Friday, February 23, 2018

Puzzles, Puzzles, Puzzles

Sometimes, even spring brings us days where the weather is questionable, and being inside is preferable to being outside. On those days, you’ll be pulling your hair out for something to do that is fun, worthwhile, and doesn’t “break the bank.” Here’s such an activity. 

Chances are, you have most of the supplies on hand and only need to gather them into one spot. You will likely want to do this activity over two days or over a morning and afternoon, since glue needs to dry. 


-- Several magazines with full page, colored pictures (the more “complicated” and large the pictures, the better) 

-- Card stock (or even tablet backs) on which to mount the pictures 

-- Liquid white glue (Elmer’s?), preferably the washable kind 

-- Scissors or craft knife (The craft knife should only be used by an adult or a much older child) 

-- Fine tipped black markers 

-- Table cover (plastic is better than newspaper this time) 

-- Smocks or aprons to protect clothing 

-- Large (4”x 6” or larger) envelopes to store puzzles (one for each) 

-- Damp cloth for smoothing glued surface 



First Work Period: 

1. Each child chooses a picture (or pictures) for his/her puzzle. I encourage more than one. It will be more fun later. 

2. Neatly trim the picture if necessary and spread the back with glue. This step needs to be carefully supervised since the entire surface needs to be covered, but the paper should not be soaked. A border may or may not be left according to taste. If there is a border, it will make it easier to put the puzzles together later, so you may want the border for younger children.  

3. The picture is mounted on the cardstock and carefully smoothed. You do not want wrinkles or bubbles. Smoothing carefully from the center to the edges with a damp cloth will achieve the desired effect and even young children can learn to do this, but they must be helped/supervised. 


Second Work Period (When the pictures are COMPLETELY dry): 

1. First with pencil, then with the black markers, draw lines on the pictures to be cut apart as the puzzle pieces. These can be as elaborate or as simple as your children’s abilities and drawing/cutting skills dictate. If you have children who really get into this activity, they may want to put in the loops and notches of true jigsaw puzzles. Others may opt for all straight and curved lines to make the cutting easier. Note: If your child chooses elaborate lines, they will definitely be more easily cut with the craft knife than with the scissors. 

2. CAREFULLY cut the puzzle apart on the lines that have been drawn. 

3. Label the envelopes and store each puzzle in its own envelope. Careful labeling of the envelopes will make it easier to choose the preferred puzzle when it’s time to put it together. If each child does more than one puzzle, you will have enough for a fun play period on rainy days. 


Play Time: 

Each child chooses a puzzle and puts it together. It is more fun if, at first, the puzzle is one that the child did not create, since it will be more of a challenge. Also, If you have the ability and the puzzles are sufficiently difficult, you might want to take a small picture with your phone, print it, and put it in or on the envelope for reference (like the boxes of commercial puzzles). 




Sherryl LaPointe, a retired teacher and children’s minister, lives with her husband, Harris, and dog, Muffin, in Gulfport. They enjoy frequent visits from their daughter, Linette. Sherryl enjoys pursuing many hobbies including crafts, art and writing.

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