Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Helena's game

A product of her very own brain. I'll call it Jigsaw Concentration.

For 2 players (though we've never tried to play with more, and Helena refuses to play by herself).

Take one jigsaw puzzle. The game was devised using a none-too-challenging 12-piece puzzle. We usually play with the 20- or 24-piece ones. Play with the 48-piece puzzle was successful, but long. It should be a puzzle that the child is able to complete by themselves easily, or at least without major frustration.

Turn all the pieces face down, so you face a sea of grey cardboard.

The player who goes first — that would be Helena — turns over 2 pieces.

If these 2 pieces don't fit together (and they probably won't), return them to the facedown position. Play passes to the next person, who tries to choose 2 pieces that will fit together. (This is the concentration part of the game; this could take a few tries, taking turns, of course.)

When 2 pieces finally fit together, great! Go again! Turn over another 2 pieces!

If both pieces either fit together or fit to the existing picture, great! Go again.

If only 1 piece or neither piece fits to the existing picture, return the loose pieces to the facedown position. Play passes to the next person.

Whoever places the last piece wins.

The opening is surprisingly difficult, but there comes a point when all the pieces start falling into place, and the "rules" often fly out the window. Helena decides when it's appropriate to start turning over just 1 piece at a time instead of 2. Often the game degenerates into a race. Sometimes it's a contact sport in lunging for the last pieces. Helena always wins, and if she doesn't, she says she wins anyway.

I'm amazed — and proud — that she found a way to give new life to the tired (small) puzzles in our home. Perhaps even more than of books, her love of a puzzle challenge tells me she's mine.


Suzanne said...

Clever girl! We just tried a 60-piece puzzle yesterday. By "we," of course, I mean "I" -- Sean looked for pieces upon instruction for me, and Allie just tried cramming any old two pieces together. I've discovered that I still don't have much patience for puzzles, especially when the kids rip the puzzle apart immediately after it's put together!

Carl V. said...

What a fantastic game!!! Thanks for sharing that. Great idea.

Martha said...

What a creative approach to puzzles! I admit I'm a bit like Suzanne in my limited patience for puzzles. I get all single minded, and very irritated when the game spins into silliness, which it always does. I like jigsaws on my own, the harder the better, but the only time I've had to do them was when I was overdue with my boys, and I put together giant puzzles to pass the time. But this game sounds like actual fun. Maybe I'll try it with C.