Put away that Netflix remote or your iPad, and bring out the puzzle! Tell me, when was the last time you really tried a new puzzle!
I’m talking about a real puzzles… at least 1000 pieces. This may be tame for many, but for me, someone who will never claim to be a puzzle-master, this provides the perfect evening challenge and distraction. It allows me to switch off my brain to do something different at the end of each day!
In the midst of these restrictions, and whilst I’m still cautious about social activities outside of our four walls, this is a different kind of entertainment, and certainly gets my brain working in different ways. My husband and I started doing puzzles during lockdown as a kind of home date night. But really you could do this alone, as an entire family, or like us, as a couple over a glass of wine. Rather than sitting in front of a movie, or staring at computers, smart phones or iPads; we enjoyed a bit of banter and some ‘friendly’ competition as we set ourselves small goals on how long each puzzle would take to complete.
The hardest part is just getting started. Sorting out the pieces so they are face up, and then my strategy is to find all the edge pieces to set the frame. The box picture is our guide, and we generally do choose puzzles that have lots of different features (not just blue sky or ocean!). We tend to work on grouping like-pieces together or colours, so we can locate where each piece should be placed. We worked out our own system, divide and conquer as we pieced it together over several nights.
So I admit right now, I’m not an expert ‘grand puzzler extraordinaire’ but I really do enjoy that sense of satisfaction and achievement when you finally place that last piece down, and the full picture is laid before you. It makes you want to go back for more! Start all over again with a brand new challenge.
The latest puzzle we recently purchased offers a whole new and different challenge. Well, at least for me! This puzzle is 1000 pieces and there is no picture! Nothing visual to work from. It’s a ‘what if puzzle‘ based on a riddle, and you’re supposed to use your imagination to build the final picture. What? How? I know! I know! You must be thinking that I’ve gone one step too far in this puzzling game. I actually think I agree! I have no idea where to start with this one. I’ll also be honest, I bought this puzzle by mistake. I didn’t read the full product information. This is really not like me, trying a puzzle that will challenge both my imagination and my problem solving skills. But hey, I didn’t realise what I was getting into until I opened the box. Now I can’t return it, and so it is just taunting me, almost daring me to just try it.
So, with this predicament, I now feel the challenge rising. I can’t just walk away from this puzzle (although I’ll admit I am procrastinating on starting). But I will do it! I’m not one to walk away from a challenge once it is set. It is partly because I want to get my money’s worth on the purchase. But, I also actually think this will be a great distraction in the evenings after my work day and when my son is finally asleep in his bed. Wish me luck!
I’ll be sure to post the outcome in future blogs. Hopefully the completed picture, or maybe just the puzzle pieces strewn all over the dining room in frustration!
Puzzles not for you? Well maybe a puzzle isn’t the solution for your nights in, but I’m pretty sure that there are many other options around that you could try, and perhaps re-aquaint yourself with some good old fashioned family fun. There are always the favourite board games (classics like Monopoly or Scrabble for example), crosswords puzzles, sodoku, chess, card games, or a friend of mine even decided to get back into Lego!
Practical. Hands on. Fun. Getting back to the basics can be quite satisfying if you just try it.
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