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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Five Benefits of Puzzling

Now that the holidays have passed and the colder weather is here, it’s time to find some fun indoor activities to do with the whole family. Puzzles of all kinds are an excellent pastime during these cold winter months — especially in January in honor of National Puzzle Day, celebrated every year on January 29th. National Puzzle Day is the perfect time to bring out your favorite puzzle or pick up a new one! Celebrate by putting together a jigsaw puzzle, doing a crossword, sudoku, riddles, or solving a Rubik’s Cube!

Puzzles have been around for centuries. Did you know that the jigsaw puzzle dates back to the 1760s, when European mapmakers pasted maps onto wood and cut them into small pieces? These wooden pieces were then put back together and were used as a tool to teach children geography. Puzzles continue to be used for educational purposes and provide many benefits to children and adults alike!

Some benefits of puzzling include the following:

    Problem solving skills:  When puzzling, you have one task at hand — to solve the puzzle. Accomplishing this goal requires using different approaches and strategies, as well as using trial and error methods to solve the puzzle. Puzzles also encourage changing perspectives if something isn’t working out as planned. For children and toddlers, puzzles help develop these skills and foster critical thinking which they can later use in their adult lives. For adults, these skills can be transferred to work life, making you a more adaptable and creative employee.
    Hand-eye coordination: Solving a puzzle, whether a jigsaw or crossword, requires hand-eye coordination. Figuring out what pieces or words fit or don’t fit help develop this skill. Children will try over and over again until their action of putting a piece in the puzzle matches what they are seeing.
    Fine motor development: Fine motor skills, the coordination of small muscles, assist in everyday tasks, such as writing, buttoning a shirt, turning a page, or typing on a keyboard. Puzzles are an excellent and fun way to help develop and refine fine motor skills in children. While working to solve a puzzle, children are required to pick up and grasp pieces, move them around, and manipulate them into the right slot or place.
    Perseverance and resilience: Puzzles are challenging to complete and require a lot of trial and error. While working to solve a puzzle, children (or adults) will fail time and time again when trying to match a piece to its appropriate spot, which can be frustrating. However, there is a huge sense of satisfaction when finding a piece that fits, especially when completing a puzzle. Completing a puzzle takes time and requires perseverance when seeing it through to the finish. This is an important lesson for children and adults. 
    Improves memory: Puzzles have been proven to help improve memory, particularly short-term memory. When putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you have to remember where a certain piece fits in the wider picture. When working on a crossword, you must recall trivia or test your vocabulary. Puzzles help keep our minds sharp and improves mental speed.
    These are just some of the many benefits of puzzling. Other benefits include developing social skills or independence, building self-esteem, improved visual-spatial reasoning, and improved attention.

    To learn more about the purpose of play and how toys, games, books, and crafts can help children develop and grow, visit the Gingerbread House Toy Store at 915 E. Washington St. in Bloomington, or call 309-827-8811. Kate Greene, owner, and the experienced staff will answer your questions and help you choose fun items to nurture the kids in your life.


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