Jigsaw Wonder Kittens Puzzles for Kids and Jigsaw Wonder Puppies Puzzles for Kids by Eggroll Games LLC has been a big hit with the preschool set, and have been requested on a daily basis since its introduction on my iPad. And, who can resist these adorable puzzles of puppies and kittens? There are 30 or more interlocking puzzles to choose from in each app, and the puzzles are customizable for all skill levels. Use of simple open games such as these is great for kids with dyspraxia as a rehearsal to transitioning to real life puzzles as it largely takes the motor and manipulative piece of completing the task out of the picture. By slowing working on the apps, kids learn what to expect in putting together a puzzle and are not so thrown off when presented with a puzzle in the midst of their daily play routines. This is why a lot of kids throw puzzle pieces, as they do not know what the intended purpose is for the demands of combining visual and motor acts at the same time is just too hard. Early puzzles also teach about spatial orientation, visual closure, and basic visual motor skills whether it is on the iPad or not. I have found in my daily practice that students are more motivated with learning new tasks when presented with practicing first on the iPad.
On opening the app, the main page has a link to both the settings and other apps by Eggroll Games LLC under a touch and hold button. Links can be turned off in settings if you prefer, as well as music and sound effects. I like to keep the sound effects on so that kids get some auditory feedback, but like the option of turning off the music for more sensory sensitive or distractible kids. Choosing a picture and other parameters of the puzzles is completely kid driven, and that ups the investment of kids sticking with a puzzle and the app itself. Pictures range from high contrast, with highly defined details, to ones that are more visually complex and challenging. Once a puzzle has been selected, choices for a plain background or a faded photo of the puzzle, whether or not to outline the pieces, and grading the difficulty with the number of pieces are under the control of the user. A student can dial down the number of pieces if it is too hard or turn off the piece and background outlines to make it harder. Visual clutter is kept to a minimum, and only two pieces are shown on screen at once. This allows for students to fully visualize the shape and where it can possibly go. The pieces give a satisfying "click" when placed and prompt you to the next piece. Teachers and parents playing with a child can point out salient features of the outline pieces being smooth on one side and how looking at a piece that has an eye on it may fit next to the other piece with the eye on it. Playing with a child also lends itself opportunities to model turn taking, sharing, and social interactions. On completion of the puzzle, there is a verbal and visual reinforcement that is quick and lets kids know that this task has a beginning, middle, and end which is the foundation for building attention and learning to complete tasks.
I have to confess, that playing these games is a simple joy and I love it when the kids choose them. For students just learning about interlocking puzzles, Jigsaw Wonder Puppies Puzzles for Kids and Jigsaw Wonder Kittens Puzzles for kids is a great start. There is a one time IAP to unlock all the puzzles. Recommended.