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Place Mat Puzzle

2 and up: 30-45 Minutes: STEM
STEM Activities puzzle

Place Mat Puzzle

STEM Activities puzzle


Since puzzles can be expensive, this activity is an affordable way to create your own! Putting a puzzle together is fantastic practice for motor abilities, cognitive skills and emotional skills as children use concentration and patience to complete the activity.

Set Up Ideas

If you have mats in a variety of colors or patterns available, you may put these on display and have each child choose the mat they would like to work with.

Let’s Get Started

For this homemade puzzle activity, you'll need to gather two identical plastic placemats (heavy ones work best). One will serve as a base and should remain whole. Cut the second one into puzzle pieces appropriate for the age and abilities of the children.


With one placemat cut into pieces and the other mat whole, have the children put the puzzle pieces together using the first placemat as a guide.


When the children are ready, repeat the activity. This time, have them put the puzzle pieces together without using the other placemat as a guide.


Repeat this activity using the children's own work. First, have each child draw a picture. Then, make copies of the children's artworks using a copy machine or scanner.


Cut the copied artwork into puzzle pieces and have the children recreate the picture using the puzzle pieces. Children may wish to use their original picture as a guide.

Completing a puzzle also challenges children's abilities to recall what the whole piece looks like. Ask the children whether they found the placemat or their own artwork easier to reassemble as a puzzle. Challenge them to think about different ways to make the puzzles easier or more difficult.


Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

Extend the life of the children's own artwork puzzle by laminating the puzzle pieces. This will ensure they are sturdy enough to use again and again. They'll love sharing their puzzles with friends and family!

Follow up Activity

Follow up Activity

Now it's the children's turn to create a puzzle! After gaining experience solving a few puzzles, have the children draw a picture, cut it into puzzle pieces and reassemble it. Now they'll be true puzzle masters!

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