From the Inventor: Puzzle Benefits for Children

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Benefits for Children that Work on Puzzles

By Guest Blogger: Ray Frigard

Besides being entertaining, puzzle solving has educational and intellectual value:

1 – Problem solving ability: reasoning skills and shape recognition to achieve set goals.

2 – Critical thinking/whole brain approach to learning: See things simultaneously as parts and wholes for insightful lasting understanding.

3 – Gross motor skills: eye-hand, stacking, fitting and spacing.

4 – Boost in self-confidence and self-esteem: accomplishing a given goal brings satisfaction.

5 – Focus/Concentration: vital for all students and those with ADHD and high functioning Asperger’s.

6 – Cognitive skills: gain understanding of a step-by-step approach to achieve goals.

7 – Learn persistence pays off when engaged in a challenging activity.

8 – Freedom to explore at the individual’s own pace reduces stress.

9 – Enhance visualization skills: picture and move things around in the “minds eye”.

10 – Social skills: promote cooperative play when working together to problem solve.

11 – Dopamine production: a positive mood change is a benefit in discovering solutions to a puzzle.

12 – Meditative relaxation: pondering possible solutions calms the mind, aids in stress reduction.


Puzzles that are also open-ended (ex: Pattern Play, Pattern Play 3D) add benefits over other puzzles that have only one solution like crossword and picture puzzles.

13 – Creativity: create original designs/structures. Out-of-the-box thinking trains the mind to look for new possibilities/solutions.

14 – Risk-taking/Experimentation: What if I try it this way…?



About Ray:

Ray Frigard is an inventor, designer, sculptor, and creativity educator. As and inventor he is named on a diverse range of patents: Rollerblades, Trisailer Boats, toys and games, cameras and Indian Motor Cycle. He has won creativity awards from: Parent’s Choice Foundation, iParenting Media and Creative Child Magazine.

Ray is a design sculptor modeling full sized cars and recreational vehicles in the design studios of Ford, Chrysler, BMW and Polaris Industries. Sculpted figures for McDonalds Happy Meals: Disney, Jim Henson (Fraggle Rock) and Jim Davis (Garfield).

He has exhibited and won awards for sculpture in juried art shows, presented at national education conferences and teaches creative problem solving in Minneapolis area schools and businesses, and written two books on creative problem solving: Arthink: Creativity Skills for 21st Century Careers and Funthink: 12 Tools for Creative Problem Solving.


How have you used Pattern Play 3D (and other open-ended puzzles) in your classroom? Share with us in the comments below, and at @MindWareToys on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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