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Gifted and talented

Puzzles for 2.5 year olds

18 replies

CinnamonStix · 07/06/2012 14:38

I know the term 'average' should be used loosely when talking about toddlers, but how many pieces of a puzzle should 2.5 year olds be putting together?

We started one of those large floor puzzles about 2 months ago; it was a 24 piece puzzle and it was DS' favourite, Octonauts. He obviously recognised the characters and could build an image in his head of what it should look like. The first time he did it, he was able to complete half the puzzle by himself. By the 3rd attempt, he could do the whole thing.

We moved onto other large floor puzzles, which took a bit longer as he didn't recognise the pictures but he was still able. Now we're onto small puzzles, in 6, 8, 16 and 24 pieces. With practice, he's now able to complete them all unaided.

Is this 'normal' for a 2.5 year old? What's the next one up I should try him on, 50 piece puzzles?

OP posts:

bruffin · 07/06/2012 14:57

DD was doing 50 piece little piece puzzles for 5+ at 2.4 She was a lefty who had burnt her left hand and for some reason when she was bandaged up became obsessed with puzzles and went from 2 piece to 50+ pieces in a couple of weeks. I bought a lot in the charity shops as you can pick puzzles up quite cheaply there. She lost interest after a while and never really did a puzzle again.


Sirzy · 07/06/2012 15:01

Ds is 2.5 and can do 35 piece puzzles with ease, I keep meaning to buy him 50 piece ones to try but haven't got round to it yet!


FireOverBabylon · 07/06/2012 15:01

DS is 2.10 and can do 15 piece floor puzzles by himself like this. Being able to do a 24 piece puzzle is good for your DS's age but I don't know that I'd rush on to larger and larger puzzles straight away - it's not a race to get him onto 500 piece puzzles. Apologies if it's not like that, but that's how your OP reads.

We use the bus puzzle with DS so he can put it together and then we talk about it - can you see a hat / a phone / how many people have yellow hair, what colour is the pushchair, rather than just putting the puzzle together for the sake of it. I'm not being critical but maybe doing puzzles of subjects other than the Octonauts would give you the opportunity to do some of this wider play and exploration with him?

We also have this set aside for DS's 3rd birthday, again to give him the chance to talk about what he sees and to name the rooms etc, and he also loves this puzzle, which is very different again and uses fine motor skills effectively.

I guess I'm mainly saying have a look on Amazon or in another good toyshop at the wide range of puzzles available and how you can use them to interact with your son and help him learn more widely. My DS also loves puzzles but I think this may be a mix of us putting them together together, so he gets the 1:1 time with me, and us sharing activities related to them once they're complete.


TheSurgeonsMate · 07/06/2012 15:12

Interesting. DD has two piece puzzles which she clearly COULD do if she could only manipulate the pieces. I had been thinking that I wouldn't move on to larger puuzzles until she could manage this, as the physical part was as important as anything. From sheer boredom (mine) I bought a set of Octonauts puzzles, as I knew she'd enjoy looking at them as I did them. But it turned out she could handle the small pieces much more easily than the baby puzzle bits, and snapped a number of them into place Confused. After reading this thread I've decided it's out with boring two bitters and in with more ambitious puzzles.


CinnamonStix · 07/06/2012 15:12

Oh we do talk about the puzzles, and his puzzles are varied, sorry I wasn't going into great detail.

The Octonauts one is just the first real puzzle we tried, that wasn't wooden with those pegs. He picked it off the shelf himself and DH couldn't resist so bought it for him.

I certainly don't think it's a race to complete as many puzzles as possible, I was just interested in what other children his age were doing. I also always look to see how one can improve and progress, so naturally, I want DS to move onto something more challenging.

OP posts:

FunnyLovesTheJubilee · 07/06/2012 15:18

dunno if it's normal. DS2 can't do jigsaws yet and he is 2.4 but he can count to 10 and back again. They all do stuff at different rates I think


bruffin · 07/06/2012 16:39

Thesurgeonsmate it was dd's ability to manipulate the puzzle pieces with the wrong hand that astonished me!
I did have a 2 year older ds so we did have puzzles for his age group around, but dd had a verocious appetite for the things for a while.


scarlettsmummy2 · 07/06/2012 16:43

My daughter who is now three could do that too, she loves puzzles and can do 36 and 44 piece puzzles too. I think she is bright but wouldn't go so far as to say she is gifted.


