In Montessori training we learned that a child who had mastered the Solid Cylinders (with knobs) could be given two, three and finally four blocks of cylinders at a time. (Each block contains 10 cylinders!) This way he would have the challenge of mixing up to 40 cylinders and figuring out which block and which hole each goes into. And--as if that's not challenge enough!--he may even want to complete the task blindfolded.
It was with this in mind that I recently took our puzzle chest out of storage and let "Alleluia" go hog wild. We had grown bored of these simple puzzles a couple of months ago and I had put them up, so unearthing them held a certain excitement. I used to ask her to put one puzzle away before getting another one out, but now I presented this as a new kind of game. She needs some practice with the pincer grasp, so the fact that this felt reckless and fun helped! Our collection of wooden puzzles consists mostly of the "Melissa and Doug" peg puzzles, like this one.
With puzzles like these you can also do language work and sorting. So if you've put yours up for a while, consider dusting them off and taking a new approach. And if you have some puzzles and are thinking of asking Santa for more, consider your collection as whole--what themes do you want to add?