Jigsaw puzzles have always been a popular activity, but there’s been a surge in demand since the first few months of 2020, when many people started quarantining indoors.
Early jigsaw puzzles can be traced to the 18th century, when they were created by painting a picture on a flat piece of wood and then cutting it into small pieces. Interestingly, they were cut using a fretsaw and not a jigsaw, so it’s unclear where the name came from. Today, these puzzles are mostly made out of cardboard. The demand for puzzles soared in the 1930s during the Great Depression, as they were cheap, long-lasting, and recyclable, much like why they’ve become popular now.
There are various other reasons why puzzles are widely accepted as a positive activity. Puzzling can combat anxiety, as it acts as a form of escapism, and it keeps your brain active. In fact, many Alzheimer studies credit puzzles as slowing down the progression of dementia.
Completing puzzles can be a solitary game, so for those who are isolating at home or are less inclined to participate in group activities oftentimes enjoy puzzling. However, you can also make it into a social event – “puzzle parties” are now a fad. Families can find enjoyment together, using the activity as a tool to help their children learn, as it assists with reasoning, analyzing, logical thought process, problem solving skills, and hand-eye coordination.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can find puzzles with various retro themes, like vintage toys, candy brands, cars, cartoons, and more, and there are online companies that cater specifically to those who like these images. Retail stores should also have them available, and it’s always nice to support local businesses.
As we head into winter and the months get colder, we’ll most likely be spending longer days inside, so puzzling will continue to be all the rage. You’ll find entertaining shows via streaming platforms, but don’t forget to break out a puzzle once in a while.