If you’re like me, you just can’t get rid of all the cards that come in for Birthdays, Christmases, Valentine’s Day, what have you. So, dont. Instead cut them up and make a puzzle with cards!
Puzzles are super easy to make. Do you still have any valentines or old Christmas cards left at your house? We have a bunch leftover from our holiday season.
When we first started making card puzzles, I cut puzzle pieces out of the cards and made them look exactly like jigsaw puzzle pieces. I thought they looked really cool… and then I thought, “Wait, my little guy can cut…” so I pretty much scrapped my pieces and had him start cutting his own. So much cuter and more fun!
Materials Needed to Make a Puzzle With Cards:
- valentines or other holiday cards
- marker (optional)
How to Make a Puzzle With Cards:
- Have your child draw lines on the back of the card to make puzzle pieces (I skipped this step, see why below)
- Have your child start cutting along the lines.
- Count the number of pieces cut while you are working together.
- Put the puzzle back together.
I encouraged my son to cut his cards into four or five pieces, since that was pretty manageable for him. Sometimes he listened, and sometimes he didn’t. I should have had my son draw some lines first, then try to cut along the lines… but he got caught up in the excitement of cutting, so I just let him enjoy himself.
One of the reasons I love doing puzzles is because they are such great learning activities!
While you put your card puzzles together you can…
- talk about the shapes your child cut
- teach spatial concepts (next to, in front of, behind, around, near, etc.)
- practice problem solving skills
- discuss designs and pictures on the cards
- introduce new vocabulary (we talked about the words diagonal, curved, rounded, pointy, etc.)
Another reason that kid-made puzzles are fabulous is because they can be adapted to fit your child’s individual needs/abilities. Younger children can just create 3-5 piece puzzles and older kids could cut their cards into 20+ pieces and make them really tricky to put together. You could even have an older sibling create a puzzle for a younger sibling.
You can cut any of your cards up like this, or even do family photos!
In addition to playing pretend post office, I plan to laminate a few of our favorite card puzzles and add them to our puzzle shelf, this way my son can hold onto a few of his favorite cards… but they won’t be cluttering up my kitchen anymore! We may also need to try this with several of the birthday cards he just received!