When teaching math for 3rd graders, teachers often use games to complement their teaching process, and some of those games involve fixing puzzles. Puzzles are an essential aspect of our daily lives as adults; you may not want to admit it, but every day, you are solving one problem or the other in your mind by finding the pieces that fit.
Just like you need to find the right pieces to complete the puzzle, kids need some math knowledge to approach puzzle math learning. Here are a few reasons why you need puzzle play in mathematics programs for kids:
They make math interesting
Puzzles are fun and thrilling. Trying to figure out the answer to every problem the game poses as you stare at all the missing parts can create an incomparable adrenaline rush. Each puzzle has clues that lead to the answers the kids need to find. The kids test their thinking ability and look for all the perspectives related to that math problem.
Once a kid solves one puzzle after the other, they reach new forms of satisfaction till they become almost insatiable. Eventually, you realize that as kids focus on the thrill of the puzzles, they learn more about the math problems they face than they could have ever known in class. When kids find math interesting, they will love it more.
They improve spatial reasoning
Spatial reasoning is the ability of kids to look at a problem/object in two/three-dimensional angles to find an answer or a solution. When solving a puzzle, you must look at all the angles and sides involved to find clues to where each piece fits and how they fit.
Kids need spatial reasoning to get through many math concepts because there is no one way to solve for answers, and some math problems come with different angles. With constant attempts at puzzle play, kids get better at spatial reasoning and can tackle math problems easily. The easier they find math problems, the more they love learning math using puzzle play.
They replicate actual-life math use
When kids encounter math for the first time, it is just a random subject in class that may be uninterested as they go on. However, when they encounter math in real life, they are more excited by the idea and would learn it easier than when they have no representations.
Real life, in this case, means things they can see, touch, and feel, like puzzle play. As kids solve the puzzles, they meet math problems they did not think they could solve. Kids would enjoy using the math concepts they learn in class in something as real as a puzzle. The more real math begins to look to them, the easier it becomes to understand math as a subject. Knowing that they can apply math in real life is an excellent foundation to build their love for the subject.
They help kids build critical cognitive skills
As kids grow, they must develop specific cognitive skills to have a better quality of life as an adult. Puzzle play helps kids build these skills and gain a strong foundation for all of them. For example, when fixing puzzles, kids need sustained attention to stay focused because once you lose concentration, you may need to start again.
Kids also need to use their eyes and their understanding of the image given to know what image belongs where. In math, kids need to use all or most of their cognitive skills sometimes, and the inability to apply them can make a kid dislike the subject. However, when puzzle play has helped them build these skills, they can now love math a little more.
They help kids build persistence
Kids need to be persistent if they want to get the answers to many math problems. You will not break through specific math problems from the beginning. In many cases, it takes several tries. However, if kids cannot persist, they will get tired of math quickly, developing a dislike for the subject, thus diminishing their ability to form the foundation they need.
When tackling puzzle play, kids must remain persistent in getting the pictures right. Consistency with the games will help kids build the ability to stay on a problem until they solve it, a skill they need to help them love math.
Even adults can agree that sometimes, you do not find math interesting. With kids, however, you need to ensure they find reasons to love the subject at a young age to learn it better. Puzzle play is an easy way to help your kids love math.