#geniusofplay: Playtime for kids has big boosts in academic areas

So right now you’re about halfway through summer wondering what on earth you can plan for the last 2 months of the kids’ free season before you’re doing your back-to-school shopping. You’ve probably already hit the zoo, the water park, maybe even the beach. You’ve picnicked, hiked, camped, dutifully signed them up for swimming lessons and basketball camps, visited the park a little more than you’d like, and thrown a few slumber parties. You’re racking your brain for how to entertain the kiddos… and we have the solution: let them come up with it!

Let them play. Free reign. No fancy gadgets, no fancy trips. Just playusing their own toys and imaginations… and maybe a few tips from The Toy Industry Association.

The experts back it up! Research shows that playtime has a critical role in healthy childhood development! A full hour of open ended playtime per day has BIG BENEFITS like:

  • Strengthening your children’s minds, bodies, and bonds with friends and family
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving cognitive abilities
  • Honing communication skills
  • Boosting creativity
  • Giving them the tools to process and express emotions healthily
  • Developing physical skills (fine motor and athetic!)
  • Enhancing their social skill set (like patience, kindness, sharing, and more!)

Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Toy Industry Association has teamed up with researchers to back a new initiative called the #geniusofplay to remind parents that they can relax… a lot.

“Today’s parents and caring adults can be too singularly focused on their children getting good grades, staying disciplines, and mastering a number of structured extracurricular activities,” Pasierb says, “But that can come at a cost … [P]ediatricians recommend that children spend at least 60 minutes a day engaged in open-ended play — arts and crafts, playing dress-up, building imaginary worlds, and and so much more. Through play, children learn about the world around them, explore their creativity, build important skills, and work through their emotions. The positive impact of play on the healthy development of kids, from tots to teens, is undeniable. Our goal is to inspire parents to make play an important part of their children’s day – every day!”

Researchers and experts like Dr. Anne Marie Albano, Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders, say that play is essential and transcends cultural and geographic boundaries. It transforms the brain’s neural pathways and helps children deal with pain, fear, and anxiety. Its benefits are endless.

fact-cognitive-3

fact-physical-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fact-creativity-1 fact-communication-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The campaign asks parents to pledge to at least 1 hour per day of play for their kiddos–or 1,000,000 hours of pure fun (and beneficial)! play this year. At the end of the year, they’ll make a donation to the Toy Bank, which is an international giving program that makes play possible around the world for kids in need.

They have cute, short videos that highlight just how many skills and opportunities kids have to learn in play activities such as this one:

Plus, they have an entire section on play ideas and play tips (such as tips for independent play, for grandparents, for playdates, or how to keep the kids playing on family trips). They even break it down by age!

We have you covered on some of the great toys that will help aid your child in their play.

For 6-12 months, they recommend stacking toys and blocks because they say that “babies in this age range are able to manage high levels of stimulation. They’re beginning to exercise their working memory and understand how to change their behavior to fit different game rules.”

stacking toys, toys for 6-18 months

Owl Stacker – 8 pieces – Melissa & Doug – $12.99

 

wooden blocks, baby toys, developmental toys

ABC/123 WOODEN BLOCKS – 36 blocks – Melissa & Doug – $25.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For 1-2 years, they say that simple shape sorters and puzzles with knobs because “gross motor skills continue to be formed [and] kids at this age begin to display affection toward familiar people and start to imitate the behaviors of others.

Shape Sorting Cube – Melissa & Doug – $13.99

 

jumbo knob puzzles, melissa and doug toys

FRUIT BASKET JUMBO KNOB -8 pieces – Melissa & Doug – $18.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For 2-3 years, they say that knob puzzles with whole object pieces that fit into simple scenes and building blocks are great because “physical play will help kids this age continue to develop gross motor skills and understand spatial orientation. Arts & crafts can foster self-expression, creativity, cooperation and sharing.

Peg Puzzle “Farm” – 6 pieces – Melissa & Doug – $6.99

 

 

 

 

 

Castle Logix – 7 pieces – Smart Games – $24.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For 6-9 years, try model kits, paper dolls, and board games because “strategy-based games help support children’s cognitive flexibility and problem solving skills. Pretend play is also very popular during this stage. Creating and remembering details about complex imaginary worlds and characters strengthens kids’ memory and innovative thinking.

goldieblox toys, girl engineers

GOLDIEBLOX AND THE PARADE FLOAT – $19.99

 

TOPS AND TIGHTS MAGNETIC DRESS-UP – $18.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out their full list of age-appropriate games and toys from 0-12 years, take the pledge, and browse our toy catalog for kids so you can take a break, your kids can have some fun, and everyone can go into the new school year feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Best of: Photography Puzzles

They say a picture is worth 1000 words, and it certainly feels that way when you have 1000 jigsaw puzzle pieces before you as you begin to recreate crisp and beautiful images of faraway vacation places, amazing animals, and stunning landmarks!

