What your kids can learn about money from jigsaw puzzles

A individual piece isn't worth much alone — but in the right place, it's priceless
Lessons from jigsaw puzzles

Puzzles are having a moment. If you’ve managed to get your hands on one — no easy feat, we’re told — here are some simple lessons from jigsaw puzzles you can use to teach your younger co-puzzlers some lasting financial lessons via those interlocking bits of cardboard.

Three key lessons from jigsaw puzzles:

1️⃣ Patience, my child! Any puzzle of 100 pieces or more is going to take some time. But then, doesn’t almost everything worth doing? And as Instagram knows, puzzles are extremely satisfying and qualify as self-care. Just like, say, saving your money. And hey: Once you have a nice chunk of change in the bank, you may want to cash it out and go buy a professional quality motorized skateboard — but that’s like breaking up a puzzle as soon as you’ve connected all the edges. You’re only just beginning!

2️⃣ Strategy matters. What’s an individual puzzle piece worth? Not much. (Unless it’s the last one and was somehow under the rug this whole time!) But if it’s a dollar, think about how you get from that $1 to a $1,000 puzzle. It’s a lot of work, and you want to make sure that every piece helps you on the way. Do you sort by shape? By colour? There are no set rules, but there are definitely ways to make it easier on yourself.

3️⃣ The more you work, the easier it gets. This is the ultimate jigsaw metaphor. When you first dump the box on the table (#protip we picked up from puzzle queen Karen Kavett: Sift out the dust first), it looks impossible. Sorta like saving for retirement with your first paycheque. But as you go, the big picture takes shape. And when you really get going, you start filling in the gaps as fast as you can pick up the pieces. Damn if that isn’t satisfying! Why, it’s almost like compound interest!

Ultimately, a good jigsaw puzzle can teach a plethora of skills. Whether you frame it at the end or carefully put it back in the box, you’ll come away with the satisfaction of having solved something tricky with a system of your own devising. And if you do break it up, we suggest putting the edge pieces in a separate Ziploc bag. (h/t, Karen!)

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