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Thursday January 31, 2019 at 3:42pm Age: 201 days
Category: Intermediate, District


Snow closing, delayed openings, early dismissal—they had it all this week. So Mrs. Marcolina’s fifth-graders hardly noticed the  two-day delay on their celebration of National Puzzle Day, observed annually on Jan. 29.

“When you play with puzzles, you use both sides of your brain,” said Kate O’Neill. “The more we use it, the better off we are.”

Kate is all up to date on jigsaw puzzle research. And so is Gregory Gibbs. “They use puzzles in nursing homes because they’re good for your brain and keep your memory sharp,” Gregory said.

Studies also suggest that puzzles improve cognitive function, and problem-solving skills—which are at the core of 21st-century learning, and the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) movement.

In addition to Mrs. Marcolina’s stocked puzzle closet, students, visiting parents, faculty and administrators, brought their favorites to share with others. Superintendent Brian C. Monahan donated a 1000-piece puzzle of the United States map, which arrived at the right time. The class has been learning about all 50 states.

Knowingly or unknowingly, several other students were working on expanding their vocabulary and improving language skills through word searches and crossword puzzles.

Mitchell Demberg had created and printed his own word-search problem. “I had to go on a couple of websites to find these words,” he said.

There were also rubik’s cubes, and other cube-type sequential puzzles. These require sequencing, matching, categorizing, and nimble fingers. Used regularly, they can help with the development of mathematical, logical and spatial intelligence, as well as motor skills.

All this learning wrapped in a fun time with friends—or family! Cole Lamendola, an expert on cube-type puzzles, was hoping as much. “I think we’re going to celebrate it tonight as a family.”

So get the kids away from their screens tonight, and declare your own National Puzzle Day. Should you be short of puzzles at home, has free puzzles to download, print and play!