Last year I took my daughter to England for her second visit to my home country. While there, a friend’s daughter gave her a beautiful book of puzzles. At 3 years old, I knew she was too young for that difficult a puzzle and kept it in storage until today.
Now 4 years old, she still struggled with the puzzles themselves. It was her first attempt at something so complicated. She dove into the pile of pieces, randomly matching and becoming frustrated when they wouldn’t fit together. I did wonder whether I had been too optimistic, but the hour we spent at the kitchen table gave us a great chance for meaningful and productive communication.
The puzzle book is full of very detailed and colourful drawings. We began by looking for the four corner pieces and built up the edges from there. She was post lunch drowsy and needed help at almost every stage, but that gave me many chances to use language I would never normally use in our day-to-day routine when describing the next piece to look for.
After puzzles, we did what we often do on Sundays and went to the park.
I’m fairly sure that the puzzle book is not something she could have completed by herself on the first try. Even after today she will probably prefer a little help. However, in a few days or weeks time she will no longer need my help to complete today’s or any other jigsaw puzzles, and I will have to find something else to challenge her with.
Children like mine have far more opportunities to learn in the language of the country they live in, so I was glad that I was the one who introduced her to something new today.