Since we rolled out The Piano Key Puzzle last week, a teacher asked what the educational benefits are to the puzzle. Here are the 5 that I came up with...
• Fine motor skills - Taking the keys out and placing them back in requires the use of small motor muscles, which directly translates to playing piano (or any other instrument).
• Identifying Letters and Sounds - The musical alphabet uses the first seven letters of the alphabet (a to g). Puzzlers match the letters on the keys to the letters on the guide card to put the keys in the correct order. A guiding adult can ask what sound the letter makes and words that begin with that sound. (Lots of extensions here!)
• Recognizing Patterns - The pattern of 2- and 3-black keys is the starting point for learners of all ages. And...letter C is the “starting point” in music, not A. So navigating the order, c d e f g a b c... takes some practice and mental gymnastics. Can you say the alphabet backwards from G? That’s a descending scale. (A wha...!?!) What comes after G in the musical alphabet? A, not H.
• Building Memory - Puzzlers usually start by placing the guide card in the tray and then matching the keys to start. Then, place in the stand on the box. The final challenge is completing the puzzle from memory. Can you see the keys in your mind’s eye and create it in the tray? That’s creativity: visualizing then making.
• Focus and Concentration - On average it take about 4 minutes for a 4-5 year old to complete the puzzle. In a world with diminishing attention span, we M U S T find ways to help children (and ourselves!) focus and concentrate. Learning to play an instrument requires these skills and what better way to build it than with a musical toy!?!
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