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Toys aren’t merely devices made to keep your busy little bee while you finish folding laundry. True, some do just that, but many toys are created as educational tools to teach your children and help them develop better physical, organizational, emotional and social skills. For example, introducing your child to puzzles early on is not only a great, essential way to ensure he or she get the hang of figuring out fun stuff now, but that they also succeed in the great puzzle that is life.

More benefits of playing with puzzles include the development of great hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, plus shape recognition and problem solving. Puzzles also help children learn about their place in this world and their surroundings while they also become socially confident creatures.

Puzzles also encourage little ones to set goals and achieve them, which then promotes the emergence of self esteem —and lot of it. And maybe, one day, they’ll also do their own laundry! Til then, let’s do some puzzles.

1. First Puzzle – Treehouse

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Great for building self-esteem, this puzzle is large, which is great for sweet little hands, and it’s foam, which makes it easy for wee fingers to grip. Encouraging hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development, it’s designed to really get into the brain and improve cognition, logic, and reasoning.

2. Sensory Puzzle Blocks

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Nice and vibrantly colored, these puzzle blocks help develop fine and gross motor skills while improving hand-eye coordination. They’re textured, too, so as to provide tactile and visual sensory input. Stack, build, and assemble the foam pieces with friends and family to improve social skills.

3. Tot’s First Chunky Pegs

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Again, here’s a puzzle that’s made to help your child develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This 20-piece set is designed for tots 12-months old and up to stack, sort, match, and build away with the chunky pegs and pegboard.

4. Edushape Play Mat

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Now here’s a cool concept: use six-by-six foam alpha-numerical puzzle pieces to get your little darling’s logic, reasoning, and motor skills running AND build a fort! With 36 pieces to play with in total, it’ll be easy for your sweetie to get lost in a little world of numbers, letters, and learning. Creating a whimsical box full of fun, this colorful, soft, easy-to-clean floor mat has endless learning possibilities, not to mention it’s also a great insulator for cold floors. Once assembled, the mat is 72”x72” big and is perfect for designating a specific play area in the home.

5. First Puzzle – Fun Forrest

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This large foam puzzle has 10 pieces that are easy to grip so they work wonderfully with little fingers. While building self-esteem, this puzzle also encourages hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development and improves motor skills, cognition, logic and reasoning. And when joined by friends and family, it can also do wonders for your child’s social skills. Did we mention it features all of your favorite forest creatures?

 

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What will be your kid’s first or next adventure in the wonderful world of puzzles? Leave us a comment or drop by our Facebook page to tell us all about it!

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iStock_000010808203_LargeAfter-school activities are good for your child with special needs. They open your child to the outside world without the difficulties you may experience at school. They give everyone a break from school and medical routines with no requirement to achieve any set goal, and they are fun! Children with special needs may even learn new human values and surpass their own limits. Regardless, they will still have a good time and that is what really matters. There are a lot of adapted activities to choose from.

Katia's pictures 7Arts in general are a great choice because they are taught in a rather calm environment, they let everyone express their creativity with no shame, and they even offer a valuable sensory input. The spectrum of these activities is very large: from graphic arts, to music, to cooking classes, there is surely something for every child! Participants are asked to follow some rules but it is OK to get different results, so your child cannot go wrong. In the same spirit, youth organizations (such as scouts movements, religious groups or other types of organizations) let children grow and find their own personality while gaining independence.

793517_1Some sports may also be adapted to your child. Swimming, dancing, gymnastics and yoga are particularly suited as they offer rather soft physical exercise and they let the participants reach their own limits. Some team sports may be adapted as well but you would have to speak with the coach and see if your child can truly be integrated in the team with no risk to be harmed. If that is possible, those sports will teach your child a valuable sense of teamwork.

Kids SoccerIn any case, don’t forget to talk to your child’s health provider before you sign your child up to any of those activities. Also, think about contacting non-profit organizations specialized in integrating your child in after-school activities. The only difficulty will be to make your choice!

What about you? Which activity do you like the best for your child with special needs?

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