Puzzle hell. It’s one step below Lego hell. One very tiny step. It’s when your LO decides to get out every. single. puzzle you never even knew existed under your roof, mixes them all together and then bails for the next shiny object that catches their eye. Awesome.
I’m here to share with you a little trick I picked up from my
hard labor time working at a daycare that will help you control the chaos and teach your LOs how to enjoy puzzles individually and make clean up a breeze.
Step 1: Take pictures or Grab Scissors. Ok this step is for my fellow Super OCDers. But if you’re like me and you want to go the extra mile when it comes to keeping your kid’s puzzle madness at bay, take pics. This is really going to be crucial for older children’s puzzles that consist of more than just a lion, a bear and an elephant as pieces. If you can’t easily tell what the pieces should come together as when they are apart, take my advice and take a pic of the completed puzzle. Even easier (if you don’t care about chopping up the box), grab some scissors and cut out the picture frome the top of the box. Boom. Easy.
Step 2: Get bags. You’re going to need something larger than a typical freezer sized bag. Go for a two gallon or slightly larger depending on the shape of your LO’s puzzle (a typical Melissa & Doug puzzle should fit in a 2 gallon)
Step 4: Store. Get your bags together and put them in a space that may require your assistance in order for a child to get ahold of them (think large storage bin on the closet shelf)
Step 5: Educate. Explain to your LO that they can have one bag at a time and that each puzzle should be put back in the bag before the next puzzle comes out. If they are too little to understand, even easier. When they want to play with puzzles or you plan it in their day, get out one or two bags for them to enjoy. Afterwards, you have a much smaller puzzle mess to handle and they can learn to put back the pieces in the appropriate bag instead of struggling to get the pieces in the correct spots.
It’s a pretty simple process that will take you less than one nap time to complete but save you an afternoon of irritation trying to sort out a bazillion puzzle pieces. Save yourself the stress and the future argument with your kids over cleanliness of the play room and put the puzzle chaos to rest.