Helpful Parenting Tips
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What’s in a Puzzle?


>> Expert Advice from our ECE Expert: Kim Davies <<

Think about a basic, easy toddler puzzle. You know, like the one with the wooden numbers or farm animals with the bright colours and knobs to hold onto? At first, a toddler may look at the puzzle with interest and just feel the knobs. The next time they play with the puzzle, they may just take the puzzle apart and leave all the pieces scattered about on the floor. This is developmentally typical.

        With some quality “floor time” spent with an adult, the toddler may be prompted to discuss what objects are in the puzzle (shapes, animals, numbers), their colours and characteristics. Yet, even though the adult puts the pieces back into the puzzle board, the toddler will likely continue to take apart the puzzle pieces, without putting them back in.

As frustrating as this may be for the adult, they must remain patient with the toddler. In time, after having several interactions and discussions about the same puzzle, eventually the toddler will begin to want to put the puzzle pieces back to where they belong. Developmentally, a toddler needs to be cognitively ready to take this step and will not reach that stage without the opportunities for repeated practice.


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Nikki is the owner/director of Seasons Family Centre. She completed a diploma in photography at Fanshawe College, followed by a degree in psychology at the University of Western Ontario. Shortly after she finished a post-graduate diploma at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute. She is a Registered Canadian Art Therapist. Over the next few years she extended her education through various courses in psychology, counselling and play therapy at George Brown College, Hincks Delcrest and Cross Country Education. For the past several years Nikki has been running art programs all across the city of Toronto at various schools, community centres, libraries and private homes. She also runs play therapy groups at Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Offices as well as private art therapy sessions. Nikki has taken several courses in baking and cake decorating through the Wilton certification program.

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