During study hall, you might occasionally see students gathered around a puzzle. Solving puzzles requires sustained focus, which may help develop high-level cognitive functions often referred to as executive skills. According to author Elissa Sungar in a 2014 Huffington Post blog, "Research shows puzzles are educational, especially in the area of mathematics, and they offer developmental support for both children and adults. When any child or adult works with puzzles, the right brain and left-brain are both engaged, which is when our brains are most active."
According to the brain fitness tips from Posit Science, the jigsaw puzzle must be complex enough to be challenging for you – that is, no fewer than 500 pieces. While many believe that puzzles improve cognitive functions, I have seen additional benefits. It's a positive, unplugged reward for students who have finished their school work, and it gives me a chance to create relationships while puzzling together. Social interaction while exercising the brain is a winning combination!