It all really began quite organically for Jonathan, my son. Round about the time that he turned one, I realized that he had would often place the cap on his drinking bottle after he had finished drinking. Then I noticed it was happening with other things too-like he would try to screw back the vaseline cap onto its container or to fit his sister's Lego blocks together and pretty much try to 'fit in' anything that could be 'fitted onto' something else!
This got me excited and I thought he was ready for one-peice puzzles. So, without wasting time, I got him a puzzle with about 8 different animal peices where he could fit each animal into its appropriate space! Well...I realized I was probably a little too ambitious. He did have the general concept of putting each piece into a particular space (probably from seeing his sister do her puzzles) but he had absolutely no clue about synchronizing the shapes and colours (being able to fit the right animal into it's correct space).
What I then did was to get him toys that he could start stacking together and that fit into each other. He naturally took to these and got acquainted with them easier!
His first to 'master' were brightly coloured toys of various shapes that each fitted into their appropriate groove. He learnt that a star shape, for instance, goes into a star groove and not a triangular groove
The next toy he mastered was constructing a tower.
He grew to understand that the biggest piece must go to the bottom, with the sizes getting smaller and smaller, the higher the tower went. The conceptualizing of the differing sizes and placing them in their correct order wasn't an overnight venture for him. He fumbled quite a bit, but the concept eventually developed.
After having noticed that he was very comfortable with the shapes and the tower, I recently then re-introduced the one-piece board puzzle. Boy was I amazed! He so easily and so quickly got well-acquainted with it.
He knew for instance, that a 'particular piece' fitted into a 'particular groove'. He was aware of the color of each piece and quickly associated that color and shape with a particular position on the board! Shapes and colours!
He knew to WORK at 'fitting in' each piece if it didn't slide in easily the first time.
He still needs to work at turning it 180 degrees round if its upside down, but at least he knows where the piece is supposed to be
That's been our journey! I know it's gonna be easier now as we start developing from 1pc puzzles to 2pcs, 4pcs, 8pcs and so forth. I think he has the basic concepts in place to develop his puzzle making skills. I don't know if he could have been ready to do puzzles at an earlier stage (than now, when he is almost 2years old) and I don't think there's a single route to acquiring the skills that are necessary. But this was OUR journey, and it was organic for Jonathan!
How did you go about introducing your child to the world of puzzles?