Make Your Own Jigsaw Puzzle
It couldn't be simpler to create a custom, homemade jigsaw puzzle to suit any theme or occasion. And in this activity, your child will learn how to make one that showcases the beauty of Africa. Any picture can become the star of your child's puzzle, as long as it can be printed out. Your child will do a lot of learning along the way as she manipulates the small pieces, discerns similar patterns and colors and explores beautiful African landscapes!
What You Need:
- 2 copies of a favorite African picture such as a landscape, wildlife scene or native people
- Sheet of craft foam
- Dry mounting spray
- X-Acto knife or sharp scissors
- Pen for marking
- Pair of disposable wooden chopsticks
- Pair of wooden skewers
- Glue gun
- Piece of thin cardboard slightly larger than the puzzle
What You Do:
- Have your child pick a captivating image from Africa, e.g. Mount Kilimanjaro or Victoria Falls or even the Great Pyramids and print it out in color. You may need to help your child save it on your computer and enlarge it if necessary. The picture in this example measures 6 ¾” x 10.” Print a second copy to use as a reference when putting the puzzle together.
- Help your child adhere the picture onto craft foam with dry mounting glue, and allow it to dry completely. If necessary, cut the craft foam to size so that it is the same size as the picture.
- On the reverse side, help your child draw lines and various shapes, creating puzzle pieces. Make larger pieces for younger children and smaller pieces for older children. If your child is using a darker colored piece of craft foam, a medium point metallic marker works well.
- This step is for adults only: Cut the pieces out carefully with an X-Acto knife or sharp pair of scissors, following along the lines that your child has drawn to create puzzle pieces that fit together.
- Once all of the puzzle pieces have been cut out, mix them up and start your puzzle! Work with your child to assemble the puzzle pieces on a piece of cardboard. Use the copy of the picture as a guide.
- Once the puzzle is assembled, affix the borders to help keep the puzzle in its proper position. Have your child glue a chopstick on either side of the puzzle onto the cardboard base with a glue gun. The borders should be placed around the puzzle onto the cardboard, so that the puzzle can fit inside of the borders as you solve it. Be sure not to get glue on the puzzle pieces.
- Next, have your child glue the skewers to the top and bottom borders on the cardboard base, again being careful not to get glue on the puzzle pieces.
- If some of the puzzle pieces don’t lie completely flat, put a stack of small books on top of them overnight to flatten them out.
Voila! Your child now has a one-of-a-kind puzzle that she'll have fun putting together time and time again. She will proudly share it with friends when they come over to play. She can also give away these unique, handcrafted puzzles as gifts. You and your child can make a homemade puzzle for any holiday or occasion.