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Puzzles are great for kids

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 02-01-2013

I’m loving the puzzle I got for Christmas. It’s a 1000-piece version of the New Yorker cover Maira Kalman did shortly after 9/11 called “Newyorkistan.” She translates the city of New York and it’s five boroughs into an exotic land filled with exotic names and a camel named Stan. My son and I have been working on it diligently, with the (sometimes) help of my wife and daughter. I love the way puzzles allow for parallel work and idle conversation. My son is 8, so a lot of his questions are just random things he thinks of during the day, or his pronouncements on Star Wars or Skylander Giants lore. He asks me a lot about vocabulary he discovers in Minecraft, but we mostly just marvel at the magic of finding the “right” piece and how it so satisfactorily fits into the open spaces. This is the same feeling we get when we do LEGOs together, recognizing the common memes, finding the right pieces, feeling that wonderful click that LEGO is famous for (and which Megablocks just can’t seem to get).

The puzzle is about a 1/3 finished with a lot of play value left, though I sense I’m the only one using it to avoid work, rather than as a fun activity that brings the family together on a long winter evening when dad has forbade iPad and TV.