Jigsaw Puzzle of U.S. Map Also a Useful Teaching Tool

Jigsaw puzzles are great for many reasons: They provide great fun for families, hours of quiet concentration for the serious puzzler and are even a unique way of teaching manual dexterity to little ones. But did you know that jigsaw puzzles are also great teaching tools? If you’re teaching (or learning) the states that make up the United States of America, consider a jigsaw puzzle of U.S. map.

Most people need to reference a map when trying to place a state…California is on the West Coast, right? But simply looking at a two-dimensional paper may not help that information stick in your mind. However, physically placing California on the left of your map in addition to looking at it will help you recall the state’s location.

There are many styles of U.S. map jigsaw puzzles. Little ones would love floor sized map puzzles or puzzles that come in their own carrying case. School-aged children (and adults, too!) might enjoy a puzzle that teaches not only the states, but the capitals as well. Fans of political history might even enjoy a puzzle map with red and blue pieces representing past election results. Are you bored at work? Or maybe need something productive to do to offer your kids for a few minutes? Try working an online “jigsaw puzzle” of the U.S.

There are many ways to enjoy jigsaw puzzles of U.S. map. These puzzles are great teaching and learning tools for all ages, and a fun way to teach shapes, colors, geography, history and much more.

Puzzle of the Day – Harper, The Rocky Mountains

Artist Charley Harper created the artwork displayed on today’s puzzle of the day. Harper, who was known for his style of “minimal realism” style, was inspired mainly by nature, which is featured prominently in Harper, The Rocky Mountains jigsaw puzzle.

Check out the intricate ecosystem portrayed: A beaver, who has happily obtained a piece of Ash wood, headed home, perhaps, to build a dam? Leaves that have changed colors and fallen, butterflies flitting about and birds soaring to and fro seeking dinner. There’s even a fish swimming about and various flowers to enjoy.

Jigsaw puzzle maker Pomegranate features this beautiful work in a 1000-piece 27”x 20” format. Puzzlers of all skill levels have an opportunity to challenge their skills…with intricate details and a unique style, finding the right pieces won’t be too easy!

This puzzle is a keeper even when finished. Don’t forget to glue it together and put it on display! Harper, The Rocky Mountains is a challenging puzzle, yet also a beautiful and unique piece of art that is sure to inspire many compliments in your home.

How to Make Puzzle Glue

jigsaw puzzle glue

Completing a jigsaw puzzle feels fantastic! The sense of accomplishment when that last puzzle piece snaps into place is not only great for your mood – it’s even great for keeping your brain sharp as can be. So, why not preserve all that hard work by gluing  and framing your jigsaw puzzle to turn it into a hanging work of art!

There are lots of ways to preserve a jigsaw puzzle so that you can display them on a wall. You can buy frames made for standard puzzle sizes, and there are several puzzle glues in production that work great – even no mess adhesive sheets that will keep the puzzle pieces together.

But you might be a little more D.I.Y., you say? Have no fear, making your own jigsaw puzzle glue is easy, fun, and makes a great crafting project for the whole family. Though we cannot guarantee the exact same results with homemade glue compared to the ones we sell, most of these combinations are a good, affordable alternative.

Puzzle glue that you buy is essentially Mod Podge. A thinner more spreadable version of the typical Elmer’s White School Glue. To create a high quality puzzle adhesive that is safe to use on the front of the puzzle, mix equal parts white Elmer’s glue and water in a glass container and shake until the consistency is even.

There are other ways to create your own glue, including a flour paste. Just half a cup of flour and enough water to mix into a thick paste is all it takes. Drying time is high compared to commercial products with this mixture, and make sure there are no lumps; adding a bit of sugar and salt makes it more sticky. It is not suggested to use this mixture on the front of the puzzle as it may not dry clear – instead flip the puzzle over and glue the back.

The next best homemade glue uses Gum Arabic. Add just enough water to the gum arabic to dissolve it, and you have a strong glue which dries quickly when applied. These types of glue don’t always dry clear, so use it on the back of your puzzle first.

Gelatin based glue is great, as it is clear and waterproof, but it takes a bit more effort and more resources to make. It is well worth it, though, if you plan to stick your puzzle onto glass. This glue does not stand up well though, so it is for one time use and cannot be stored. e-How has great tutorials for making this type of glue.

Use this guide to teach your kids how to make glue and you will have them stuck to jigsaw puzzles and making lots of good memories, too: http://www.puzzlewarehouse.com/how-to-glue-a-puzzle/

Find pre-made puzzle glues for as little as $4 here.

*Note: Be careful when gluing puzzles – it not recommended to glue puzzles that have special or high-quality finishing like glitter or matte-finished puzzles. The glue could ruin the quality of the puzzle. In these cases, it’s best to go with something like Puzzle Presto – sticky sheets that you can use on the back of the puzzle that don’t cause damage to the pieces.

Family activity ideas with puzzles

Puzzles as family activity ideas

If you’re looking for some entertaining family activity ideas, you could do far worse than get a jigsaw puzzle for your loved ones. Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to exercise your mind and stimulate your brain, and at the same time they can be quite relaxing.

Puzzles can be found in a multitude of difficulties, and you’re sure to find one, or more, that suits your family. If you have young children, playing a puzzle can be a great way to help them calm down and and focus on finding the right pieces, or the right place for a particular piece. When the kids get a bit older they can help with more complex puzzles, and then gradually move on to taking on a whole complex picture all by themselves, if they’re so inclined.

Some people find it more rewarding to be a part of a bigger whole in puzzle-solving. That’s exactly what makes jigsaw puzzles such excellent family activity ideas: the many different ways of approaching it. You can play alone or the whole family can gather around and do it together. You can immerse yourself in the puzzle for hours, or just have a quick look as you’re walking by the table where it’s laid out.

And like we said before, figuring out what part of the picture any given piece belongs to is an excellent workout for the old brainwaves. When you’ve finished your puzzle, you can even frame it and have the picture decorate your home as a permanent reminder of the time your family spent together on this fun hobby. Or, you can pack your puzzle back in it’s box and have another go at it later.

Puzzle of the Day – Autumn Leaves and Laughter

It’s that time of year again – time for the trees to put on their final show with blazing colors of orange, red and yellow leaves. Time for pumpkins, apple cider, trick-or-treating, football and playing outside in the beautiful weather. To get you in the mood, this week’s jigsaw puzzle of the day is Memory Lane – Autumn Leaves and Laughter.

Created by Master Pieces for ages 13 and up, Memory Lane – Autumn Leaves and Laughter features colorful artwork by Randy Van Beek that you could get lost in. Imagine walking up to the beautiful Victorian home with the welcoming porch. Along the way, you kick up a few brilliant leaves that have fallen in your path. Children throw themselves into piles of leaves without abandon and after the pile scatters too much to jump in, they gather the leaves up in their red wagon to make new piles all while inventing new rules to their “game”.

The air is crisp, the bright red barn in the distance stands out against a clear blue sky. The neighbors must be burning leaves because you smell the unmistakable scent that takes you back to your childhood and those inevitable family “yard clean up” days. Maybe later you and the kids will get together and have a family pumpkin carving contest.

With 300 pieces, Memory Lane – Autumn Leaves and Laughter is jigsaw puzzle that will provide hours of challenging fun. Just in time for the season, too – when you complete this puzzle hang it over your fireplace and bring the change of season indoors to enjoy.