CinnamonStix · 07/06/2012 20:30

bruffin she sounds very bright!

I guess it's about how much they practice - the more you do something, the better you get at it. What are the standard sets of puzzles, I've got 6, 8, 16 and 24 pieces.. What's the next one? I assume 35 from Sirzy's post?

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scarlettsmummy2 · 07/06/2012 22:13

I got a great box of ten peppa pig puzzles in various sizes up to sixty pieces (think 16 was maybe the smallest) in toys r us. Quite good as some they can do themselves and others with a bit of help.


CinnamonStix · 08/06/2012 20:05

Ohh was it this one? Thanks for that!

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fatfloosie · 08/06/2012 23:04

Hi CinnamonStix. My DD who is now 4 was puzzle mad for a while around the same age. We found Ravensburger puzzles really good - we picked up lots of boxes of 3 x 49 pieces from car boot sales and charity shops. You'll probably find that your DS can do puzzles with more pieces than that but it all gets a bit tedious with too many pieces spread out over too large an area so it's not as much fun.

The one DD played with most was a tube of Looney Tunes 5 x 24 pieces. There's one on ebay at the mo - item no 330744773114 (no that's not me selling it!). I separated them out initially but then I just used to tip them out in one big pile and let her get on with it. Not sure of educational value but bought me plenty of time to get dinner on. Plus the tube is a bonus as boxes always seem to break at the corners.

DD is bright but can't read etc yet like a fair few at her pre-school so I'd agree with scarlettsmummy2 that it probably means bright but not spectacularly so. Though clearly I wouldn't be looking at the G & T page if I didn't think it might still be a possibility!


lindsell · 08/06/2012 23:22

My ds1 (3.2) has been v into puzzles since he was about 18mths, the 24 piece ones he could do easily by 2.5 so we moved on to 30-60 piece ones, orchard toys do some nice ones as do ravensburger. When he starts getting bored with a puzzle he'll turn it over to just the plain back of the pieces and do it that way to make it more challenging Hmm I got him a 150 piece for his 3rd bday and he can do that easily now. Apparently I was the same as a child.

As your ds is interested definitely try him with more challenging ones, I was surprised by what ds1 could do! Ravensburger do nice sets of 3 with sizes I think 24, 35 & 49 which might be a good next step.


fatfloosie · 09/06/2012 07:44

Ah now lindsell when I was doing the whole "is my child a genius" thing over the puzzles I did read something on the internet that said turning them over to make them more difficult is a sign of giftedness. DD never did it Smile


TheSurgeonsMate · 09/06/2012 10:52

Apparently at speed jigsaw competitions most competitors do this as the pictures (which would be those REALLY hard one of a pile of baked beans or something) aren't helping. At that level it's all about the shapes.

None too relevant, but a bit of jigsaw triv for you.


HeadsShouldersKneesandToes · 09/06/2012 11:02

DS at 2.5 went puzzle crazy and went from 24 to 36, 48 and even 60 piece puzzles over the next couple of months all of which he did very quickly. He then, at about 2.8, just completely went off puzzles and now just jumps on the pieces when we get one out (even if its a newer one that he can't possibly be bored of). We reckon that it was a particular phase of brain development when he was learning about putting things together, and once that phase of development was over he started being interested in other things instead.


bruffin · 09/06/2012 11:11

I am a bit further down the road as Dd is now 14.
She was g&t for maths and it in primary.
In secondary she is top set for maths and gets included in g&t days for maths,it, music and art.
She is very sharp witted but a bit scatty.


CinnamonStix · 09/06/2012 20:28

fatfloosie Thanks for the Ebay item code, will check it out.

lindsell Wow, 150 pieces by three? That's impressive. I also read somewhere that gifted children can do them without the picture.

Most of our puzzles are Ravensburger, they're really good quality and they have several puzzles in one box. Have a couple of ELC ones too, which are good but they're floor puzzles.

I know puzzles aren't exactly the defining measure of whether a child is G&T, but I like to think that it is good progress, and if anything it shows good motor skills, concentration, etc.

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