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HHS HealthBeat (July 2, 2012)

Solving puzzles early on

A mother and daughter work on a puzzle together.
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.

Kids who play with puzzles with their parents have a better ability to understand problems involving physical shapes and spaces. Researchers observed kids, ages 2 to 4, who played with puzzles, both simple shape problems and more complex jigsaw puzzles.

Dr. Susan Levine is a professor in the department of psychology at the University of Chicago.

“Through gesture, they can indicate that they need a straight edge piece and use those words and those kinds of interactions will lead to increasing children’s spatial thinking.”

Other research has found that the ability to solve puzzles at a young age relates to later success in math.

The study in the journal Developmental Science was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Nicholas Garlow.

Last revised: July 2, 2012