jigsaw puzzles are hot this summer


Since launching in early 2018, Journey of Something now has over 60 stockists.

Jigsaw puzzles are having something of a moment. Perhaps the natural follow-on from the adult colouring book craze which had corporates wielding crayons a few years back, this summer has seen Instagram feeds filled with pictures of completed 1000-piece creations.

Caras says some of the people who purchase her puzzles take it one further, framing their puzzles as wall art. Although she believes the growth of puzzles as a mindfulness technique is main reason for the brand’s success.

“It is, in a way, the new adult colouring,” she says. “You do it for brain training, relaxation and zoning out. I also think a lot of people have forgotten how bloody enjoyable doing a puzzle is.”

Psychologist Meredith Fuller says there has “definitely” been a rise in the number of adults completing jigsaw puzzles to clear their mind, and also improve it.

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“Colour, sensing skills, motor skills: it’s something that uses a lot of our capacities,” she says. “Think about how complex the gradations of colour can be and how many pieces you can need to look at.”

A 2017 German study found spending an hour a day working on a jigsaw puzzle had the potential to improve the visuospatial function – our ability to view movement, as well as depth and distance perception – of those over 50.

Then, Fuller says, there is the meditative element of completing a puzzle, as well as that pay off you get at the end.

“If we are persistent, we get the completed piece of work: we know we have achieved.”

Wellness hype aside, traditional children’s puzzles are also proving popular over the school holidays among families looking to make it through rainy – or incredibly hot – summer days.

Nicole Farago, sales manager at national toy store chain Games Paradise, says she usually sees an increase in families buying jigsaw puzzles over the Christmas break. But that number is on the up.

“Every year we see year on year growth [in jigsaw puzzles],” she says. “Unlike [other] toys, which are very seasonal and fad orientated.”

As the school holidays enter their final weeks, the humble puzzle can prove to be a winner when families start to get what Professor Alan Hayes, director of the University of Newcastle’s Family Action Centre, describes as “cabin fever”.

Kardashian jigsaw.

Kardashian jigsaw.

“Puzzles can teach children perseverance, when to take a break from a task and when to return refreshed,” he explains, adding that younger children can extend themselves through assistance from older family members, provided the puzzle is not so difficult that it becomes frustrating.

“The key really is knowing what a child can do, and how you can assist them to develop new skills and new capabilities.”

A fan of puzzles himself, Professor Hayes says having a puzzle in the living room can also help to foster connection between family members.

“Particularly in a social media age, people can be very much in their own bubble.”

Mary Ward is Deputy Lifestyle Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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