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Jigsaw Puzzles: A Fun and Healthy Hobby for Everyone
Do you enjoy solving puzzles and challenges? Do you want to exercise your brain and relax your mind at the same time? Do you like to explore different images and themes? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might want to try jigsaw puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles are a form of entertainment and education that involve assembling small pieces of wood or cardboard into a complete picture. They are suitable for people of all ages and backgrounds, and they offer many benefits for your mental and physical health. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about jigsaw puzzles, including their origin, types, benefits, tips, and online options.
What are jigsaw puzzles and how did they originate?
The definition and history of jigsaw puzzles
A jigsaw puzzle is a tiling puzzle that requires the assembly of often irregularly shaped interlocking and mosaiced pieces, each of which typically has a portion of a picture. When assembled, the puzzle pieces produce a complete picture. The name jigsaw puzzle comes from the tool that was used to cut the wood, although the inventor actually used a marquetry saw.
Jigsaw puzzles were invented in the 1760s by John Spilsbury, a British engraver and mapmaker, who used them to teach geography to children. He mounted maps on sheets of hardwood and cut along national boundaries, creating a puzzle useful for teaching geography. Dissected pictures followed, covering such subjects as history, alphabets, botany, and zoology. The use of popular pictures began in the 1860s and 70s, in both Great Britain and the United States. The puzzles became extremely popular in the early 1900s and had a revival in the Great Depression of the 1930s as an inexpensive, reusable amusement. Another revival began after World War II, and jigsaw puzzles have remained a popular entertainment since then.
The types and sizes of jigsaw puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles come in a variety of sizes. Among those marketed to adults, 300-, 500- and 750-piece puzzles are considered \"smaller\". More sophisticated, but still common, puzzles come in sizes of 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, 6,000, 7,500, 8,000, 9,000, 13,200, 18,000, 24,000, 32,000 and 40,000 pieces. The largest commercially available puzzle has 51,300 pieces and measures 28.5 feet by 6.25 feet.
There are also different types of jigsaw puzzles that add some variation and challenge to the hobby. Some examples are:
Flat 2D puzzles: These are the most common type of jigsaw puzzles and can feature any image or theme.
Repetitive design puzzles: These are puzzles that have either the same object repeated over and over in an identical fashion or just a block of color for which you have to rely entirely on your ability to find the right shapes.
3D puzzles: These are puzzles that create a three-dimensional object or scene, such as a building, a globe, or a sculpture. They usually have plastic or foam pieces that interlock or snap together.
Double-sided puzzles: These are puzzles that have two different images on the front and back sides of the pieces, making them twice as hard to solve.
Shaped puzzles: These are puzzles that have irregular edges and shapes that match the theme of the image, such as an animal, a flower, or a map.
Mystery puzzles: These are puzzles that do not show the final image on the box, but only give some clues or hints. The solver has to discover the image as they complete the puzzle.
What are the benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles?
Jigsaw puzzles can improve your cognitive skills
One of the main benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles is that they can boost your brain power and memory. Jigsaw puzzles require you to use both sides of your brain: the left side for logic and analysis, and the right side for creativity and intuition. This helps you to improve your spatial awareness, visual perception, concentration, attention, problem-solving, and reasoning skills. Jigsaw puzzles also stimulate the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, motivation, and learning. Furthermore, jigsaw puzzles can help you to prevent or delay cognitive decline and dementia by keeping your brain active and engaged.
Jigsaw puzzles can reduce your stress and anxiety
Another benefit of doing jigsaw puzzles is that they can help you to relax and cope with stress and anxiety. Jigsaw puzzles are a form of meditation that can calm your mind and body. They can lower your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and muscle tension. They can also distract you from negative thoughts and emotions, and provide you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Jigsaw puzzles can also enhance your mood by releasing endorphins, the natural painkillers and happiness hormones in your body.
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Jigsaw puzzles can enhance your creativity and productivity
A third benefit of doing jigsaw puzzles is that they can boost your creativity and productivity. Jigsaw puzzles can stimulate your imagination and inspire you to think outside the box. They can also improve your focus and concentration, which can help you to perform better at work or school. Jigsaw puzzles can also foster your social skills and relationships by allowing you to share the fun and challenge with others. You can work together with your family, friends, or colleagues to complete a puzzle, or join online communities of puzzle enthusiasts to exchange tips and ideas.
How to do jigsaw puzzles like an expert?
Choose a puzzle that suits your skill level and interest
The first step to doing jigsaw puzzles like an expert is to choose a puzzle that matches your skill level and interest. You don't want to pick a puzzle that is too easy or too hard for you, as it might bore you or frustrate you. You also want to pick a puzzle that has an image or theme that appeals to you, as it will motivate you to finish it. You can find jigsaw puzzles in various categories, such as animals, landscapes, art, movies, cartoons, sports, etc. You can also customize your own puzzle by uploading a photo or image of your choice.
Prepare a suitable workspace and accessories
The second step to doing jigsaw puzzles like an expert is to prepare a suitable workspace and accessories. You want to have a flat surface that is large enough to accommodate the size of the puzzle and the loose pieces. You also want to have good lighting and ventilation in your workspace. You might want to use some accessories to make your puzzle-solving easier and more enjoyable, such as:
A puzzle mat: This is a roll-up mat that allows you to store and transport your puzzle without breaking it apart.
A puzzle board: This is a rigid board that provides a stable base for your puzzle.
A puzzle sorter: This is a set of trays or boxes that helps you to organize your pieces by color, shape, or pattern.
A puzzle glue: This is a special glue that helps you to preserve your finished puzzle by bonding the pieces together.
A puzzle frame: This is a This is a frame that allows you to display your finished puzzle as a wall decoration.
Use effective strategies and tips to solve the puzzle
The third step to doing jigsaw puzzles like an expert is to use effective strategies and tips to solve the puzzle. There is no one right way to do a jigsaw puzzle, but some general guidelines are:
Start with the edges: The easiest way to begin a puzzle is to find and assemble the edge pieces, which have at least one straight side. This will help you to create a border and a reference for the rest of the puzzle.
Sort by color and shape: The next step is to sort the remaining pieces by color and shape. You can use a puzzle sorter or your own containers to separate the pieces into different groups. This will help you to find the pieces that belong to the same area or section of the puzzle.
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