Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Today Is National Puzzle Day!

January 29th has been declared National Puzzle Day!  Have you noticed that puzzles aren't for everyone?  You know, some people will sit for hours to complete a 1000 piece puzzle, while some have trouble completing the 100 piece puzzle with their children. Perhaps the disinterest in puzzles is because it's a bit challenging.  Does that seem silly?  Well, if we consider the demands of completing a puzzle, it makes sense.  Not only does putting the pieces together require fine motor coordination, eye-hand coordination and problem-solving skills, but it also requires a great deal of visual perceptual skills, specifically:  spatial relations, visual closure and figure ground.  No kidding!  Let's take a closer look at these visual perceptual skills.

Spatial Relationships:  The ability to determine how something differs from the other similar objects or forms.  It allows us to recognize that one part of a form is turned in a different direction from the others.  This is finding that right puzzle piece and figuring out how it fits in with the rest.  

Visual Closure:  The ability to imagine a completed design or a whole picture when it is incomplete. This allows us to recognize the form or shape when the whole picture is not available to us.  So, when we have the border of the puzzle finished, but there is a gaping hole in the inside.

Figure Ground:  The ability to pick out details or find something among others in a busy background.  Can you find that puzzle piece you're looking for among all others on the table?

Since it's a snow day, today is a great day to break out a puzzle! When they come in to put their gloves in the dryer, gather the kids around the table and have them work together to complete a puzzle!

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L

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