"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Puzzles, habits & coloring inside the lines

Everett - age 5 at the time of this writing - LOVES puzzles. He's really good at them too, and will patiently work through all his 100 piece puzzles for hours at a time. Yesterday he'd finished doing all the puzzles he had in the house, and asked me if there was a site to do puzzles online. I found this:


It is great!! You pick your picture, the number of pieces you want (from 20 to 250), even the shape of the pieces. No dropping pieces on the floor, and no toddler running off with them :-) Everett played there all afternoon.

Paxton found him in his tent:

And they worked on puzzles together:

I've realized lately, with all Everett's puzzle-playing, that I have my own personal puzzle demons. I always, always have to put the edge pieces together first. I don't think I even like putting the edge pieces together first, but I do it because I feel like that's the way it should be done, and I have a hard time, mentally, doing it any other way. Somewhere along the way someone taught me that that's how you do puzzles, and I never questioned it. I don't remember a specific incident of being told to do it that way, but I DO very clearly remember the teacher who always admonished us to outline our pictures before we colored them, which would make it easier to stay within the lines. "You can't put the cows in the pasture before you put up the fence!"

I don't think it's necessary to outline your pictures first. I don't think it's necessary to stay inside the lines!!! In fact, there's a whole lot of joy in life just outside those lines.

When Everett does puzzles, he doesn't do the edges first. He doesn't group colors together, or sort anything out before he starts. Yesterday he sat on my lap while he worked on a puzzle of an underwater scene, and I watched as he happily put together part of a fish, then some corral, then some water, then back to the fish. Sometimes he does them himself, and sometimes he wants me to do them with him. He's helping me enjoy puzzles through his eyes, and he's breaking me out of my long-held habits. I love helping him, and I love that we do them Everett-style, and don't do the edges first.


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