Type of Activity:  Processing

Props Needed:  There are several types of blank puzzles out there that you can use, all described below.

Puzzles can be incorporated into reflective learning in a variety of ways. Puzzles create a unique atmosphere in which each participant can contribute an equal piece. Puzzle pieces can work as a metaphor for the role participants take in activities. They can act as a space to create artistic representations of a participant’s strengths, or contributions to the group. They can create a “picture” of the group and its experiences and goals piece by piece.

There are many ways to use puzzles.  The only limit is your imagination.

Basic Process:  Each person decorates a puzzle piece in his/her own style, usually, but not always using a common theme.  You can have them color on their puzzle piece to represent the learning that they are going to take away from the program.

For counseling sessions: have the client or family color a different piece to record their progress and milestones.  You then have a colorful memory puzzle of everything they have accomplished and learned.

For schools:  These are great for field trips!  It can utilize bus time on their way back to school.  After your trip to the museum give each student a puzzle piece and some crayons as they get back on the bus.  Have them color what they learned on their puzzle piece.  When you get back to school the students can put the puzzle together.

To close an adult program you can have a group identify goals by having participants decorate puzzle piece to represent the learning that they are going to take away from the program.

What is your piece of the puzzle? In newly formed committees and other action groups members need to assign roles early on- through creating artwork, or strength and goal words- group members can  explore express and define their roles in a group and the strengths they bring to the group.

In a conflict situation, the puzzle pieces can be used effectively as a communication tool. Expression can be enhanced when a person uses a puzzle piece to represent their feelings and actions. For participants to name their part in a conflict and the piece they might take on to change it.

As a memento of group experience:  Iron on puzzles can create a unique puzzle for your group as well.  Using your computer you can create whatever you want to iron onto the puzzle.  Some examples would be group goals, mission statement, or group photo.  Then using a color printer, print your finished piece onto the iron on transfer paper.  You then iron that piece of paper directly onto the puzzle and as a closing activity, have the group put the puzzle together to reveal the finished piece.

Name Tags:  Great idea for name tags for a small conference or business meeting.  Write each person’s name on a puzzle piece and glue on the pin to the back.  They then have to find the person(s) they connect with.

Where to get it/How to Make It:  There are several types of blank puzzles.  Your kit comes equipped with the Community Puzzle and Puzzle People.

The Community Puzzle consists of large universal blank puzzle pieces that fit together in any   order.  Since the Community Puzzles are universal, they will connect with any other Community Puzzle, so if you had a group of 300 you could get enough puzzles so each participant could decorate their own piece and then add it to the large puzzle.

The Community Puzzle comes in two sizes.  The large puzzle consists of 48 pieces, 24 large   center pieces and 24 border and corner pieces.  The center pieces are roughly 4”x4”.  The Community Puzzle Jr. is a 16 piece puzzle.  It has 4 center pieces and 12 border and corner pieces.  Based on the same concepts as the large Community Puzzle, the Community Puzzle "Junior" can be used for individuals and smaller groups.

Puzzle People is another universal puzzle.  It will go   together in any order as well.  See picture.


For more resources see:  A Teachable MomentCommunity Puzzle ProductsPuzzle People

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