Create a puzzle at the math center. Let the child select a picture she likes from a magazine, old calendar, or used greeting card.
Have the child cut her picture in half, then cut each half in half. Have her put the pieces back together. (This should be easy and give her the idea of what she is doing.) Now tell her, “You get to make these pieces into a puzzle for your friends to put together. Cut each of your four pieces into three pieces of any shape you want.” Once she has done this, have her put together her own puzzle. She can then take turns putting together her friend’s puzzles. (Have non-slippery place mats to hold the pieces in place.)
The child will be able to put together own puzzle by recognizing the figure and the corresponding sides of the pieces. She may have more difficulty with a novel one, but should be able to figure it out.
Most children love putting together puzzles. Making puzzles is unique and motivating. Make sure they don’t cut the puzzles into more than 12 pieces at first. Give children plenty of time to do all kinds of puzzles, including floor puzzles, 3-D puzzles, and interlocking puzzles.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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