jigsaw puzzle

6 07, 2020

Move Over Toilet Paper and Hand Sanitizers, There’s a New Coronavirus Shortage

By |2020-06-27T10:28:55-05:00July 6th, 2020|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Happy 4th of July!

I hope you’ve had a great weekend. Mine was spent working this patriotic puzzle I purchased before the COVID-19 pandemic started, thank goodness.

Media focused on the toilet paper and hand sanitizer shortages, but there’s another shortage going on—a pandemic jigsaw puzzle pandemonium.

As people tire of binge watching Amazon Prime and Netflix, they’re doing jigsaw puzzles. Worldwide puzzle sales are up more than 370% since March.

It’s understandable. Fitting puzzle pieces together is a diversion. And during these months of social distancing and sheltering in place, heaven knows we need diversion.

Jigsaw puzzles aren’t a new thing. John Spilsbury, a map engraver in England, mounted a world map to a sheet of hardwood and used a hand saw to cut around country boundaries in 1760. He called them “Dissected Maps” and sold as a tool for teaching geography.

Centuries later, I used map puzzles in my classroom for the same thing.

With the invention of the foot-pedal jigsaw in the 18th century, puzzles became more easily produced and new cardboard die-cutting techniques created puzzles like we see today. Styles have advanced with more technology. Modern 3D block puzzles let you create multiple puzzles using the same pieces.

Jigsaw puzzles provide cheap entertainment because they can be completed, scrambled, and passed around within a family or community. With increased pricing and limited availability, people have come up with creative ways to share puzzles.

The Irish Athol Congregational Church created a drive-thru puzzle swap.  You stay in your car, drop off a puzzle to be disinfected and move forward to pick out a disinfected puzzle.

In Omaha, Nebraska  a bookseller runs a puzzle exchange. You trade a puzzle for a puzzle or a donation to the local food bank.

This puzzle mania may be to relieve coronavirus boredom, but psychologists say puzzles are so much more than just a way to pass the time.

Angela Garcia, PhD, a professor at Bentley University who has been researching puzzles for more than 20 years, says, “Puzzling lets us experience the closure and success we do not always get to experience in real life.”

I’ve always been a puzzle lover. There’s always one working around here . The enduring lure of puzzles is they’ll always be an escape.

Want to try a puzzle? Here are some sites that offer free online puzzles:

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Canada https://www.jigsawplanet.com/FisherLibrary

Jigzone.com has a variety of puzzle sizes and shapes. You can even upload your own pictures and make them into jigsaw puzzles or send a jigsaw puzzle postcard. My favorite feature is the daily jigsaw puzzle in my email.

6 11, 2013

MENSA – One Word Wednesday

By |2013-11-06T06:00:30-06:00November 6th, 2013|one word Wednesday|0 Comments

We recently spent an evening with my son’s family matching wits with puzzles from a fun book titled Match Wits with Mensa.

Our family does enjoy mental challenges and besting one another in sports, games, and jokes, but we’re not Mensa members.

175px-Mensa_logo_svgThe word mensa means “table” in Latin, and is symbolized in the organization’s logo, which depicts the round-table nature of the organization and the coming together of equals

Mensa began in Oxford, England, in 1946 by Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, and Dr. Lancelot Ware, a British scientist and lawyer. Their idea was to form a group for people with high IQs that would be non-political and free from all social distinctions.

Mensa has grown to an international organization with more than 110,000 members in fifty national groups.

The largest U.S. Mensa group is in the Chicago area. Every year around Halloween, the group hosts a costume party for which many members create pun-based costumes. Check out the American Mensa website here: http://www.us.mensa.org/

Mensa’s purposes:

  1. to identify and to foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity
  2. to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence
  3. to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members

The organization also provides programs for gifted children, literacy, and scholarships.

Sometimes, I think we forget to challenge and train our brains, which we should do–especially as we age. Brain cells do die off, you know.

You don’t have to be a Mensa member to be intellectually stimulated. You can build brainpower with:

  • Puzzles from Matching Wits with Mensa like we did. Click to purchase:

mensa bookcover

  • Jigsaw or crossword puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Word games like Scrabble
  • Trivia mind games

There are oodles of books available as well as on-line sites like Brainbashers or Mensa’s game page.

When I taught school, I began each class with a thinking warm-up—puzzles, logic problems, and review questions from lessons. The puzzles and thinking problems were by far the students’ favorite.

YOUR TURN: Try these brain warm-ups and put your answers in a comment.

The first commenter – who gets all three brain warm-ups correct – will receive a free copy of Love in the Morning Calm.

EXAMPLE:  7 D in a W = 7 days in a week 

  1. W of the AW
  2. S on a S S
  3. 64 on a C
16 03, 2012

JIGSAW FUN for Cognitive Training

By |2012-03-16T08:37:32-05:00March 16th, 2012|Friday Free Day|1 Comment

Research shows our brain needs as much exercise as our body. So far I as know, there aren’t any brain gyms but there are brain games for cognitive training.

 My favorite game is Jigsaw puzzles.

At our house we keep a designated puzzle table in our living room. Amazing to see how guests gravitate to the puzzle table. All the while protesting that they don’t do jigsaw puzzles. Next thing you know, I’m begging them to leave and join the rest of us.

Here’s the current puzzle underway. Charles Wysocki’s Cape Cod Fishing Party

The table is downstairs on the direct route between the bedroom and the kitchen. I stop by the puzzle table and add a piece frequently.  I’m exercising my brain. In fact there is some strong research to suggest that working jigsaw puzzles renews your mind and helps stave off Alzheimer’s.

When I’m upstairs in my office and have a writing block moment or a piddling urge, I click on a website called  JigZone  to work a puzzle.

Cool site with fun stuff. You can even create your own jigsaw puzzle from a picture or a book cover.  NY Times best selling author Jo  Ann Ross has all her bookcovers as jigsaw puzzles on her website.

For daily exercise, Jigzone will send a puzzle to your email daily. Click and give one a try: Fruit and Veg Jigsaw Puzzle

Everyone have a great weekend. I won’t be on the porch. It’s raining pollen here.

YOUR TURN: What’s your favorite brain game?