Family Fun: How to Get the Kids Into Puzzles

Tomorrow is the first day of July and that means that summer is in full swing. The dead heat of midsummer is upon us, and that means we’re all a little prone to wanting to lounge around, get a tan, and relax.

It’s also the time when we can spend a little more of our day with family.

When we asked you guys what you wanted to see a post about, one of you suggested a post focused on Family Puzzle Nights and how to make puzzling fun enough to get the kids to turn off the TV, the iPod, the tablet, or the laptop and sift through puzzle pieces.

First of all, we suggest making puzzling an activity rife with conversation, laughter, and snacks. Make it upbeat. Turn on some music, or check out Family Talk, the game that has over 100 conversation starters for fun way to keep “busy families connected.” There’s even a version for the Faith Edition, with “reflective questions to inspire a caring, giving and faith filled attitude.”

Our other suggestion is to make puzzling together about more than puzzling. Make a deal with your kids: when the family finishes the puzzle, you’ll all do a fun activity based on that puzzle. If you do a puzzle of seashells, for example, you can pack up the kids in the car and head to the beach to find seashells afterwards.


Flip Flos 2 by Paper House Productions. 500 pieces. Finished size: 27″ x 27″

These bright colored flip flops in this shaped puzzle are great to inspire you to make a family trip to the pool!

Summer BBQ Picnic by Lafayette Puzzle Factory. 500 pieces.

This mouth-watering image can be completed with a family (or neighborhood) BBQ, where everyone creates their own shish kabobs or where you teach your kids the basics of grilling or making your favorite family dish!

Carousel Ride by Cobble Hill. 275 pieces.

Is the fair coming to town? Promise your kids a fun-filled day of rides and balloons and cotton candy if they can help you complete this puzzle in time!

Country Fair by SunsOut. 550 pieces.

You might be a little crunched on time to complete this 4th of July-themed carnival puzzle, but you could keep it stored until next year! Or maybe make a family quilt together after you finish this one, where everyone gets to pick a fabric that best represents their personality!

The Swimming Hole by Cobble Hill. 500 pieces.

After this one’s complete, find a good swimming hole—maybe with some rocks off which to jump, or get some inflatable tires. Pack up the dogs, the kids, and the snacks and make a day of it!

Sweetest Day by White Mountain. 550 pieces.

Make a deal with your kids that you’ll try every ice cream shop in town over the summer until you decide, hands down, which one has the best of the best ice cream. Or learn how to make ice cream from home!

Colorful Underwater Kingdom by Ravensburger. 1000 pieces.

Follow this one up with a trip to the aquarium. Or find an animal-themed puzzle and take them to the zoo!

Sunflowers by Piatnik. 1000 pieces.

Start a family garden, learn to press flowers, or just go on some back road driving past some farms to check out beautiful flowers!

Nothing Like Jonathans by White Mountain. 1000 pieces.

Go apple picking. Or strawberry picking. Or blueberries, blackberries, whatever’s around!

Whatever you do, tailor your puzzle experience to something your family enjoys. If it’s none of these things, find something that you guys like. Maybe you guys can switch off on who chooses the image, that way everyone gets a chance to finish a puzzle they love.

After you finish, glue it, have everyone sign their name on the puzzle, then frame it! That’s what my family has done! (Picture to come…)

 

 

Happy Canada Day!

July 1st is Canada Day! Seems like July is the month of patriotism for our neighbors to the north, too! And who knew: their national motto rings a familiar bell, because it’s A mari usque ad mare, which translates to “from sea to sea.”

So learn some facts about Canada as you browse these great Canadian puzzles, eh? (I’ll let you in on a secret: even though they’re our neighbors, I didn’t have a clue about any of these facts until this post!)

Winter Morning in Baie-St-Paul (Quebec, Canada) by Eurographics. 1000 pieces.

Canada’s the second largest country on earth. Only Russia is larger.

Niagara by Pomegranate. 1000 pieces.

The border between Canada and the US is the world’s longest border between nations. Including the border between Canada and Alaska, the entire thing stretches 5,525 miles.

Canadian Flag by Buffalo Games. 1000 pieces.

Although Canada may be huge, it’s not so populated. There’s about 9 people per square mile on average.

Beautiful Lake Louise by Eurographics. 1000 pieces.

Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park in Alberta, which was Canada’s First National Park.

Diesel 4040 by Eurographics. 1000 pieces.

The beaver that decorates the front of this vintage train is actually the national symbol of Canada because of the fur trade. The beaver is depicted on Canada’s 5-cent piece.

Vancouver Canucks by Wincraft Sports. 150 pieces.

Although it seems as if Canada is known for it’s ice hockey (it being the most prevalent sport) the actual official sport of Canada is lacrosse. However, ice hockey has quite the history in Canada: modern ice hockey’s first set of rules were published in the Montreal Gazette in 1877.

Old Montreal by Dowdle Folk Art. 500 pieces.

After NYC, Montreal has the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America.

Photography

Something I’ve always been drawn to is our photography puzzles. Don’t get me wrong, I love folk art and fun cartoons and also art based in realism. But there’s something about a crisp image that just draws me in.

I think there’s an aspect of photography-based puzzles that’s a bit more challenging, too. Art based in painting or drawing is very deliberate, so, for instance, one piece of the puzzle might have a very distinguishing feature (such as a color) that makes it easy to place. Framing and composition in photography can also be deliberate, but colors are less so, especially in nature settings. Check out all these puzzles and think about the challenges of putting together the pieces of the out-of-focus backgrounds, or the monochrome color scheme!

babies puzzle, anne geddes puzzle, cute

Baby Love – Mia by Educa. 1000 pieces.

