Thursday, May 27, 2010

Make your own puzzles

I've been trying to come up with things to keep my children occupied this summer. I posted a couple of lists here and here if you're interested. Making puzzles was on the list. Here's what to do.

Cut up a cereal box as the backing for your puzzle. Let your children color a picture of their choosing. The Princess chose to color a dinosaur picture. No big surprise there.

Trim off any parts of the picture you don't want in the puzzle, like all that empty white space. Then glue the picture to the gray side of the cardboard from the cereal box. Press down firmly.

I use a Scotch craft stick, but you can use whatever kind of adhesive you desire. Chances are after your child has played with the puzzle a couple of times, you'll have to glue down the edges of each piece again anyway. The pressure from cutting the cardboard apart causes the picture to pull away. That's okay, just use a little more glue.

Trim away the excess cardboard with scissors or a craft knife.

Now comes the fun part! Cut the puzzle into pieces. Use all sorts of funny angles and shapes. Why is cutting things up so therapeutic for me?

Here's the Princess putting the pieces back together.

The puzzle Mr. Lego did - Bullet Bill from Super Mario Brothers.

A couple of hints and tricks for you - take a picture of the puzzle before you cut it up. Would you like to try to put a puzzle together without knowing what it's supposed to look like? Even though your child knows today what the picture looked like before it was severed into little pieces, he or she might forget by tomorrow!

Keep each puzzle in a separate Ziploc bag and label it. When you print the picture you took of each puzzle, slide it down in the bag with the pieces for future reference.

We all enjoyed creating these puzzles together. The kids liked exchanging puzzles and seeing if they could put together the other's creation. And it was great fun having Daddy put the puzzles together, too.

You can also use old calendar pages, cards or posters instead of coloring your own pictures. Anything printed on paper can be recycled into a puzzle.

For more money-saving ideas, visit Life as Mom's Frugal Friday blog carnival.


  1. What a cool idea! :D

    Have a great weekend!

  2. I LOVE it! :) I am a teacher, and I think next year that idea will definitely have to be incorporated. Thanks for sharing!

  3. How cute! I do crafty kitchen posts and my kids would love these. I came up with crafy kitchen as an extension of mommys kitchen last summer for the same reason. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Our church has done this using magazine pictures and then laminating them! Great idea!

  5. Great idea. I remember doing this as a kid. Taking a picture is an especially good idea. Here from Frugal Friday!

  6. This is such a wonderful idea. I'm looking for things to do with my daughter this summer. I plan on using your idea. Have a great weekend!