My girls love finding Easter eggs, so I had the idea of hiding puzzle pieces in them instead of candy. This might be a fun way to give kids a new puzzle on Easter. Or it can just be a fun non-treat egg hunt you can have around your house any day.
Confession: my original idea was to hide regular puzzle pieces in the eggs, but they didn’t fit. 😦 Never fear! This Melissa & Doug alphabet puzzle worked perfectly. Plus it had the added learning component of identifying the letter found in the egg and then finding its spot in the alphabet.
- Place puzzle pieces in eggs and hide around the room (or outside).
- Bring in the kids and let them look for eggs!
- After finding an egg, the kiddo needs to run over to the puzzle and put in her piece before she hunts for another egg.
- To make it fair for younger players, you might want to have kids take turns finding eggs and adding pieces to the puzzle. One kid can’t go find a second egg until everyone has found their first egg and so on.
This morning Big Sis was working on a project out of her Thomas magazine. It was a cutting activity with all the different pieces of Thomas and then you glued on all the pieces to make a train. Little Sis was feeling a little left out, but she isn’t proficient with scissors yet. Then I had an idea! Every magazine has a pull-out poster of Thomas and other trains, and we never do anything with it. So I cut it out and made my own puzzle pieces out of it. Then Little Sis could glue them together to make her own Thomas. (Don’t ask me why she is dressed as a zebra today.)
Here is the finished product. She couldn’t be convinced to turn the bottom piece around so that the tracks would be on the bottom. Long ago, I learned you can’t reason with a two-year-old, so I let it be.
Making your own puzzle pieces would be easy to do with any large magazine or calendar picture. In fact, I’ve already made puzzles with calendars but I used the traditional puzzle piece shapes. I think I like this way better.
Puzzles are fun toys that help kids with spatial development and motor development. Some studies have shown playing with puzzles at an early age helps kids mentally transform objects (a skill needed in science and math careers) when they are older.
- Get calendar or magazine pictures. It is best to use large pictures of familiar objects. I used animals.
- Glue pictures onto colored card stock. This is for durability and sort-ability (that’s a word, I swear).
- Draw puzzles pieces with a ruler on the card stock and cut out. That’s it!
Note: I’d say a two-piece puzzle is good for a one-year old, 4 pieces for a two-year-old, 6 pieces for a three-year-old, and so on. Of course it depends on the kid and the picture.
If you use different colors of paper for the back, it doesn’t matter if the puzzles get mixed up. They can be easily sorted by color….which is another great activity for little ones!
My favorite part is all six puzzles fit into a ziploc bag! Now it is super easy to store at your house, or toss in your purse for a waiting-at-a-restaurant activity.
- calendar or magazine
- ruler (or freehand if you are really wild and crazy)
Time investment: about 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easier than baking cookies…and less calories, too!