There are many wooden knob puzzles on the market today and a lot of them come with pegs or knobs attached to some or all of the pieces. These knobs (or ‘pegs’ as they are often referred to) are more than just a feature that “should” be attached to wooden jigsaw puzzle pieces for children aged 18 months and above. Properly designed, they become an aid to learning key fine motor coordination skills, help build confidence and thereby assist with the learning of important milestone skills that all children need to develop and hone as part of their growing and developmental process.
Unfortunately, poorly designed knobs or pegs are common. These are often found on cheaply produced jigsaws and many of these come with safety concerns. Improperly attached, knobs or pegs may become small parts which can be a choking hazard for small children if they block the child’s airway. Poorly designed knobs or pegs may rotate freely and thereby work their way loose. They may also be attached with screws (which can loosen over time) or with glue only (which may deteriorate over time).
Small, or improperly designed wooden knobs or pegs can lead to frustration and learning diffculties, as children struggle to pick up pieces. This is often the case with cheaply produced and poorly designed wooden jigsaw puzzles which come with small straight wooden pegs. Properly designed knobs are ergonomically designed to allow small fingers to develop their fine motor skills and increase confidence and the desire to learn.
What to look out for:
- Do test the knobs to ensure that they are firmly fitting, and not attached with screws or glue only. Knobs should not move and should be designed in such a way as to not be able to work loose over time.
- Do look for knobs or pegs that are small and cylindrical and make a determination on whether these are appropriate for your child at this time. Providing them with well-designed learing aids at this important formative time in the child’s life is very important.