a peek inside the fishbowl

20 Mar, 2014

Are you a puzzle person?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!|Ottawa

We did a LOT of puzzles with the girls when they were small. They’re good for a whole bunch of reasons: developing hand/eye coordination, fine motor development, problem solving. We had some fun ones too; puzzles that glowed in the dark and had “heat spots” that revealed hidden pictures underneath if you pressed your hand on them.

My MIL has been a big fan of puzzles ever since I’ve known her. I’ve been slow to come around, because the idea of assembling 1000 tiny pieces into one big picture all by my lonesome never held much appeal before now. Perhaps puzzle interest develops with age, but I’m starting to see the appeal of puzzles, especially if there are other people around who are willing to help. Assembling a puzzle is an oddly meditative, isn’t it? Looking at the pieces and mulling each one over… it forces you to slow down and focus. I imagine it’s good for grown up brains too.

Related: Once upon a time I spotted a really smart puzzle/board game table at IKEA. It had wheels and was very low to the ground, so low in fact that it could actually be pushed under the sofa and kept undisturbed for the next puzzle session. Well, I should have bought that table when I had the chance because they don’t carry it anymore. (If you have one and are looking to get rid of it, please let me know.)

Over March Break, the four of us ventured out to Vanier (“why are there so many pawn shops here daddy?”) to check out the Hobby Shop. Mark bought a model rocket. (Sidebar: I sense a blog post in the near future, hopefully one that does not include a story about someone igniting his eyebrows.) While he browsed, I found myself admiring a selection of puzzles. I surprised myself and bought this one:

My first puzzle purchase in about a decade.

Cool eh? It’s a WHOLE NEW GENERATION OF PUZZLE! What do you think? Is it time to bring back puzzles? Or were they always here and I just never noticed?

6 Responses to "Are you a puzzle person?"

1 | Mary @ Parenthood

March 20th, 2014 at 7:20 am


Not really a puzzle person but making an under the couch table such as you describe would be very easy. IKEA sells table tops & wheels (you just put together). For that matter, all you really need is a hunk of wood and wheels (which you can get from Home Depot or similar as well). Just screw the wheels onto the bottom of the wood. For bonus points I’d cover the wood with felt (fabric store, use a stapler) so pieces don’t slide around.

2 | Lynn

March 20th, 2014 at 8:48 am


I’m a huge puzzler! I actually asked for 500 and 1000 piece puzzles for Christmas this year and got some lovely Ravensburger puzzles (really great quality). My older two were never big into puzzles but luckily for me my youngest is – so it’s something we can (and do!) do together. I agree with you – there’s something so peaceful and calming about it – plus the huge satisfaction of putting in the last piece!

3 | andrea tomkins

March 20th, 2014 at 11:11 am


Mary – I am seriously considering taking the DIY route. I like your suggestion of adding a felt covering. Smart!

Lynn – Ravensburger is a good brand. Too. Pretty artwork as well. Do you have a good space for puzzle building? This is our issue at the moment…

4 | Stacey K

March 20th, 2014 at 1:02 pm


FWIW, we have a board covered with flannel (doubles as a felt board for the kids). I find that the pieces stick a bit too much and it can be hard to slide the pieces into place, or move sections of puzzle around. I would still cover a board with fabric, but using a smoother fabric.

5 | Lisa from Iroquois

March 20th, 2014 at 2:32 pm


If you go with a too smooth fabric you might find pieces flying off the edges when you move the table. Perhaps a tiny lip on the edge would prevent problems. Heck even just a border created with felt glued to the fabric might do the trick. of course there are those roll up fabric mats for making puzzles on too. Then you just need to occasionally clear a table surface to work on, but the puzzle can be rolled up and set aside at meal times.

6 | Big questions and some screen-free family time >> a peek inside the fishbowl

November 19th, 2014 at 2:10 pm


[…] – I recently discovered a love for puzzles, and the kids came around to doing it with me too. We need more cool puzzles […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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