Are you a jigsaw puzzle fan? It’s a tradition in our house to have one on the go at Christmas; there’s always a bit of friendly competition over who gets to place that all-important last piece!
The benefits of jigsaw puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are often thought of as just a hobby, or something aimed mainly at children. But there are actually lots of very positive benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles which are relevant to all ages. And these days it’s really easy to find a design that you love too – Fine Art America have just launched a new range of jigsaw puzzles with a huge variety of designs available in 500 and 1,000 pieces.
I’m A Puzzle is also a neat addition to your puzzle-hungry minds – with hundreds of designs and allows players to upload their own images and convert them into puzzles.
Let’s take a look at why doing jigsaw puzzles can be really good for you.
By its very nature, doing a jigsaw puzzle involves dexterity. All that picking up of pieces, rotating and flipping them, and fitting them into the puzzle in just the right way is fantastic exercise for your fingers. It’s also a great way to exercise your eyes too. A tricky design like these pebbles would definitely provide a challenge.
Doing a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to switch off from your troubles for a while. You have to concentrate and focus on the task in hand, which inevitably means you stop thinking about other, more worrisome things. The satisfaction you get from finding the right piece is also a great mini mood boost.
Carrying on with the stress relief theme, jigsaw puzzles are a very useful tool for practising mindfulness.
That focus on the present we’ve just talked about is central to the principles of meditation, and jigsaw puzzles provide a very tactile way to zone in on the now. If you struggle with more abstract mindfulness exercises, a jigsaw puzzle could be the perfect tool. A beautifully detailed, calming design like this Japanese garden puzzle would work well here.
Searching for the right jigsaw piece and working out where it might fit gives your short-term memory a good workout. Word games are good for this too; you can use a word unscrambler to help you out if you’re struggling.
Keeping your memory active helps to strengthen it, which has positive implications on mental performance, brain health and mood. Jigsaws are also a brilliant way to practise problem-solving, attention to detail and perseverance. This mandala design would certainly challenge those grey cells!
Like board games, doing a puzzle is a chance to step away from the screens and catch up on each other’s day. The fact that you’re keeping your hands busy at the same time somehow takes the pressure off, and allows conversation to flow more naturally.
I know from first-hand experience with my kids that jigsaw puzzles are a great way to get the family together. When someone sits down to fit in a few pieces, inevitably someone else will soon join them, and before we know it we’ve gathered together without any prompting. Tackling a puzzle together is also a nice way to introduce teamwork, with a lovely collective sense of achievement at the end.
When it comes to jigsaw designs for family time, I love the idea of making it personal with a custom puzzle using your own image. Fine Art America offers this option too; you just upload your image, choose from 500 or 1,000 pieces, and you’re ready to print. As well as being perfect for family puzzling, I think they’d make a great gift for puzzle-loving relatives too.
Have I convinced you to give jigsaw puzzles a go, and take advantage of some of these benefits? I think the Christmas puzzle will definitely be coming out sooner than usual in our house!