letters to form a simple word (eg cat), then place the letters in the puzzle.

***Note: This activity should be used for older children who have expressed an interest in letters and reading.

Please do not push your preschooler too much. They will have ample time to learn to read. The goal of the puzzles is to have fun!

See more preschool letter puzzles

Puzzles for preschoolers can be fun and educational!

As you can see there are so many possibilities with preschool learning puzzles.

Do your children like puzzles?

Do you have other ways to use these puzzles to promote language development and learning?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

preschooler working on a jigsaw puzzle with text overlay
Preschool puzzle activities can be fun and like a game. But so much learning can happen.  Click to find out what skills your preschooler can learn!  #puzzles #kidslearning #homeschooling

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

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Don’t try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child’s minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

Pick your battles. Kids can’t absorb too many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguing about little stuff like fashion choices and occasional potty language. Focus on the things that really matter -- that means no hitting, rude talk, or lying.

Play with your children. Let them choose the activity, and don’t worry about rules. Just go with the flow and have fun. That’s the name of the game.

Read books together every day. Get started when he’s a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents’ voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

Schedule daily special time. Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 or 15 minutes with no interruptions. There’s no better way for you to show your love.

Encourage daddy time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad -- early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.

Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals -- like bedtimes and game night -- that you do together.

Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.

Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologize.

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

Always tell the truth. It’s how you want your child to behave, right ? Kiss and hug your spouse in front of the kids. Your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship styles, feels, and sounds like. So it’s your job to set a great standard.

Give appropriate praise. Instead of simply saying, ' You’re great, ' try to be specific about what your child did to deserve the positive feedback. You might say, ' Waiting until I was off the phone to ask for cookies was hard, and I really liked your patience. '

Cheer the good stuff. When you notice your child doing something helpful or nice, let him know how you feel. It’s a great way to reinforce good behavior so he’s more likely to keep doing it.

Gossip about your kids. Fact : What we overhear is far more potent than what we are told directly. Make praise more effective by letting your child ' catch ' you whispering a compliment about him to Grandma, Dad, or even his teddy.

Give yourself a break. Hitting the drive-through when you’re too tired to cook doesn’t make you a bad parent.

Trust your mommy gut. No one knows your child better than you. Follow your instincts when it comes to his health and well-being. If you think something’s wrong, chances are you’re right. Just say ' No. ' Resist the urge to take on extra obligations at the office or become the Volunteer Queen at your child’s school. You will never, ever regret spending more time with your children.

Don’t accept disrespect from your child. Never allow her to be rude or say hurtful things to you or anyone else. If she does, tell her firmly that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect. Pass along your plan. Mobilize the other caregivers in your child’s life -- your spouse, grandparents, daycare worker, babysitter -- to help reinforce the values and the behavior you want to instill. This includes everything from saying thank you and being kind to not whining.

Ask your children three ' you ' questions every day. The art of conversation is an important social skill, but parents often neglect to teach it. Get a kid going with questions like, ' Did you have fun at school ? ' ; ' What did you do at the party you went to ? ' ; or ' Where do you want to go tomorrow afternoon ? ' Teach kids this bravery trick. Tell them to always notice the color of a person’s eyes. Making eye contact will help a hesitant child appear more confident and will help any kid to be more assertive and less likely to be picked on.

Acknowledge your kid’s strong emotions. When your child’s meltdown is over, ask him, ' How did that feel ? ' and ' What do you think would make it better ? ' Then listen to him. He’ll recover from a tantrum more easily if you let him talk it out.

Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all year. Kids gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community. Don’t raise a spoiled kid. Keep this thought in mind : Every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe. Teach him accordingly.

Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early : When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why. Explain to your kids why values are important. The simple answer : When you’re kind, generous, honest, and respectful, you make the people around you feel good. More important, you feel good about yourself.

Set up a ' gratitude circle ' every night at dinner. Go around the table and take turns talking about the various people who were generous and kind to each of you that day. It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good.

Serve a food again and again. If your child rejects a new dish, don’t give up hope. You may have to offer it another six, eight, or even 10 times before he eats it and decides he likes it. Avoid food fights. A saine child instinctively knows how much to eat. If he refuses to finish whatever food is on his plate, just let it go. He won’t starve.

Eat at least one meal as a family each day. Sitting down at the table together is a relaxed way for everyone to connect -- a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke. It also helps your kids develop saine eating vêtements. Let your kids place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what’s for dinner and cook it for them.

Say ' I love you ' whenever you feel it, even if it’s 743 times a day. You simply can not spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible. Keep in mind what grandmoms always say. Children are not yours, they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people. Savor the moments. Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting job on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry’s piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it now -- it will be over far too fast.

Teach your baby to sign. Just because a child can’t talk doesn’t mean there isn’t lots that she’d like to say. Simple signs can help you know what she needs and even how she feels well before she has the words to tell you -- a great way to reduce frustration. Keep the tube in the family room. Research has repeatedly shown that children with a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, and have lower grades and poorer social skills. P. S. Parents with a television in their bedroom have sex less often. Get kids moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in her stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.

Get your kids vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and throughout the world. Protect that smile. Encouraging your kid to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities. Be averti about safety. Babyproof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding his bike or scooter. Listen to the doc. If your pediatrician thinks your kid’s fever is caused by a virus, don’t push for antibiotics. The best medicine may be rest, lots of fluids, and a little TLC. Overprescribing antibiotics can cause medical problems for your child and increase the probabilités of creating superbugs that resist treatment.

Keep sunblock next to your kid’s toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It’ll become as natural as brushing her teeth. Put your baby to bed drowsy but still awake. This helps your child learn to soothe himself to sleep and prevents bedtime problems down the line. Know when to toilet train. Look for these two signs that your child is ready to use the potty : He senses the urge to pee and poop ( this is different from knowing that he’s already gone ), and he asks for a diaper change.


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