Here’s some of the best, brightest, and most colorful photography-themed jigsaw puzzles we have. They’re just perfect for gluing and framing!

marina jigsaw puzzle, boats, photography

Colorful Marina – 500 pieces – Ravensburger

venice, italy, ravensburger jigsaw puzzle, travel

In Venice – 500 pieces – Ravensburger

saint martin, travel, lpf jigsaw puzzle

Restaurant in St. Martin – 1000 pieces – Lafayette Puzzle Factory

Dancing Waters – 1000 pieces – Master Pieces

arizona jigsaw puzzle, grand canyon jigsaw puzzle

Grand Canyon South Rim – 500 pieces – Master Pieces

landmarks jigsaw puzzles

Prague Clock – 1000 pieces – D-Toys

Peles Castle – 1000 pieces – D-Toys

waterfall jigsaw puzzle, photography, springbok

Canyon Oasis – 500 pieces – Springbok

heye photography jigsaw puzzle, alexander von humboldt

Lighthouse La Jument – 1000 pieces – Heye

Rising Storm – 1000 pieces – Heye

Barn Owl – 1000 pieces – Heye

shark jigsaw puzzle, sea life

White Shark – 1000 pieces – Heye

Herd of Elephants – 2000 pieces – Heye

jungle animals jigsaw puzzles

Leopard – 1000 pieces – Heye

New 2015 Kid’s Puzzles

A new year has arrived and that means we’re stocking our shelves with all the newest puzzles! To keep your kids engaged, having fun, and working out their brain, jigsaw puzzles are a great pastime. With tons of themes and sizes, you can find something every kid of every age will love.

The following puzzles, from popular brands such as Ravensburger, Heye, and New York Puzzle Co., all have 100 pieces or fewer and are perfect for kids ages 6 and under.

fairy jigsaw puzzle

Candytuft Fairy – 100 pieces. New York Puzzle Co. For ages 5 and up.

peter rabbit jigsaw puzzle, beatrix potter gifts

Peter Rabbit and Family – 48 pieces. New York Puzzle Co. For ages 3 and up.

educational jigsaw puzzles for kids

Vehicle Fun – 11 pieces. Melissa and Doug. For ages 2 and up.

tinga tinga artwork jigsaw puzzle

Giraffe – 75 pieces. Heye. For ages 4 and up.

Window – 75 pieces. Heye. For ages 4 and up.

Monster Buddies – 60 pieces. Ravensburger. For ages 4 and up.

Outer Space – 60 pieces. Ravensburger. For ages 4 and up.

princess jigsaw puzzle, fantasy, unicorns

Princess and Unicorn – 100 pieces. Ravensburger. For ages 6 and up.

Cats Around the World – 100 pieces. Dowdle Folk Art. For ages 6 and up.

spongebob squarepants jigsaw puzzle, kids puzzles, nickelodeon

Spongebob (Lenticular Puzzle) – 100 pieces. Cardinal. For ages 6 and up.

Did You Hear? The Holiday Gift Guide is Here!

If you need help picking out presents for those on your list this year, look no further! The Holiday Gift Guide from Puzzle Warehouse is great because it pre-selects all the most popular items in our stock–meaning that whoever you shop for will be sure to love it! Click the photos below to see the Top 10 Everything!

New Jigsaw Puzzles Released!

We recently got in a batch of several fun, new series of jigsaw puzzles!

For folk artist fans, you’ll love the new Art of Anthony Kleem series! With six new puzzles from Karmin, all at 550 pieces, folks will have fun putting together the whole series, which features great folk art themes such as the mountains, the beach, and hot air balloons.

americana, folk art, balloons jigsaw puzzle

Battlecreek Balloonfest by Karmin. 550 pieces. Artwork by Anthony Kleem.

New series now feature captions that feature a list of all the other puzzles in the series by name, so they’re extra easy to find! You’ll find the list with hyperlinks that will take you directly to the new puzzle underneath the caption and before the information in the details. It will look like this:

anthonykleem

For those that are a fan of vintage Americana jigsaw puzzles, especially ones that feature old advertisements, look no further than the Kellogg’s series, which includes collages of retro Kellogg’s characters and the box art of Snap, Crackle, and Pop from Rice Krispies cereal! With tons of detail and color and a dash of nostalgia, these are some great puzzles to do to bring back some memories!

vintage advertisements

Retro Cereal Boxes by Karmin. 1000 pieces.

If vintage and Americana artwork aren’t your thing, the contemporary photography art of Terry Border might be right up your alley! Border makes humorous scenes using everyday objects to tell tiny stories. In one, an ice-cube-person lifts weights (made out of a toothpick and Lifesaver gummies!) while staring longingly at a poster of the Titanic that says, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” His photographs will be sure to amuse young and old puzzlers alike!

bent objects series, terry border artist, funny jigsaw puzzles

Zombies are Nuts About Brains by Karmin. 500 pieces. Artwork by Terry Border.