Autumn Gray Wolf by Lafayette Puzzle Factory. 500 pieces.

paris puzzles, travel jigsaw puzzles, vacation theme

Eiffel Tower by Clementoni. 1000 pieces.

Stingray by Heye. 1000 pieces.

ocean puzzles, boats, sailing

Sailboats by Springbok. 500 pieces.

Cool Waters by Master Pieces. 500 pieces.

Goetta Canal, Sweden by Ravensburger. 1000 pieces.

Barrels by Lion Rampart Imports. 1000 pieces.

Kalahari Desert by Heye. 1000 pieces.

Parc Guell by Educa. 500 pieces.

Rising Storm by Heye. 1000 pieces.

Lijang – China by Clementoni. 2000 pieces.

On another note, I’m currently doing a puzzle from New York Puzzle Co. with a review to come! Here’s a sneak preview of what we got done last night:

Dreams and Puzzles: What Your Subconscious May Be Telling You

Now that school is out and I’m not so stressed, I’ve started dreaming again. I’ve always loved dream and have a vivid recollection of most of my weirdest ones. I like to go online and look up dream dictionaries and figure out what my dreams are telling me.

The other day, for instance, I had a dream that I was walking along a street and I found several quarters. I was very excited and started to pick them up, when I started noticing dollar bills, five dollar bills, and then even hundred dollar bills. The dream-logic was that someone had won the lottery and had spilled some of it on their way home. Euphoric in the dream, I snatched up all the money and paid off some student loans (I know, very exciting, right?)

But of course I looked up the symbolism.

One Million Dollars by White Mountain. 1000 pieces.

From dreammoods.com, I found that “To see or win money in your dream indicates that success and prosperity is within your reach. Money represents confidence, self-worth, success, or values. You have much belief in yourself. Alternatively, dreaming about money refers to your attitudes about love and matters of the heart. It is a common symbol for sexuality and power. In particular, finding money indicates your quest for love or power.”

Color of Money by Springbok. 2000 pieces.

So I’ve at least figured out my surprise millionaire dream (I’m questing for love or power—how thrilling) but there are so many common dream tropes. We also have a lot of puzzles which may reflect those tropes. Maybe our choice of puzzles is telling us something subconscious?

Dance of the Moon Fairy by Educa. 1000 pieces.

Flying dreams—or our allure to puzzles where whimsical creatures fly—might suggest something about how you feel about the situation you are in. If you fly with ease and comfort, you’re “on top of” the situation at hand or maybe you’ve found a new perspective. But if you are having difficulties with your flight, you’re experiencing a lack of power with your circumstances. If you fear flying, you might be afraid of challenges and success, and you’re hesitant for the next step.

Saturday Night by Cobble Hill. 500 pieces.

This cute kid in the art by Jim Daly is enjoying a Saturday evening bath, but dreams about being naked in other situations apart from bath time suggest vulnerability or unpreparedness. Maybe you feel like you’re not being true to yourself and that others can “see right through you” or that you’re exposed and have no defenses.

Great White Delight by Ceaco (Glow in the Dark Puzzle). 100 pieces.

Dreams about teeth are all too common. Maybe your teeth are rotting or falling out (I know I’ve had several dreams where I lose a tooth as an adult, all which seem so real I wake up and have to feel around in my mouth!)

The Dream Dictionary has this to say: “Teeth are used to bite, tear, chew and gnaw. In this regard, teeth symbolize power. And the loss of teeth in your dream may be from a sense of powerlessness. Are you lacking power in some current situation? Perhaps you are having difficulties expressing yourself or getting your point across. You feel frustrated when your voice is not being heard. You may be experiencing feelings of inferiority and a lack of self-confidence in some situation or relationship in your life. This dream may be an indication that you need to be more assertive and believe in the importance of what you have to say.”

Belvedere by Buffalo Games. 1000 pieces.

As we know, though, sometimes dreams just don’t make sense at all. They’re surreal, the logic is flawed, and it doesn’t seem like you could pull a valid interpretation out of it even if you tried your hardest. Then it feels a little like an M.C. Escher artwork: fun perspective, but ultimately nonsensical.

Blue by Eurographics. 1000 pieces.

Pick out the details with your dreams, even the little things! Like this Kandinsky painting, where the image means little but the colors symbolize mood: “For Kandinsky, blue is the color of spirituality: the darker the blue, the more it awakens human desire for the eternal.”

Try choosing your next puzzle on the feelings it evokes or on your last dream for something fun and different!

Kittens Galore!

We recently added a new addition to our house: a small, bright, fluffy white kitten named Casper. A long time ago, the new addition of my dog, Marlowe, was the inspiration for a puppy post. Well, you know what’s coming, then. I must now update you with new pictures of my (now fully grown) puppy and her new friend.

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 11.46.42 PM

The getting-to-know-you game was full of reservation on the dogs’ parts. They were so uncertain about this little creature!

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 11.47.05 PMBut after a little playtime, they quickly grew into fast friends.

Celebrate your love of cats with this many different puzzles that are cute, artistic, or whimsical!

Secrets by Educa. 500 pieces.

Egyptian by Jane Crowther by Heye. 1000 pieces.

Special Delivery by Buffalo Games. 1000 pieces.

rosina wachtmeister, cat art

Mouse by Rosina Wachtmeister from Heye. 1000 pieces.

Cats Under Blanket by Eurographics. 750 pieces.

Cats Galore by White Mountain. 1000 pieces.

Perfect Pose by Master Pieces. 500 pieces.

Pavan Van Klimt by SunsOut. 500 pieces.

labrador, grey cat, kittens

Friendly Opposites by Ravensburger. 500 pieces.

Seventeen Cats by Edward Gorey from Pomegranate. 300 pieces.