Preschool Puzzle Play Linked to Better Spatial Relations Skills
|April 6, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Education, Research||
A research team from the University of Chicago has linked preschool puzzle play to increased spatial relations skills. The study examined play by preschoolers from divergent backgrounds in their homes over the course of two years. Children who played with puzzles scored higher in spatial relations at the end of the research period.
According to prior studies, a gender gap in spatial skills is present relatively early in childhood development, but the University of Chicago study found the increase in spatial skills to be equal across genders, although parents of boys used more engagement during puzzle play. Preschool boys also tended to play with puzzles that were more complex. Parents with higher income levels were most likely to use puzzles during playtime.
These findings point to the importance of parents and early childhood professionals mindfully incorporating puzzle–style activities into play to serve as a foundation for better improved skills and outcomes in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education achievement in elementary school. The study, Early Puzzle Play: a Predictor of Preschoolers’ Spatial Transformation Skill, by Susan Levine, Kristin R. Ratliff, Janellen Huttenlocher and Joanna Cannon was published in the February 2012 edition of Developmental Science.