- There are 3 styles of learning, the earlier we introduce these styles to our children, the more likely we can find what their learning style is and set up an environment for success at home and in school.
- Matching puzzle games improve your child’s visual-spatial reasoning. Visual-spatial reasoning is extremely important for their hand-eye coordination, understanding depth perception, and can help later on with their math skills. As they match objects to pictures, this helps children practice visual discrimination, becoming familiar with 1D print and learning to connect real objects to print. This is a pre-reading skill too
- Reading, math, and problem-solving are linked to IQ. Matching puzzles like STEM-certified ones prepare your child with pre-math and reading readiness. They also show them how to problem-solve. These are the basic components to STEM education as well.
What’s Your Child’s Style of Learning?
What does your child’s style of learning have to do with matching puzzles?
Puzzles can help us understand how they learn best. It’s a hands-on activity that may require vocal or visual direction. These are hints that they learn best one way or another.
The earlier we determine the best way our children learn, the better we can create an environment of toys and activities that will help them grow efficiently. This will take some time and a little bit of experimentation on our end, but it’s so worth it because that means we will fight less to do homework, less crying and less time of our children thinking they’re “dumb”.
No child is dumb and should ever feel that way. If they don’t understand how to complete something, it’s because the way it’s communicated doesn’t fit their learning style.
There are 3 styles of learning: visual, auditory, and kinetic.
Information enters your brain three main ways: sight, hearing, and touch. It’s important to note that everyone has a combination of ways in which they learn; however, most people have ONE predominant learning style.
Visual – processing with your eyes.
•Prefers to read and write rather than listen.
•Enjoys reading books for knowledge.
•Can easily follow written directions.
•Has trouble remembering verbal instructions
•Prefers maps to verbal directions when trying to find a place.
Auditory – processing through your ears
Characteristics of auditory learners include:
•Prefers to follow verbal instructions rather than written ones.
•Enjoys group work and discussing information with others.
•Remembers by listening, especially music.
•Reads with whispering lip movements
•It finds it difficult to work quietly for long periods of time.
Kinetic – processing by doing
Characteristics of kinetic learners include:
•Needs to move, tap, swing or bound a leg in order to stay focused
•Benefits from in-class demonstrations, “hands-on” student learning experiences, and fieldwork outside the classroom.
•Often needs frequent breaks during studying.
•Learns to spell by “fingerspelling” the words.
•Often takes notes or even draws pictures or doodles while listening.
No learning style is either better or worse than another. In fact, each learning style has its own strengths and limitations. Knowing limitations helps you help your child extend their abilities.
Here are a few examples of what to look out for while they play with puzzles:
If they are a visual learner:
- They may look at the picture on the box
- They may watch you build a puzzle
- Read the directions of Stack by Numbers and understand it easier as compared to listening to you.
If they are a hands-on learner:
- They’d rather take the matching puzzle game and match them up on their own
- Not too keen on reading directions and would rather ask you to show the
- Your child might ask you to do it with them or play with a friend so they can learn together
If they are an auditory learner:
- More likely to ask you to explain to them how to do a puzzle
- Talk out loud to themselves as they’re figuring out the puzzle
Improved Visual-Spatial Reasoning
What is it?
The ability to mentally manipulate 2D and 3D figures.
It’s important for children to have a good understanding of this because children use this as they are reading directions, books, and completing math problems. As math becomes more complicated in middle school and high school, kids will use their visual-spatial skills to imagine objects, graphs and images rotating (geometry and trigonometry).
How do matching puzzle games improve my child’s visual-spatial reasoning?
- Being able to match items and explain why it goes together is important for cognitive skill and ability
- Matching objects to pictures helps children practice visual discrimination, becoming familiar with 1D print and learning to connect real objects to print. This is a pre-reading skill too.
- Learning to match shapes and patterns helps children as they learn to recognize letters and then words.
- Since puzzles have kids flipping, sliding, and turning to ensure it matches each image and fits correctly if putting it into a baseboard, this supports the theory that kids who work on puzzles at a young age do better on spatial reasoning as they grow older
- Noticing and identifying small differences in color, direction, and form helps them learn the difference in letters and numbers like 6,9,b,d, 2, and 5.
When do we use this in real life? USAtoday.com says:
- Driving a car when you are parking, do you have enough space to keep backing up?
