Brain Benefits of Working Puzzles

Puzzles were a prominent part of my childhood. During the winter months, our dining room table often held a large piece of leftover wall paneling covered with jigsaw puzzles in progress.  I would sit with my mom and try to find pieces that would fit.  It was a little daunting as a child, but something that made me feel grown up.  I‘m sure I had my own puzzles to work, but I enjoyed the social aspect of sitting at a table with family and doing them together.  My mother still does puzzles today.  She has a card table that stays in the living room for her to work her puzzles on.  When I go home to visit, there is always a puzzle in progress.

No matter what age you are, puzzles are very good for your brain.  Putting a puzzle together calls upon many cognitive skills, providing you with a great brain work out.

Visual Perception:  As you work to match shape, color and design, you are giving your Occipital Lobe a workout.  As you search through all of the pieces to find the correct ones you are strengthening your visual scanning abilities.  It’s also great for spatial reasoning

Coordination:  Putting puzzles together hones hand-eye coordination and can strengthen and improve fine motor skills and dexterity in young and old hands.

Critical Thinking:  The steps it takes to complete a puzzle incorporate elements of sequencing, planning, logic, strategy and problem solving skills.  These skills require the work of your prefrontal cortex located in the frontal lobe.

Memory:  You may not realize it but puzzles exercise your short term and visual memory.  These memory components are used regularly while you put a puzzle together.

Many people find puzzles relaxing and they can provide you with a sense of accomplishment which releases dopamine in the brain.   And any time we spend focusing on one activity helps improve our ever-waning attention spans.  They can also be a great catalyst for social interaction.   Working at our stores during the holidays, I meet a number of families who have a Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Day tradition of working a puzzle together. It’s an activity that can include all ages and gives you quality time together.

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2 Responses to Brain Benefits of Working Puzzles

  1. jigsawlady says:

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author

  2. Brody says:

    I know what you mean. My dining room table currently has a fairly large puzzle on it. My son is so eager to help, but he has a hard time when there are so many pieces. So I find a piece and locate where it goes then hand it to him and tell him a good location to start looking for it to go. He always gets the last piece too.


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