That's Puzzling!

Our youngest child LOVES reading Garfield and working puzzles, 
so this was The. Most. Perfect. gift:

Christmas morning 2011

He got this 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, which, in turn, gave him time, LOTS of time, with his dad (who VERY reluctantly agreed to help him with what he referred to as a "ridiculous puzzle"). 

I love that Joshua loves jigsaw puzzles because working them aids with short-term memory because we have to retain information on shapes and colors as we choose the perfect-fit pieces. Monica Dennis explains it really well in guest post over at the Intentional Caregiver. Basically, the process of putting a puzzle together forces the logical left side of the brain to work in tandem with the creative right side of the brain which results in the production of dopamine. That's the neurotransmitter that regulates mood (look at how relaxed they look!) and affects concentration and motivation. They tried several times to get me to play work with them, but my only success came when I found the piece that John was certain was missing -- not in that chaos of pieces that all look the same to me, but by itself, hiding, on the floor!  

Like knitting, puzzles can be addicting (Joshua could not WAIT to find that next piece and I found him at the table by himself many times during the week!) because of the chemical that this type of challenge triggers. The end result?

New Year's Eve 2011

There's nothing puzzling about the benefits of a week's worth of father-son bonding time. Just one more piece, guys!

Oh, and they inspired this bulletin board:


  1. Good Morning, Barbara:
    Your school (schools?) are SO lucky to have you! We don't have a counselor, and had one for only a day/week last year who said, "My job is to do paperwork."
    There are so many kids who need so much. SIGH.
    I LOVE your bulletin boards. And I love puzzles. And sudoku. And TETRIS (so organized!).
    I wish I could stay home today and do puzzles instead of going to school!

    Happy Day, my friend!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. My son also loves puzzles. He's up to 48 pieces...not too bad for a 4 yr old. He loves to do them by himself and has a great collection. I love the bulletin board. :)

  3. LOVE this - I have great memories of doing puzzles with my dad! (although the poor guy was stuck doing puzzles of ballerinas all the time). ;)

    Runde's Room

  4. Hello Barbara!

    Please come by my page to pick up your newest award. :)

    Always Live.Laugh.Teach


  5. WOW! I bet that was such a proud moment for your son when he finished....the puzzle looked HARD!!


  6. Love the bulletin board, I think this would be great to put in my "Alaska: A Place To Chill Out" spot in my room for students to reflect on how they are feeling :) Thanks for the great idea :)

    Lisa :) (new follower)


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