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Evolution of Puzzles Age 1 to 2: Part Two 18 to 24 Months

In Part One, I explored some of the puzzles that Nora, my puzzle crazy 26-month-old, used between 12 and 18 months. As I said in that post, the age ranges are approximate in these posts. She used many of these puzzles for many months at a time and her interest in shelf work would come and go as she focused on gross motor and practical life work. 


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Before I share the next puzzles I introduced, I just wanted to share a few tips on what to look for when purchasing Montessori friendly puzzles. For me, I look for a few things when purchasing puzzles: 
  • Natural Materials -- this isn't always possible, but I try to stick with wooden puzzles at this age. I think they hold up better and are just more beautiful and inviting. 

  • Realistic Images -- Toddlers are interested in reality, they want things they can recognize, name and see. The more realistic the better. You won't find any fantasy puzzles in my toddler collection and I try (although it is hard to find new puzzles like this) to use as realistic of images as possible, skipping cartoons altogether if I can. 

  • Developmentally Appropriate -- You won't find alphabet or number puzzles in my toddler collection. These are not, in my opinion, developmentally necessary for such young toddlers. 
Now, on to the puzzles we used (and many we are still using) starting at 18-months:

Tiny Knobs -- abstract picture

As Nora was working with the tiny knobbed puzzles, I wanted to move her a bit toward abstraction. So, I pulled out these puzzles where the pictures under were not an exact match of the pictures above. This forced her to focus as much on the shape of the piece as the image. She really enjoyed this challenge. These were introduced around 22 months.


Pictured: Hape Transportation Puzzle {alternative}

No Pictures Puzzles

Again, as we moved toward abstraction with Nora, I wanted puzzles that only focused on the shape of the pieces and not matching at all. And, I took lots of steps at this point. First, very defined shapes, then indents where the shapes go and finally no hints about where things fit. These puzzles are all vintage and therefore, it's been hard to find nice Montessori friendly alternatives. I've done my best, but if you know of others let me know in the comments! At 26-months old Nora is still working through these puzzles -- especially the last one. I started these puzzles right before her second birthday, and still rotate through them regularly.


Pictured: Vintage vegetables puzzle -- this one I wish had knobs, its hard to get the pieces out without dumping {alternative fruit puzzle; large set of puzzles}; Vintage transportation/food puzzles; Vintage Farm Puzzle {sort of close -- frame puzzle}

2-Piece Jigsaw ~ 3 Piece Puzzles ~ 4 Piece Puzzles

After Nora was starting to get the hang of some of the picture-less puzzles, I introduced these simple jigsaw puzzles. The 2-piece puzzles are the one puzzle where I wish I had introduced them earlier with Nora -- probably at the same time as the abstract knobs, or right after. By the time I gave her these there was no challenge left. The same day I gave them, she was able to sit and do the whole box (like 15+ matches) all at once. The other two puzzles have been a bit more of a challenge and probably introduced at just the right time. She is still very interested in doing all of these at the moment.


Pictured: 2-piece Match It vehicle puzzles; 3-piece magnetic puzzles; 4-piece vehicle puzzle board

Simple Picture Puzzles

These simple picture puzzles are only a few pieces each but come together to form interesting pictures without a ton of guidance. These are Nora's jam right now. I introduced slightly after her 2nd birthday and she had no interest. Two months later she would love a 100 of these right now! I bought the boat thinking it would be a bit easy for her but actually, its chunky pieces and more abstract picture are proving to be a nice challenge right now as well.


Pictured: Vintage Puzzles -- there really are not very many great substitutes for these incredible puzzles, so look everywhere for these, eBay can sometimes be a good source if you're willing to pay a premium {not exactly the same, but the best I could find -- puzzle set; alternative chunky animals}; Chunky Boat Puzzle

Larger Jigsaws ~ Larger Picture Puzzles 

These have been the latest puzzles I've introduced to Nora. Like the smaller jigsaws, these jigsaws could probably have been introduced a bit earlier than they were, since she was able to complete even the 6-piece one by herself from day 1. The more complicated picture puzzles were introduced by accident. I purchased a new one at a consignment sale and hadn't put it away when Nora discovered it. She needed some help putting it together but did eventually get it, much to my surprise. So these are now in our rotation at 26-months.


Pictured: Multi piece jigsaw set; Vintage picture puzzles -- these are still the best I've found {alternative butterfly; alternative plane puzzle; alternative polar bear; pilot puzzle}

Next up on our puzzle list will be more complicated 12, 24 piece jigsaws and layer puzzles. I don't anticipate that we will move up to them quite yet, but Nora will be my guide! I'll keep you updated!

What types of Montessori-friendly puzzles have you used at this age? Any great ones that I'm missing? 

Don't miss Part One of this series: Evolution of Puzzles Age 1 to 2: Part One 12 to 18 Months 

Comments

Mohati said…
Great write up! Thanks a lot for sharing.
Where do you find all these beautiful vintage puzzles?
Paul Smith said…
Yes, these are the games we bought her baby for the development and http://custom-writing.services/ education

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