I've always been a big fan of puzzles. I'm specifically talking about jigsaw puzzles, though I love all kinds of games/puzzles like word jumbles, soduko, word searches, etc. So now that my kids are really getting into them, it's a great bonding experience for us.
Our little guy (2 1/2 years old) can pretty much handle a 24 piece puzzle on his own now, assuming they're the nice big fat pieces that fit in your hand. His older brother (4 1/2) can knock those off with his eyes closed practically and works with me on 100 piece ones with the small pieces. If he sticks with it long enough and has enough patience, he can totally do it. (Although the recent Incredible Hulk one was a real pain, seeing as how the whole thing was just green and grey.) If I'm there as a crutch, though, he'll lean on me a lot and say, "You do it, daddy." So I try to help without making it obvious I'm helping. I pull out pieces and gently lay them in his line of site so he'll grab them next. Or place them in an obviously wrong spot and act like I don't know where it goes. That sort of thing.
But at times, it's like I'm moving at lightning speed and everything else is in slow motion. (Yeah, I'm real humble, aren't I?) I can look at a pile of puzzle pieces and somehow see one in the middle of the pile and almost instinctively know where it goes. As I'm putting that piece in place, I'm already scanning the pile for the next one, almost on auto-pilot. And I'm not talking about the easy ones I do with my kids; I've always been like that with puzzles. The big 500 or 1,000-piece ones or more. Which pretty much drove my mom insane. I was telling her about our puzzle advances the other night, when she just chuckled and said, "Andrew... you were doing 100 piece puzzles before you were 2."
So either I'm failing at teaching my kids the true art of speed puzzling, or I just discovered that my mutant ability is to be pretty darn good at puzzles. As for coupons, I wish I had one for Games Magazine (one of my favorites as a kid), but just as good is one for the super-fun puzzlerific website Bits & Pieces:
10% off any size order at Bits and Pieces
Use coupon code W702040.
Valid through: October 31, 2007
Cannot be combined with any other offers. Discount does not apply to purchase of gift certificates or previous purchases.