This very first puzzle, inspired by the method of the famous educator Maria Montessori, enables younger children to become acquainted with a happy farm, thus stimulating gesture, touch, the perception of shapes, and the sense of space. This multi- sensory approach favours a more in-depth learning, a factor that is very important for cognitive development in children of pre- school age. In fact, they can re-assemble a large stall on the farm that is populated by 5 delightful wooden shaped animals, which need to be inserted in the corresponding forms.
First of all, we let the children assemble the puzzle. We let them play completely independently, thanks to the self-correcting inserts. Help, if necessary, must be limited to several simple suggestions, without our replacing the children in the single actions. For example, we let them put in place all the paper tokens and the wooden elements on the playing level, with the designated painted side facing upwards. Then, we encourage them to compare the designs of the tokens with the picture shown on the back of the box, thus attracting from the very beginning their attention to the details of the stall from the very beginning: the roof, the stairs, the window. We must always remember to name the elements, to point them out with a finger, and to motivate them to learn with stimulating questions: “This is the roof, these are the stairs, these are the stairs to the hen house, this is the dog...” “Where is the horse? This is the sheep: how is its coat made?” Once the puzzle has been assembled – or even during the game – we encourage the children to carefully observe the wooden elements, making them analyse their shape and inviting them to look in the picture for the corresponding shape. If we notice that the children are having difficulties, we should help them simply by handing them the correct token.