Current Obsession: Puzzles

Oct 13, 2014

We have a new obsession around here: It's PUZZLES (as in, the jigsaw variety).

Back in June when we made our summer goals, you might remember that they were broken down into three categories: educational, practical, and fun. In the fun department, the boys decided to improve their puzzle skills.

We took their current abilities and upped them just a little. Bradley's skills had been restricted to puzzles within a frame, so he made the goal to complete a 24-piece free standing puzzle. Maxwell went with a 100-piece puzzle. And Aaron's goal was to complete a 200-piece puzzle.

It helped that, coinciding perfectly with these goals, my mom came out for a visit to help with baby Clark and took the boys to the store and let them pick out a 24-piece, 100-piece, and 200-piece puzzle, respectively. Nothing like a brand-new dragon puzzle to provide a little motivation.

Within a couple of weeks, all three of them had completed their puzzle goals. But the puzzle frenzy didn't stop. They took apart their puzzles and did them again. Then they took them apart and did them again. And again. And again.

They dug out all our old, forgotten puzzles and put them together. Aaron's birthday came mid-summer, and he received four puzzles as gifts. We visited my parents in Colorado and borrowed another stack.

And still the frenzy continued.

About a month ago, Bradley's skills began to improve rapidly. He was getting bored with his 24-piece options and so branched out to 48-pieces. Then he got bored with those and tried one with 60-pieces. Then he did one with 100-pieces. And finally, just last weekend, he completed a 200-piece puzzle. All by himself. I was kind of in shock.

(As a side note, my mom has long bragged about my younger brother doing a 200-piece puzzle when he was two years old. I was kind of hoping Bradley would knock him from his pedestal, but alas, Bradley turned three two weeks before doing a 200-piece puzzle. My brother's fame is safe. (At least until Clark gets a little older . . . ))

Anyway, the only person that hasn't jumped fully on the puzzle bandwagon is Mike . . . until last night, that is.

Earlier in the week, I found a 500-piece puzzle at Saver's. It was mint in the box and depicted an adorable autumn/Halloween scene--perfect for this time of year. I thought it would be fun for us to put together as a family.

Truth be told, I became a little addicted to it. It was just so relaxing to kneel on the floor and look for matching patterns and shapes. Mike laughed at me every time he saw me snapping pieces together . . . especially when there weren't any children in sight.

But then, last night after the kids were in bed, I sat down to do it, and pretty soon Mike came over and put in one piece, and then another, and before he even knew what was happening, he'd felt the magnetic pull of "just one more piece." He couldn't stop, and neither could I, and we conquered that 500-piece puzzle. Just the two of us. It was so much fun. He claims it was just because he wanted his wife back, but I know better.

At the beginning of the summer, I thought the puzzle obsession would just be a phase that would end after the boys became bored with their new puzzles. But now we're four months in, and I can't tell that it's ending anytime soon. (If anything's going to end it, it's going to be Clark. Once he starts moving, I highly doubt he's going to let us keep a puzzle out on the coffee table without disturbing it.)

It's not uncommon for us to have one or two puzzles in progress with two or three more waiting "on deck" under the table. The boys love putting one together while I read aloud to them in the evening, and it's also a great quiet time activity.  Once they've finished a hard one, they like to take apart one corner or several rows on an edge and do them again. It's the activity that just keeps on giving, and I hope it never stops.

Any other puzzle lovers out there? How do you incorporate this activity into your daily life? Do you have a specific spot in your home set aside for puzzles-in-progress? Which brands do you like the best? With Christmas just around the corner, I'm going to start stocking up . . . don't tell Mike!


  1. When christopher was 4 we completed an 1000 piece Provo puzzle that we picked up at DI for $2. All the pieces were there! Since Michael started crawling 5 years ago we haven't gotten into them. I'm afraid my 2&5 yr old would mess them up just for hlfun. Any tips? Also, how do you keep from losing pieces. I would never borrow a puzzle cuz we always lose pieces

  2. That is awesome! You've got me wondering if my boys would like puzzles because we've never tried jigsaw puzzles before.

  3. I love puzzles and occasionally will get the big ones out to let the older kids work on one with me. It's tricky to find a way to do it without a little one "helping" though. We love the Ravensburger puzzles, all of which we've gotten as gifts.

  4. I love doing puzzles too! And happily, Ella is at a stage where she really enjoys them. The best with an audiobook :)

  5. When I was a kid, I absolutely loved puzzles. In college, during winter break I would get a 1000 piece puzzle to do.


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