Library Blog

Kendriya Vidyalaya Port Trust, Kochi

Puzzles for the mental development of kids

A century ago Sam Lloyd, America’s greatest puzzler, said “I have always treated and considered puzzles from an educational standpoint, for the reason that they constitute a species of mental gymnastics which sharpen the wits and train the mind to reason along straight lines.”

A child’s IQ and scholastic performance always depend on the quality of intellectual stimulation and social environment. As a teacher I feel that puzzles are an often neglected, but commonly available, resource.

Puzzles are often an individual activity, requiring a high degree of concentration for an extended period of time. Such fascinating mysteries can captivate a child’s mind — and in the end the success is theirs alone! It is a wonderful way for children to gain confidence in their own growing abilities.

Puzzles develop social and literary skills
Puzzles can also be an enjoyable family or group activity. These games can promote collaboration for strategies, observation, teamwork and a sense of collective achievement.
Picture puzzles give excellent opportunities for conversation between child and parent, and between children. It also promotes “self-talk” which helps children develop their own language skills. Puzzles are an excellent way to introduce new words and concepts in a comfortable setting.

Parents can groom their kids while doing puzzles with them. Children can develop social and moral skills while having fun.

How to select a good puzzle?
Kids often enjoy doing puzzles that seem “easy” to elders — but the puzzle is just right for them. They may even do the same puzzles over and over again. The important thing with puzzles is experiencing success and mastery of logic in a entertaining, non-frustrating way.

All puzzles develop patterning and problem solving skills and will increase your child’s self-confidence.

As a teacher for many years, I know from experience that there is an educational value in all types of puzzles. The skills acquired and practiced in completing picture puzzles are a fundamental part of successful learning. Doing puzzles develops several functions of the brain simultaneously as a child is engaged but also learns. Most notably developed in this learning process are the abilities to reason, deduce, analyze, sequence, and develop logical thought and problem solving skills.

Children will move to harder puzzles when they are ready. Some children move quickly through puzzles while others will take their time. Children should be encouraged to do puzzles at whatever level to enjoy repeated feeling of success. Puzzles should be designed so that children can easily advance through various stages of puzzle difficulty. Puzzles are an excellent activity to enable kids to think critically.

I fully agree with Lloyd, and believe this prince of puzzles was most apt in saying that “Puzzles are a school for cleverness and ingenuity”.

[This article is by Mr.S.Muraleedharan, who has worked as a Maths Teacher in Kendriya Vidyalaya Port Trust for several years. The author conducts motivational sessions both for students and teachers. He handles the column “Work it Out” for school children in Deccan Chronicle.]

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Children Write To God

The following letters express that part of a child’s world reserved for special thoughts and wishes. Some letters are disarmingly wise, others naive; some are knowing, some simple. Many are wieghted with seriousness; others are lit with smiles. All of them are addressed to God with much hope and trust.

Dear GOD,
In school they told us what you do. Who does it when you are on vacations?
– Jane

Dear GOD,
Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?
– Norma

Dear GOD,
Who draws the lines around countries?
– Nan

Dear GOD,
Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.
– Joyce

Dear GOD,
Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, you can look it up.
– Bruce

Dear GOD,
If you watch me in chruch Sunday, I’ll show you my new shoes.
– Mickey

Dear GOD,
I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it.
– Nan

Compiled by Stuart Hample and Eric Marshall in Chicken soup for the mother’s soul (Available in your library).

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Book Highlight

Told in diary form by an irresistible heroine, this playful and perceptive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the May Bird trilogy sparkles with science, myth, magic, and the strange beauty of the everyday marvels we sometimes forget to notice.

Spirited, restless Gracie Lockwood has lived in Cliffden, Maine, her whole life. She’s a typical girl in an atypical world: one where sasquatches helped to win the Civil War, where dragons glide over Route 1 on their way south for the winter (sometimes burning down a T.J. Maxx or an Applebee’s along the way), where giants hide in caves near LA and mermaids hunt along the beaches, and where Dark Clouds come for people when they die.

To Gracie it’s all pretty ho-hum…until a Cloud comes looking for her little brother Sam, turning her small-town life upside down. Determined to protect Sam against all odds, her parents pack the family into a used Winnebago and set out on an epic search for a safe place that most people say doesn’t exist: The Extraordinary World. It’s rumored to lie at the ends of the earth, and no one has ever made it there and lived to tell the tale. To reach it, the Lockwoods will have to learn to believe in each other—and to trust that the world holds more possibilities than they’ve ever imagined.

Book info & cover courtesy: