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Using Puzzles as a Bonding Tool

Posted by Puzzle and Bloom Admin on

I am one of those charmed people who have friends from all over the world. I have lived in New York, Charlotte, Chicago, etc and have picked up a few great friendships along the way.

I lived in Charlotte about 10 years ago and I had a good friend named Bakary who was from Gambia. One day he invited me to his home to have lunch with him and his cousins. I love food so I was all for it.

When I arrived at his home, I was greeted with kind gestures and laughter. Everyone was having a great time cooking and watching a movie.

So, Bakary made a huge bowl of food for him and his cousins in a decorated enamelled metal bowl.

Then, Bakary fixed a small regular sized bowl of food for me. I had my own personal lonely dish.

“I know you are American and may not want to eat with us. So, here’s your bowl,” he explained after seeing my odd reaction.

So, there we all were. In front of the television watching a movie.

There I was with a fork and a personal bowl to myself while they were all together eating in a large bowl with no fork happily sharing food.

Not only was everyone cohesively sharing, no one was using a fork. They were all using their hands.

According to using your hands while eating provides countless benefits to digestion, manages food portions, increases blood circulation and prevents disease. I remember feeling odd and melancholy almost like I was missing something.

And, I was missing something! American culture can have a very “individual” concept at times. Some of us no longer have that “closeness” that our forefathers and grandparents may have had.

It is not our fault or a bad thing because Americans definitely bond in other ways like playing cards and board games which require other people and creates a huge platform for bonding and self expression. And, the pastime is normally accompanied with food and other festivities.

There are countless studies on how the movement of hands in any exercise can forge new neural pathways in our brains. Consequently, making our brains better.

And, this is what leads me to why puzzling is so important for early childhood development and bonding.

It creates a space for social interaction, collective problem solving skills, team work, communication between puzzlers and the satisfaction of completing a project together. It starts bonding at an early age which will hopefully create an adult geared with more compassion and empathy for friends and family.

It is also another way to bond with our children and a space for our children to bond with one another. Puzzles are always a win-win.

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