Jigsaw puzzles are cheaper than many other toys and entertainment choices. You can find a 1,000 piece puzzle for less than $5 in some stores. You can find boxes with multiple puzzles included for under $10. And the price only goes down if you buy on clearance or from a thrift store or yard sale.
All Ages & Ability Levels
You can find jigsaw puzzles with big pieces that work well for little kids or those with dexterity problems. There are puzzles that contain many thousands of pieces if you need a challenge (I’ve seen one with 32,000 pieces) or puzzles that are all one color if you want to make yourself crazy. And there are plenty that are middle of the road. Whatever your ability, age, or amount of free time, you can find a puzzle that will work for you.
A puzzle can provide quite a few hours of entertainment. Given the inexpensive cost, you get a lot of entertainment time for your dollar.
Good For Your Brain
Puzzles are an excellent activity for keeping your brain sharp. They challenge your dexterity, spatial reasoning, and logic. Even better, they work both sides of your brain simultaneously, something few other activities do. The creative side works to see the finished product, while the logical side works to fit the pieces.
While a puzzle taxes your brain, it’s not so demanding that you can’t talk with your friends or family while working on it. Some of the best conversations in this house have happened over a puzzle.
No Electricity Required
You don’t need electricity to work on a puzzle (at least during the daytime), unlike video games or movies. This means they don’t add to your power bill and you can use them during snowstorms or hurricanes when the power is out. It gives you something to do when other options aren’t available.
Improve Your Concentration
Nothing teaches you to focus and concentrate on a task like finding the right piece to go into the puzzle. You also learn patience because it can be quite a while before the puzzle starts to come together and you have to keep plugging away at it until it does.
Help Your Subconscious
They give your subconscious a chance to work on other things. Working a puzzle allows your mind to rest and think about other things. Whenever something big is bothering me or when I need to find a solution to a problem, I pull out a puzzle. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas and solutions while puzzling.
If you glue a finished puzzle together and mount it, you’ve got some interesting artwork for your house or apartment. Puzzle glue and a frame or mounting board are inexpensive.
I’ve learned about art and geography from puzzles. Puzzles of famous paintings and places have inspired me to look for more information.
Puzzles provide a gentle and enjoyable way for patients to improve dexterity and exercise their hands. Moving pieces, picking them up, and turning them doesn’t seem like much to someone with normal dexterity, but to an arthritis sufferer it can be a meaningful challenge.
The next time you’re looking for some entertainment on a budget, don’t just skip past the jigsaw puzzle aisle. Puzzles are cheap and they give you a lot of benefits for very little money. You can’t say that about many forms of entertainment. Making these even more budget friendly, chance are you have a few neglected puzzles in your closet right now.
Finally, if you are reading this and want to actually get some crossword puzzles to play, the best book on puzzles available is The Penguin Classics Crossword Puzzles. Its got nearly 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.com, so its a good addition to your collection.
(Photo courtesy of Filip Federowicz (filu))