Jimmy Jigsaw, by Lotte Salling, is a spatial puzzler type app with the focus on body awareness for preschoolers. On opening, you have a choice of three different games within the app – “Jigsaw Puzzles”, “Story”, and “Word and Image”- all based on body awareness and naming the parts of our body. Pairing Puzzles with body awareness of where all our parts are located, help provide the ground for how kids not only settle themselves but also relates to the vessel that absorbs information for learning. In other words, if there is no consistent “me”, information can just come and go without something to relate it to... and every day is kind of like a new day without a reference point. Let’s take a closer look at each game.
Starting with “Story” the app provides the location of each part of the body – both inside and out in a wonderful rhyming sing-song format. Have the text read, or read it aloud. I like to read it with a child because of the opportunities to work on joint attention and having them come up with the answer. It’s hard not to have fun when reading these enthusiastic and infectious rhymes… This portion of the app is just brimming with possibilities for interaction, prompts for imitation, and growing awareness of our body’s possibilities. Many preschoolers tend to move using their whole bodies as a unit and getting to recognize and know the different parts helps us use our bodies more functionally. I always find it thrilling when kids stop pointing to your nose when you say nose and begin to point to their nose.
In “Jigsaw Puzzles”, choose between 5 different pictures. You can set a number of pieces from four to eighteen, depending on the skill level of your little ones or if using this in the circle or in a group. You also have the option to use a photo of your student to help reinforce the ability to transfer the information learned to themselves. They can imitate or dress in costume like Jimmy!
The last portion, “Word and Images” is a match the word type puzzle. It is nice that there is the option to choose the number of sets to be shown as you can grade the visual complexity and the challenge. By starting off with one set, you can practice learning the vocabulary and then add on as a child progresses.
Jimmy Jigsaw is a well-done app for preschoolers, without a lot of extraneous visual or auditory clutter. The graphics are cheerful, and the rhymes are fun. The material is presented in an open and inviting format that helps to foster self-discovery.
UPDATE 8/2014 - The latest version of Jimmy Jigsaw offers four new languages, improved sounds, bug fixes and a new feature where you can drag and hear the words in Word & Image. Also, there is now the ability to save puzzles.
Another point of interest, Jimmy Jigsaw is now available for iPhone and very soon will be for Android tablets too.
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.