Since the beginning of time, students, educators and even parents have looked forward to summer vacation. Kids go months without homework, teachers get to recharge their batteries, and parents get to spend more time with their children.
However, once that extended break reaches its inevitable end, nearly everyone has to readjust. While kids dread the familiar sound of their alarm clocks, teachers face the uphill battle of reacclimating their students to an academic mindset. For years, schools have used tools such as summer reading lists to encourage kids to keep their minds sharp over the summer months. However, such reading lists have largely fallen by the wayside, leaving parents and educators alike looking for ways to keep kids sharp over long vacations.
"Parents need help to get a head start locating new diversified products that children will enjoy using while they increase learning skills, enhance instruction and expand creativity," says Dr. Stevanne Auerbach (a.k.a. "Dr. Toy"), a childhood development specialist and expert in play, toys, children's products, and education.
Over the years, Auerbach has found that puzzles, particularly Scramble Squares® puzzles from b. dazzle, inc., provide both the educatio and entertainment value that parents and educators alike are seeking in an effort to keep their kids minds sharp.
"These products help parents and teachers overcome the challenge of finding innovative, fun and interesting things for their kids and students to do," says Auerbach.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the puzzles is their value to children of all ages. Regardless of the student's grade level, Scramble Squares® encourage critical thinking skills, patience and perseverance.
* Early education: Even if a child isn't going "back" to school but rather just beginning their life in academia, puzzles can be a great way to give a child a head start. Toddlers will learn to recognize shapes and solve problems by matching the pieces to complete the beautiful illustrations on a broad range of subjects in which they are interested, like pirates, baseball, fairies, puppies, butterflies, frogs and many others. As a child ages, brain teaser puzzles like Scramble Squares® will help strengthen logic skills.
* Elementary school: Elementary school children are often exposed to puzzles depending on their course of study. For example, word puzzles are used to boost vocabulary, while logic puzzles are often used to foster arithmetic skills. Numerous educators across the country have now begun to use Scramble Squares® in their classrooms as well.
"I put out a new puzzle or two as it relates to what we are learning about," says Jill Stiger, an elementary school teacher in Michigan who began using the puzzles to offer her students a fun and challenging alternative to what they were used to. "The children love to solve them, especially when their parents can't!"
* Higher grades: Middle school and even high school educators often use puzzles to challenge their students' skills in math and sciences. Each Scramble Squares® puzzle package includes an interpretive panel of fascinating facts on the subject of the puzzle, as well as a trivia question and its hidden answer, all packaged in a unique and handy resealable clear vinyl travel pouch which can be collected and stored easily in the classroom or at home in a standard 3-ring binder. Science experiments and mechanical puzzles that emphasize building and design help to foster a student's knowledge of physics and geometry.