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HOME MADE PUZZLES
Store bought puzzles are great and should be a part of every child’s life but home made puzzles have much to offer, also.  Children learn from modeling our actions.  When we make something ourselves, we encourage through example.  We show that everyday objects can be turned into learning tools.  Don’t be surprised if your children start figuring out ways to create their own puzzles!
 

CARDBOARD CUTOUT PUZZLES

  • Buy a holiday cardboard cutout at the party store.
  • Cut the cutout into 4-8 pieces (depending on the age of your child).
  • Show your child the cutout before cutting it apart.

Then mix up the pieces and let your child put the puzzle back together.

CONSTRUCTION PAPER PUZZLES

  • Cut simple holiday shapes out construction paper.
  • Then cut them into two pieces for toddlers and 4-8 pieces for preschoolers.
     

 
BOX PUZZLE
You will need a small (approx.. 6” x 6”) 1” deep box.

  •  Cut out a piece of cardboard that fits into the bottom of the box.
  • Then take the cardboard piece out and have your child draw a picture on the cardboard.
  • Now cut the cardboard into 4-8 pieces and have your child fit the cut pieces back into the bottom of the box.
     

HEART SHAPE BOX PUZZLE

  • Cut out a piece of light weight red cardboard to fit into the bottom of the heart box.
  • Then cut the cardboard into 6 pieces.
  • Give the pieces to your child and have her rebuild the heart shape in the bottom of the box.
     
RHYME PUZZLES
You will need some small index cards for this game.

Cut 4-5 index cards in half by cutting them down the center in different ziz-zag or curvy lines.

Glue or draw rhyme pictures on each side of the rhyme puzzles.

Example:  Place a picture of a cat on one side and a picture of a hat on the other side.

Mix up the puzzle pieces and have children take turns finding matching rhyme pictures.

Additional rhyme suggestions:
             Coat/boat
             Dog/frog
             Doll/ball
             Moon/spoon
 
COOKIE CUTTER PUZZLES  (Ages 2-4)

On a piece of thick cardboard, trace around two or three cookie cutters with a pencil or pen.
Use a craft knife to cut out the shapes.
Give the cookie cutters and the cardboard to your child and let him or her place the cookie cutters into the appropriate holes.
 
SHAPE MATCHING BOARD  (Ages 2-4)
Set simple familiar objects (a key, a jar lid, a small box, etc.) on a piece of lightweight cardboard.
Use a marking pen to trace around the objects.
Remove the objects and encourage your child to place them back in the appropriate places.
You may want to begin with just two objects and then add more as your child’s ability and understanding of the game increases.
 
CEREAL BOX FUN  (Ages 3-5)
You can make simple puzzles for your preschooler using the fronts of cereal boxes.
Cut out the front picture from a cereal box.
Now, cut the picture into 4-8 pieces. (Depending on the ability of your child)
Show your child how the pieces all fit back together to form the picture.
Next, mix up the pieces and encourage your child to put them back in the proper order.
Puzzle pieces when not in use can be stored in small plastic zipper bags.
 
PIZZA PUZZLES  (Ages 3-5)
Give your child a white paper plate and some crayons.
Have your child color the plate to resemble a pizza.
Then, cut the plate into 4 -8 triangular pizza wedges.
Mix up the pieces and have your child put the pizza back together again.
This puzzle could also be used to show children what half of a pizza (or circle) is like, what a fourth of a circle is like.
 
STICKER PUZZLES  (Ages 3-5)
You will need plain small index cards and some stickers for these puzzles.
Place stickers in the center of small index cards.
Then, cut the cards in half, through the center of the card.
Make four or five of these sets of sticker puzzles.
Mix up the puzzles pieces.
First, your child will sort the pieces, then she will put the pieces together.
 
PUZZLE STICKS (Ages 4-5)
To make this puzzle, you will need 4-5 large craft sticks and a picture cut from a magazine.
Turn the picture up-side-down and spread glue across the back of the picture.
Next, lay the sticks next to each other over the glue.
When the glue has dried, trim the outside edges of the picture to fit the shape of the sticks.
Then, using a utility knife, slice the picture into 4-5 pieces by slicing between the sticks.
Show your child what the picture looks like one more time, then mix up the picture sticks and have your child put the sticks back into the proper order to recreate the picture.