Puzzle Pursuit

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Here’s a fun way not just to do puzzles with a toddler, but to make finding the pieces a part of the puzzle, too!

Veronika and I played around with this idea in two ways. For the first, I wanted puzzle pieces that were small enough to fit inside of plastic Easter eggs (well, they almost fit), leaving them slightly open and in very obvious hiding spots. I was hiding them for a two-year-old after all!

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I laid a few of the puzzle pieces out on the coffee table to capture Veronika’s interest, but then told her, “Oh no! Where are the rest of the pieces?”

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The bright plastic egg colors caught her eye, and she was soon trotting off to bring the pieces over.

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A jigsaw puzzle is beyond her abilities, but she loved watching the images of favorite trucks come together.

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She even slotted in the final few pieces!

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For the second version of the game, I used a chunky toddler puzzle that she can solve all by herself. Once more I hid the pieces, although “hiding” was again a relative term, really just scattering the pieces under nearby pillows.

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She was so delighted when she spotted them and immediately knew how to fit each animal over its image on the puzzle board.

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Hmm, she was missing three pieces. Was anything hiding under the scarf?

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Ta da!

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I loved watching her brain do double the puzzling in this fun activity.

Dry Leaf Collage

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This is not the craft to make when the leaves are at their peak vibrant hues of orange and red early in the fall. This is the craft for late in the fall, when the leaves are dry and brown, and yet you’ll show your toddler beauty even in this underappreciated nature material!

Veronika and I came home with a bag full of just such leaves, and first we explored them on her sensory tray. She loved picking them up and letting them float down.

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I next showed her how to rip the leaves into tiny pieces. The dry crinkly November leaves are perfect for this because each rip produces a satisfying sound.

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As she tore them up, I traced two leaf shapes on construction paper and cut them out. Any fall color would make a nice background here, and we used brown and orange.

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Rub glue sticks all over the leaf shapes, and then press down your leaf “confetti”.

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As a bonus, these make a beautiful Thanksgiving decoration if you punch a hole near the top, thread with yarn, and suspend in a window.

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