Building up Motor Skills with ALEX’s 3D Cityscape

January 3, 2013 at 16:56 | Posted in Educational, Little Hands | Leave a comment
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Fine Motor Skills

Looking for a fun jumbo puzzle?

Today we played with ALEX’s 3D Cityscape Jumbo Puzzle.  It’s a 41 piece floor puzzle geared toward kids ages 3 and up.  Aside from the fun colors and designs, depicting a cute little city, this puzzle also has a 3D component consisting of 3 vertically standing buildings.

The kids love the 3 dimensional buildings, which my niece reported “make it look like a real town.”

Because of the busy background, your 3 year old will more than likely need your help to get all the pieces together. I actually liked that it was a little more challenging so children can continue to enjoy it as they get older and become more independent. The puzzle includes a completed picture to help direct your kids as they work. Cue them not to concentrate too much on the colors of the building in the pictures,  as a few of them are different than what is shown, but have them use it to orient themselves and match up the types of buildings, people, and animals to their puzzle.

Floor puzzles are great for a number of reasons. They challenge kids’ visual motor and fine motor skills. The large pieces and busy background also really challenge the child’s visual perceptual and visual scanning abilities, which are the foundation for many skills, including reading and writing. And unlike typical puzzles, floor puzzles get the whole body involved, as the children reach, move, and reposition themselves. Activities that incorporate the entire person help increase a child’s interest and attention, and are a key part of learning.

Fine Motor Skills

Floor puzzles are also a great way to get older children involved with more developmental skills.  One of my favorite things to do with floor puzzles is to place the puzzle pieces on one side of the room and start a few pieces of the puzzle on the other side of the room.  Then create an obstacle course in between, which the kids can also help you do.  Use floor pillows, tunnels (if you have them), and blankets to create a course that the kids have to climb over and through to get to the puzzle pieces.

You can also have the kids simply perform animal walks to get to the pieces, such as a bear walk (on hands and feet), crab walk, or lizard crawl (army crawl).  Incorporating these components will not only help to strengthen your child’s core and upper body, which is a must-have for handwriting and fine motor skills, but it will also challenge their visual memory, as they try to remember and match which piece they need next.

Any way you do it, puzzles are great for encouraging your child’s developmental skills, and we thought ALEX’s 3D Cityscape was a winner!

Dana Elliot is an occupational therapist who has worked in the pediatric field for 6 years.  She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with her Master’s in Occupational Therapy and now resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband and daughter (and one on the way).  Dana specializes in gross and fine motor development and sensory integration.  Her passion is sharing everyday ways parents can foster their children’s skills and help them to thrive, which you can find on her blog, Embrace Your Chaos, and by following Dana on Twitter!

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