Ability in Puzzle Solving
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
We have a 4 yr. old daughter that loves puzzles. Recently we purchased
her a 100 pc. puzzle because her other 24. 48 and such were making her
parse board (She made them up really fast). When she received the 100 pc.
puzzle she completed it in 45 min. Her Father and I were both
dumbfounded. We just bought her a 200 pc. puzzle which took her an hour
and a half to complete but she did it. What does this say about our
child's mind set? Thank You.
Your daughter obviously has advanced abilities in solving puzzles. More
than anything else, it indicates a sharpened ability to gather
information, assess a situation, and find a quick solution to a problem.
They would have a better ability to understand problems involving
physical shapes and spaces. Research also indicated that early advanced
ability in solving puzzles relates to later success in math.
In relation to giftedness, this may be one of the distinct
characteristics of gifted children who have heightened logical
mathematical intelligence. However, it is not enough to determine
giftedness. To gauge if your child may be gifted (and it may be worth
looking at), there are other characteristics that could be in
For a 2-4 year old child, the checklist below can be used as a guide:
Early and extensive language development and vocabulary, forms
grammatically correct sentences as compared to peers.
Interest in computers (not video games).
Ability to solve above 20-piece puzzle quickly by age 3.
Has a vivid imagination (includes having imaginary friends).
Extraordinary feats of memory.
Extreme curiosity and asks many questions.
Specific talent (if any), such as artistic ability or an unusual
facility for numbers - becomes more apparent by age 4.
Ability to memorize and recall facts easily.
Early development of a sense of humor.
Ability to do one-to-one counting for small quantities by age 3.
Recognition of simple signs and own written name by age 3.
Ability to write letters, numbers, words, and their names between 3
and 4 years.
Ability to read easy readers by age 4.
Rather independent on the computer by age 4.
Demonstration of musical aptitude just after 2.
Ability to do simple addition and subtraction by age 4.
High degrees of mathematical understanding by age 4.
The above checklist is at best regarded as a rough guide and bear in
mind that not all of the skills and age guide mentioned is absolute.
Some children may demonstrate these abilities at a younger age and some
may be older and yet classified as advanced learners. However, this can
be a good guide to look out for signs of early advanced development in
children and provide the necessary platform for them to flourish.
It is found that puzzles and puzzle games help reinforce logic, critical
thinking, visualization, creativity, and fine motor skills. Given that
puzzles rely heavily on children’s spatial abilities and problem solving
skills, early ability in this area would indicate advanced ability. Do
vary her activities to other problem solving types, as she may get bored
after some time. All the best.