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There is nothing like sitting down with a fresh jigsaw puzzle displaying a beautiful image that you are about to piece together. It is calming, rewarding, and magical. But the magic doesn't come from just taking time for a relaxing afternoon. The real benefits are how your brain and body engage on different levels. The benefits of solving puzzles can help any age, including small children and seniors.

For kids, puzzles help develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they manipulate the pieces of the puzzle to fit together to create an image.

Additionally, it helps teach task completion and persistence. Today's world of instant gratification propelled by having everything accessible at your fingertips can make it difficult for children to learn patience and determination in a long-term task.

There are other benefits, including increasing your IQ. Dr. Susanne Jäggi and other researchers from the University of Michigan found that spending 25 minutes per day solving puzzles and riddles can raise your IQ by 4 points. Other studies have shown that jigsaw puzzles can help improve memory, problem-solving skills, spatial reasoning, and combat cognitive decline such as reducing the risk of developing dementia.

The mind gets a special workout from puzzles by working both sides of the brain. Puzzlers use both logic and creativity to solve puzzles. Other mental health benefits come from focusing on something relaxing, and by doing so, occupying your mind which is helpful for people with depression, anxiety, or stress. Think of it as a mental holiday for your brain. Puzzles offer a way to unplug devices and reconnect with yourself or a partner.

Puzzling was seen as a thing of pastime, but when the pandemic hit, the demand for time spent on this hobby increased. Through 2020, puzzle makers were showing increased sales by upwards of 300 percent from the prior year.

Hobby and toy retailers like Whistle Stop Hobby & Toy felt this too as demand increased. "There was nothing like it." shares Julie Everitt, one of the managers and owners at Whistle Stop.

"People could not get enough of puzzles, games, and hobby products throughout the pandemic. Fortunately, we always offer a huge variety of puzzles for all ages. Different cities, classic cars, nature scenes, or kid's characters, we've got it all."

When picking the perfect puzzle, whether it is for you or someone else, there are a few tips from the puzzle pros. "Keep in mind the age group and skill level of the person doing the puzzle, especially if it is a gift." says Everitt, "Puzzles range in number of pieces and difficulty. Beginners should try puzzles with fewer or larger pieces. For kids, keep in mind that there are more than just jigsaw puzzles out there. We have simple shapes and colors for toddlers. We also have 3D puzzles for pre-teens that need more of a challenge."

If you're ready to try a new puzzle, Whistle Stop Hobby & Toy has a large selection of puzzles and a team of fun experts to help you pick one. Whistle Stop Hobby & Toy is a family-owned toy and hobby store in St. Clair Shores where families have gone for fun for over 50 years. They offer quality, fun toys that bring a smile to any face, ages 0 to 99. If you are shopping at Whistle Stop, they also offer free gift wrap all year long. To learn more about Whistle Stop Hobby & Toy, visit or stop by to join in the fun.