Jigsaw Box, by Sparkle Apps, is a useful app to help not only build spatial skills but to literally help kids uncover piece by piece any subject where you would like to visually reinforce concepts with a lesson. The app allows for making puzzles from your camera roll or choosing from 10 different topics - Famous Landmarks, Castles, Kids, Flowers, Animals, etc. There is also an option to buy additional packs for $0.99 - $1.99 USD.
Once a picture is selected, you can create a puzzle and are offered a myriad of settings to tailor the puzzle to an individual’s needs or play to their strengths. Your first choice to make is selecting the number of pieces of your puzzle from 8 – 252 pieces, ensuring that this app has a broad appeal across capabilities and can grow with your classroom.
Pieces can be set in a tray or on the board. This is great for helping reduce visual clutter, and keeping kids motivated and organized. There are also settings for using music, and from a sensory perspective, this can be used to either decrease distractibility to the task or to gradually add stimuli to habituate a more sensory sensitive kid. Puzzle play, in general, helps form the basis for beginning math and writing skills, by physically interacting and creating a whole from its composite parts and helps keep us mentally flexible. Puzzles teach us so much, and that is why we clinicians just love them. Imagination, the thrill of discovery, and the confidence of accomplishment are just a few of the benefits from constructive media. I have also used puzzle apps on the iPad with kids that have motor planning issues first, and then segue to manipulatives once they have the expectations or the sequence of what is expected from them. Other useful applications to using Jigsaw Box are to use maps, pictures that represent your current lesson plan, or even a child’s artwork or poems – you are not just limited to pictures. What a great way to memorize poems or even the Preamble to the Constitution. If you are studying about the Roman Empire, why not make it come to life with Jigsaw Box?
Sparkle apps offer video tutorials as well as help via their website and email. The link to the store or IAPs are not secured or locked, so you may have to limit IAPs in the settings.
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that "her kids" grow up to be healthy independent learners.