If you are a parent, you will, at some point find yourself faced with a heap of pieces from eight different jigsaw puzzles that your child has jumbled and crammed into eight boxes. No one box will be a complete puzzle.
You will either:
- throw the lot out while your kid isn’t looking (tricky)
- give the pile to a flea market in one big bag (which, in kid-speak, is the same as option 1)
- let your child gleefully create mismatched images (which only works if you don’t have a perfectionistic anal-retentive four-year-old, as do I)
- spend an hour doing 24, 36 and 75-piece puzzles and wondering where the other six pieces are
It is possible to avoid all of these scenarios.
When a kid puzzle enters your house (or when next you have all the pieces together for one you already own), crack open the box. Write a letter on the underside of the top cover. On the back of each piece, write that same letter. Count the pieces at the outset and note on the cover if any were missing from the start. Use letters uniquely (that means don’t use the same letter for two puzzles).
If you haven’t a box, get a ziplock bag and tape a label to it. If you’re really clever, you can take a picture of the completed puzzle and stick the printout to the bag, but that seems a little excessive for a $2 puzzle, to me.
When you are faced with a huge box of pieces to sort, the job becomes much, much easier. And the missing pieces? Chance are they bug you more than your child.