Kids Activities: Make Your Own Puzzle

With a few simple materials and just a little time, you can make your own unique puzzle.

An afternoon can easily fly by when you're caught up in putting a puzzle together. To double the fun, make the puzzle yourself, then you can take it apart and put it back together again!

For this activity, you will need the following materials:

-Picture or artwork

-Sheet of sturdy cardboard at least as large as the artwork

-White school glue

-Paintbrush

-Marker

-Scissors or utility knife

Begin by finding the picture or artwork for the puzzle. This can be a calendar page, a small poster, or even original artwork of your very own. Be careful in the choice of paper---newspaper and other delicate papers tear easily and won't last long.

Hint:

Make a colored, full size copy of the artwork so that you can refer to the entire picture when assembling the puzzle.



Now, apply the glue over the entire sheet of cardboard. You don't want random blobs of glue here and there, so use the paintbrush to smooth out the glue into a thin layer covering the entire piece of cardboard. Press the artwork (art side up!) onto the cardboard, and smooth out the wrinkles. Make sure that the edges are glued down firmly. Allow this to dry completely.

When the glue has dried, snip away the excess cardboard with scissors. Then, turn the whole thing over, so that the plain cardboard side is facing up. With the marker, draw lines to indicate where you plan to cut apart the puzzle pieces.

A puzzle for a very young child should have less than 20 pieces, and the pieces should be large. Older kids, try making a puzzle with 20 to 80 pieces. Remember when drawing the guidelines that the puzzle pieces need to have interlocking parts! Look at existing puzzle pieces for ideas on piece shapes.

This type of puzzle might take some time to make, but you'll be able to put it back together in no time. If you decide that you want to challenge your mind with a more difficult puzzle, try making an intermediate or advanced puzzle with 100, 150, or even 200 pieces. A puzzle with that many pieces will take a long time to make---imagine cutting out each of those pieces! But if you're up to it, then you'll have the satisfaction of creating a truly difficult puzzle, and you'll have many hours of puzzle assembling ahead of you.

After you've planned out the puzzle and drawn the guidelines for the pieces, carefully follow your lines to cut out the pieces. For a very simple puzzle with just a few large pieces, you can probably easily cut the pieces apart with scissors. However, if your puzzle is more complex and has lots of small pieces, a utility or craft knife will work better.

Note:

Kids, ask an adult for help with the knife!

Finally, once you've cut apart the entire puzzle, you can get to work putting it back together. Or, if you prefer to wait until another day, simply store the pieces in a shoebox or plastic craft box. Don't forget to keep the copy of the artwork in the box, as well, so that you, your friends, and your family will have a guide when reassembling your original, unique puzzle.

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