For today’s adults and youth alike, electronic screens have become dominant. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, computer games, and more occupy more and more daily hours of activity, but while engaging, these screens can wear out the eyes, use up electricity, and can form addictive and anti-social behavior over time. One possible solution is to go old-fashioned, from paper books to practicing drawing to jigsaw puzzles. Whether it’s with easy puzzles, moderately difficult puzzles (such as 500 piece jigsaw puzzles), or difficult puzzles, these simple toys can work wonders for a child’s or adult’s brain alike.

The Size of a Puzzle

Different puzzles for different ages and intended difficulty are abundant. 500 piece jigsaw puzzles may be a good starting place, being big enough to challenge the player but small enough to still be manageable at the same time. 300 piece puzzles may be more suitable or beginners or casual puzzle players, while 1000 piece puzzle frames offer a big challenge and a 2000 piece puzzle is a whopper. In fact, a small group of cooperating players may be needed to solve such large puzzles, and players can divvy up the work as needed. There may be even bigger puzzles out there than that, and world records have been set with enormous puzzles containing incredible numbers of pieces, solved either by a solo player or on groups. Any of those puzzles put 500 piece jigsaw puzzles to shame.

The Science of Puzzles

Although fun, puzzle are more than a novelty; they have many psychological and physical, neuron-based benefits as well for players young and old. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for incentives and the reward center of the brain. Putting together a puzzle, such as a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle, can also relax the brain and even put it into a meditative state. In today’s hectic world, it can be a cheap and fun way to get away from it all. Also, according to Think Fun, jigsaw puzzles can boost hand-eye coordination (as many sports do), develops problem-solving skills (especially for kids), and improves visual-perceptive skills. Older adults who often use puzzles may be at lower risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Attention spans, memory, and patience can also be built, which are essential skills for an sort of work.

Completing 500 piece jigsaw puzzles or smaller can be especially beneficial for younger kids, whose brains and minds are still developing, and these toys can act as essential mental workouts. According to Learning 4 Kids , cognitive development can be greatly boosted with the detail-oriented, problem-solving nature of a jigsaw puzzle, not to mention general awareness and understanding of connected themes and how different pieces can make up one whole. Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are still developing for someone at this stage of life, and 500 piece jigsaw puzzles or smaller can develop these skills anytime. Working together on a puzzle with other kids can boost a child’s teamwork and coordination skills, and a child can feel a great sense of reward upon finishing a puzzle, which can teach the value of hard work and the payoff that comes at the end.

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