The Benefits Of Jigsaw Puzzles
Sitting down at the table with the family or on your own to crack open a new puzzle is a familiar childhood pastime. But did you know it has the power to boost your brain as well as provide divertissement? Nowadays, unplugging all game apps, TV shows, and other digital forms of entertainment can be difficult.
With puzzles, however, it’s easy to find an engaging escape from this overstimulation while discovering other benefits. Below, we’ve pieced together a few of these benefits, some of which may surprise you!
That’s right, jigsaw puzzles can reinforce neural connections, potentially leading to better short-term memory. Searching for the right color or a specifically shaped piece activates multiple brain areas, including visualization and memory. The activity can also increase mental speed and the growth of new connections, all of which help maintain the brain’s recall ability. Memory is maintained throughout our lifetime, making remembering small details and performing day-to-day tasks easier in old age.
Getting Mental Exercise
Looking to give your brain a workout? Puzzles are great for exercising both sides of the brain simultaneously. The left side is logical and methodical, while the right is intuitive thinking and creativity. Solving a puzzle not only has these two sides communicating and working together, but also activates the occipital lobe, which is the area responsible for connecting shapes and colors. Routinely training the brain with engaging activities like this can help improve attention span and problem-solving skills while preventing cognitive decline.
Enriching Visual-Spatial Reasoning
Assembling a puzzle requires you to look closely at individual pieces, visualize where they could go, and how they might fit into the bigger picture. Doing this regularly could improve your visual-spatial reasoning, which is used to determine where objects are in space, including small objects like puzzle pieces or even our own limbs.
When the skill is honed, it can enhance your performance of many of life’s tasks. From tying your shoes and learning dance moves to reading a map and driving a car, developing this area of the mind is an incredibly valuable pursuit.
Having Fun Solo and Meditation
Taking a break from the constant hustle and bustle of life for some alone time is good for your health. Doing so with a puzzle works to relieve stress while providing a fun, peaceful outlet. What’s more, focusing on the image for an extended period without letting your mind race from thought to thought works the same as meditation. This can bring the added health benefits of lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
Connecting With Family
On the flip side of solo time, there’s family time. Inviting the whole household to connect over a puzzle works to start new conversations, hash out recent life events, and simply spend time together. As talking and sharing play a part in strengthening familial bonds, this conversation also helps to nurture the social skill of working toward a shared goal as a team.
As mentioned above, puzzles keep the entire brain active, support new growth, and strengthen connections. Studies have found that stimulating the mind through puzzles and other problem-solving activities can help delay dementia and Alzheimer’s disease symptoms and reduce the chances of developing these afflictions. This can help people to live longer and live better into old age.
All Ages Can Benefit
From an elderly couple assembling a two-thousand-piece puzzle to preschoolers fitting together large, wooden pieces on the floor, all ages can discover the value of puzzles. As time is spent reconstructing the puzzle’s image, they stand to gain these mental, physical, and social benefits and so much more.
David Rolls is the owner of MasterPieces, a manufacturer of high-quality jigsaw puzzles, games, toys, and sports items. Rolls has more than 25 years of experience in the puzzle industry and focuses on leading with innovation and cutting-edge designs.