Bored at Home? Be Puzzled!

Jigsaw puzzles go back to the 1760’s when European mapmakers pasted maps onto a wooden board and then cut them into small pieces.

There’s a reason jigsaw puzzles have been around for such a long time.  They cater to everyone – from very young to old.  They will not only give you plenty of hours of quality entertainment for a minimal amount of money, but also help to keep your brain sharp.   Games and puzzles are brain-food.

If you’re getting bored at home or are homebound, now might be the best time to whip out a jigsaw puzzle.  There’s something soothing and de-stressing about working on a favorite puzzle.  There’s always a card table setup in my rec room with an ongoing jigsaw in the works.

When I want to relax at the end of the day or am staying in during a stormy weekend, I simply turn on the TV, then plop myself down in front of the card table.   While enjoying TV shows, my mind is getting a workout and I fall into a peaceful state of bliss as the pieces quietly taunt me to literally “get it together.”

Find jigsaws online at places like Amazon.  Or go to some of the best puzzle makers around, online and in stores:  White Mountain, Eurographics and Bits and Pieces.  Retailers like Barnes and Noble, Walmart and Target carry a wide variety of brands and style for all ages.

It’s also family fun!  Even men love jigsaws.  They can find images featuring vintage cars, roadside diners, fishing and/or hunting scenes, etc.

To get the biggest bang for your buck, focus on puzzles that are of personal interest to you.  If you’re a Sci-Fi fan, there are even Sci-Fi puzzles.  Mystery fans rejoice – you can find a variety of mystery puzzles including collages of Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book covers!  Your favorite artists might have puzzles of their artwork.  You can get seasonal too: Valentine’s Day I did a collage of vintage valentine stamps.  For Halloween, I chose several Halloween images.  When winter’s here, I’ll grab snowy hometown scenes, and for summer, beach and frozen cocktail themed puzzles.   Do you love a beautiful picture?  Grab one that lights your fire.

So go ahead, take a deep breath – you’re stuck indoors – so what?  Grab a fun puzzle that suits your fancy — it’s OK to be puzzled!

TIPS FOR BEGINNERS to keep you from being frustrated:

Start Small:  Go with pieces of 300 or 500.  Save the 750 pieces and up after you’ve done a                       puzzle or two and feel you are up for the challenge

Always pick an image that appeals to you personally. 

Make sure the image does NOT have a lot of dark, beige or neutral colors – these can be very difficult and cumbersome.

Look for images that are colorful with lots of things going on.  Example – don’t’ start with puzzles that have a lot of sky, water, ground.  Pick images with a multitude of different objects or items with lots of different colors.

Important:  Make sure whatever puzzle size you choose, that you have a dining room table or other table that is large enough to accommodate it (a TV tray won’t cut it!).

Play or stream your music, listen to your favorite radio station or TV show while you’re working on the puzzle to enhance the experience.

Place a large standard poster board (accommodates most puzzles) on the table to make the pieces easier to see and give them stability.  Poster boards can be found at dollar stores, craft stores, office stores, etc. and are inexpensive.   Standard size poster board is:  22” x 28”.

You are NOT expected to do it in one sitting (although some puzzle fanatics will do so).  They are meant to be done during leisure and downtime.  They can take days or weeks depending on how much free time you have.

If you have flexibility problems with your hands, manufacturers have you covered.  Look for “large piece, easy grasp” puzzles.

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