- Packing and figuring out how many items can fit in boxes, suitcases, or the trunks of our cars
- Using a map and figuring out where you are and where you should turn next
- Playing baseball, you will see the ball coming towards you and understand the speed and distance so you know you must move your arm’s certain distance to catch it
- Babies spatial reasoning predicts later math skills according to this study
- To put together easy-to-assemble furniture, we need to match the two-dimensional diagrams to the three-dimensional furniture parts
Visual-spatial ability is also important for people who work in certain fields, such as:
Signs of Visual-Spatial Issues from islnearningcorner.com:
- Clumsy or uncoordinated while playing sports
- Has trouble catching, throwing or kicking balls
- Runs into furniture, other people or standing objects
- Doesn’t recognize personal boundaries in social situations (known as a “close talker”)
- Adds or subtracts letters from words and sentences while reading
- Doesn’t realize numbers and letters come in a certain order
- Has trouble determining left from right
- Difficulty with visual patterns
- Attention and focus issues in the classroom
- Trouble with math problems, geometry, calculus, and other math concepts
- Can’t copy notes from the chalkboard
Increased IQ & Matching Puzzle Games
Puzzles provide improvements to our vocabulary, memory, and overall reasoning. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the other benefits of puzzles is that they can help raise our IQ (intelligence quotient).
As I was looking online at different studies and content written by psychologists and educators, I’ve found that by improving relational skills, you can increase your IQ score.
Relational skills are when you can understand mathematical relationships between concepts or objects. For example, knowing concepts or objects that are the same, more or less in size, or the opposite when comparing one thing to another.
As children play with matching puzzles, they are doing exactly that. Taking objects and understanding how they fit or don’t fit into their puzzle and if they even go together at all.
Relational skills are actually referred to as the building blocks of intelligence by psychologists in the field of Relational Frame Theory.
What is IQ dependent on and what else will help increase our IQ?
Even though IQ is mostly dependent on genetics (nature), that leaves room for the opportunity to strengthen our child’s development through nurture.
We can do this by giving them the tools they need to build positive habits so that they continually evolve and play with more advanced “toys” and games as they grow.
The best part is seeing them choose these on their own because it’s something they enjoy naturally.
When kids play with different types of puzzles like matching puzzles, they develop problem-solving skills.
Problem-solving skills are also linked to intelligence. I’m sure now you’re putting together where this is going…
Children have to solve the problem of the puzzle and this teaches them how to think outside the box because there are many different ways to approach the problem in order to come up with a solution.
Lastly, reading and math skills are the foundation for IQ. These skills are something that we need to exercise in order to understand and complete complex problems as we age.
What’s so great about matching puzzles for kids is that they are usually STEM-based toys. That means it’s a hands-on activity that combines multiple areas of subjects into one activity. This stimulates their brain to connect the dots in various areas, so it’s an entire concept learned rather than one part of it.
If you’d like to learn more about STEM and STEAM, read this blog.
But wait, reading and puzzles, how do those even go together?
Of course, our youngsters are not reading books by themselves. Directions? Definitely not reading those either, unless they’re 6+ and the directions are pretty basic.
Before children can read, they need to learn the alphabet which is apart of reading readiness. They can’t just simply memorize them either, they have to identify which sounds in the language go with each letter. That’s called alphabetic awareness.
But, where they really start is phonemic awareness. That’s when children are aware that speech is made up of different sounds that belong to something. It’s a critical part of reading readiness. That’s why it’s practiced in toddler rooms at daycares and not just starting in pre-K.
Now that we understand how STEM puzzles are connected to reading readiness, here’s an example of your child learning how to read, recognize different sounds, and making the connection to other similar words all from a matching puzzle.
This STEM-certified matching puzzle with animals gives your child the opportunity to not only learn what a dog looks like and how to say it, but as they grow, they will start to recognize the sound of the “D” from “dog”.
As they point to the picture, it’s an abstract concept now as they aren’t just memorizing the name of the animal, but connecting what the name of the animal starts with. Later on, they can make the connection that the “D” for “dog” is just like “D” for “dad”.
When they reach that ability, they’re now at the learning to read stage 2 out of 4.
All of these skills can be practiced while playing with STEM toys just like these puzzles.
When it comes to math skills and puzzles, this makes many want to run away because math is intimidating. As we introduce these concepts earlier and give them the opportunity to learn from a STEM standpoint, they can learn at their own pace in a relaxed environment.
Math readiness and matching puzzles, where’s the connection?
Numbers puzzles examples:
- A matching puzzle with a picture can have numbers in it. Each child would match the numbers to the number of tally marks for example in the upper corner of each puzzle piece.
- A counting coin matching puzzle is where you would cut out pieces of coins and match each set of coins with the correct number amount that is listed.
- Combining a certain amount of objects or shapes in a picture to the number and connecting them from 2 pieces into one piece.
These are all basic skills that help your child be prepared to their fullest potential. The more support a child has at home, the better they will do.
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