Norah is really interested in puzzles right now. But, she has been using a very random approach as she goes to put them together, so she can get really frustrated at times.

I decided to build on her current interest and teach her a strategic, efficient approach to puzzle-building, so she could have more of the joy and less of the fuss when building puzzles from now on.

I had her read and work through these steps to complete a new 100 piece puzzle in record time (record time for her).

Step 1. Do the border of the puzzle. (She found all the edge pieces easily, but it was difficult keeping her on task. Of course, she thought building the edges of the sky was really boring compared to finding all the colorful fish and coral pieces and trying to fill in the bottom first.)

Step 2. Separate all the pieces by color, texture, etc. (In this case, I suggested Norah start with two piles: one pile of pieces that are "in the water," looking for bubbles as a clue, and one pile of pieces "out of the water," looking for splashes as a clue.)

Steps 3 & 4. Start putting the main images together. (I encouraged Norah to build the three biggest dolphins first.)

Step 5. Connect the main images together with the remaining pieces. (The puzzle was so small, the rest of it just fell into place around those three main dolphins).

When Norah was done, she was ready to do another puzzle, so I took a few minutes and ordered her two more puzzles online before I forgot.