Team Puzzle Play

Toddler Puzzle Play activity

We are kind of puzzle lovers around here.  I have loved them since I was a little girl (although I don’t get to work on them often enough anymore).  And G has been interested and has shown an aptitude for puzzles from a very young age.  W came up right behind her loving to work on puzzles, too!  But have you ever tried to do a puzzle with someone else and found yourself hoarding the last piece – so you can be the one to finish it?  Well, my girls have a tendency to create arguments over doing puzzles together.  So I came up with a fun little team building game using some very basic puzzles for the girls.  And it was a big hit!  This game has made puzzle play a lot more enjoyable and has really helped them to learn to work together.

You may have seen these new puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers that are so basic – they only have two pieces to each puzzle.  And each puzzle box comes with multiple puzzles to work on.  We have a few:




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The girls have been playing with our sets for a while, both independently and together.  But sometimes they start to struggle to play together without arguing.  So, I decided to create a game to build on a number of concepts for my toddler (2) and preschooler (4).  It is crazy simple, but it helps to develop so many necessary skills for them.  Here’s what we do:

puzzle play activity for toddlers and preschoolers

1. Separate the puzzle pieces into two categories and lay them out on opposite sides of a rug, a room, the dinner table (wherever).

2. Tell the girls you have a game for them to play.  Assign them each a side.  Tell them they are going to take turns picking a puzzle piece (in our case it is an animal) and then telling the other what they have and asking them if they can find one, too.

The conversation goes something like this:

“I found a PIG.  Can you find a PIG?”

3. Ask them to meet together in the middle and put the puzzle pieces together.

Puzzle play - a toddler and preschool activity

4.  Have them take turns, repeating the conversation, “I found…Can you find…?”


This activity helps our girls to learn:

– to follow instructions

– to take turns

– to listen to one another

– to identify animals

– to work together to accomplish something


It also can be a gross motor activity to help burn off some energy by doing the following things:

– spreading their stations far apart, so they have to walk to one another in the middle

– encouraging them to act out their chosen animal’s walk on the way to the middle


This can be adapted to work with the other puzzles that are pictured above, just by changing the conversation a little bit, depending on the puzzle you have.

Toddler activity to encourage playing well with one another, puzzle play

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