The Best Puzzle My Parents Ever Gave Me was a Geography Puzzle Map!
Think a geography puzzle map of the fifty states is a lousy gift for a very young child? Think again! Let me tell you my story . . .
When I was very young, my parents gave me a wooden geography puzzle map of the United States. Each piece was in the shape of a different state. They all fit together to form a map of our country. I loved playing with it – putting it together, taking it apart, and starting all over again.
Image Credit, modifications mine
I don’t remember if I received this United States puzzle as a Christmas gift, a fifth birthday present, or something else, but I do remember that I loved it. It quickly became one of my most played with toys. I have only vague recollections of a few other childhood puzzles, but that USA geography puzzle I remember both fondly and vividly.
And guess what?
I could find at least half of the states on a map, and give the name of each one, before some of the other kids my age even knew that there WERE things called states. (Really!) It’s amazing what a simple toy can do for a child!
Kids just love puzzles, and most of them would be just as thrilled to receive a geography puzzle as they would one of a pig with a purple hair bow. But which one would would you rather a child play with?
A Modern Version of My USA Puzzle
While the exact puzzle map I had seems to be available no longer, I ran across a very similar one recently. while searching for something else on Amazon. It reminded me of how much I had enjoyed the one I had, and prompted me to share the above childhood memory. Here it is:
With this puzzle, each state is a separate piece, which is very important. And the pieces are wooden, like they were with my mine. The state names are on the front of each piece, and more information is on the back. That’s an extra feature that mine didn’t have. I think it’s a good one.
One difference between this puzzle and the one I had is that this one is just a little larger, which is a good thing!
Learning Basic Geography Concepts
Is Easier with a Map Puzzle
By working the puzzle with your child from time to time, you can take advantage of the natural opportunity it presents to help them learn other simple concepts.
Tennessee is NORTH of Alabama and Oregon is WEST of Idaho.
Florida is a PENINSULA, but Hawaii is made up of ISLANDS.
California is on the COAST, while Iowa is INLAND.
Give a Child the World
with World Map and Globe Puzzles
Don’t stop with a single country, though! When it’s time, you can give your child the whole world in puzzle format! I wish my mom and dad had followed up my United States geography puzzle map with one that would have expanded my horizons even farther. I’ve found several that I know I would have loved as a child, and one of them is just perfect for my granddaughter. Guess what she’ll be getting soon?
Depending on their age, a puzzle that’s a map of the world may be just right for your boy or girl, or one you know. Though you can find world map puzzles with fewer than 100 pieces, here are two that are a bit more complex. They’re suitable for teens, for home schooling projects for older children, or even for family projects.Two of them are flat puzzles, and the third, from Ravensburger, is a puzzle ball that fits together to make an actual world globe.
Children’s Map of the World Giant Jigsaw Puzzle
For example, here’s a 500 piece world map that will do a good job of keeping older kids busy for a while.
They’ll learn a few things about their world while putting together this large (two feet by three feet) jigsaw puzzle. It’s illustrated with facts, many of which they may surprise you by remembering right off the bat!
It’s so much easier to remember things when you’re having fun while learning them.
Click here to check out this Children’s Map of the World Giant Jigsaw Puzzle.
Be sure you have a spare table for keeping it out on, as there’s a real good chance they won’t finish putting it together in one day. There are also ‘puzzle savers,’ that allow you to save a partially worked puzzle, so you can take up where you left off. You work the puzzle right on the surface of the saver, which is spread out on the table. Then, when you need to save your work, the saver rolls up. When you unroll it again, everything should be just as you left it.
Ravensburger The Earth – 540 Piece Puzzle Ball
Need a great family activity? How about a home school project for teens or tweens?
Consider making a world globe from a puzzle! That’s right, the 540 curved plastic pieces of this more challenging jigsaw fit together without glue to form an actual world globe. This one’s from Ravesnburger, the puzzle people.
This one can be a bit of a challenge, but there is some help. On the inner side of each piece are numbers and arrows that will help guide you through the more difficult sections. There’s also a set of instructions, including a reference map.
It comes with two stands. One is for the finished product, which allows you not only to display it, but also to rotate it. The other is a curved holder for use while you are building your globe.
If you’d like to see it on Amazon, just click on this link: The Earth – 540 Piece Puzzleball by Ravensburger
How long has it been since you’ve surprised a child with an educational toy?
Wouldn’t today be a good day to do just that?
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