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Family Fun: How to Get the Kids Into Puzzles

Tomorrow is the first day of July and that means that summer is in full swing. The dead heat of midsummer is upon us, and that means we're all a little prone to wanting to lounge around, get a tan, and relax. It's also the time when we can spend a little more of our day with family. When we asked you guys what you wanted to see a post about, one of you suggested a post focused on Family Puzzle Nights and how to make puzzling fun enough to get the kids to turn off the TV, the iPod, the tablet, or the laptop and sift through puzzle pieces. First of all, we suggest making puzzling an activity rife with conversation, laughter, and snacks. Make it upbeat. Turn on some music, or check out Family Talk, the game that has over 100 conversation starters for fun way to keep "busy families connected." There's even a version for the Faith Edition, with "reflective questions to inspire a caring, giving and faith filled attitude." Our other suggestion is to make puzzling together about more than puzzling. Make a deal with your kids: when the family finishes the puzzle, you'll all do a fun activity based on that puzzle. If you do a puzzle of seashells, for example, you can pack up the kids in the car and head to the beach to find seashells afterwards.


Flip Flos 2 by Paper House Productions. 500 pieces. Finished size: 27" x 27"

 These bright colored flip flops in this shaped puzzle are great to inspire you to make a family trip to the pool!


 Summer BBQ Picnic by Lafayette Puzzle Factory. 500 pieces. This mouth-watering image can be completed with a family (or neighborhood) BBQ, where everyone creates their own shish kabobs or where you teach your kids the basics of grilling or making your favorite family dish!


Carousel Ride by Cobble Hill. 275 pieces. Is the fair coming to town? Promise your kids a fun-filled day of rides and balloons and cotton candy if they can help you complete this puzzle in time! 


Country Fair by SunsOut. 550 pieces.You might be a little crunched on time to complete this 4th of July-themed carnival puzzle, but you could keep it stored until next year! Or maybe make a family quilt together after you finish this one, where everyone gets to pick a fabric that best represents their personality! 


The Swimming Hole by Cobble Hill. 500 pieces. After this one's complete, find a good swimming hole—maybe with some rocks off which to jump, or get some inflatable tires. Pack up the dogs, the kids, and the snacks and make a day of it!

 Sweetest Day by White Mountain. 550 pieces. Make a deal with your kids that you'll try every ice cream shop in town over the summer until you decide, hands down, which one has the best of the best ice cream. Or learn how to make ice cream from home!


Colorful Underwater Kingdom by Ravensburger. 1000 pieces. Follow this one up with a trip to the aquarium. Or find an animal-themed puzzle and take them to the zoo! 


Sunflowers by Piatnik. 1000 pieces. Start a family garden, learn to press flowers, or just go on some back road driving past some farms to check out beautiful flowers!


Nothing Like Jonathans by White Mountain. 1000 pieces. Go apple picking. Or strawberry picking. Or blueberries, blackberries, whatever's around! Whatever you do, tailor your puzzle experience to something your family enjoys. If it's none of these things, find something that you guys like. Maybe you guys can switch off on who chooses the image, that way everyone gets a chance to finish a puzzle they love. After you finish, glue it, have everyone sign their name on the puzzle, then frame it! That's what my family has done! (Picture to come...)    

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