Lincolnwood library visitors know that there’s always a jigsaw puzzle in progress in our building. The puzzle table seems to exert a magnetic field, attracting people of all ages—some of whom get stuck puzzling for hours on end!
Jigsaw puzzles have all kinds of benefits. They exercise the brain, helping young minds develop and keeping older ones sharp. They may even lead to a state of flow, the intense focus on a task that psychologists have called “the secret to happiness.” It’s not uncommon for one of our jigsaw puzzlers to look at the clock and do a double-take, astonished by how much time has passed. Painstakingly fitting each piece fosters persistence in the face of a challenge, and nothing beats the sense of satisfaction that comes from finally completing the picture.
For most of our visitors, though, the primary benefit of the jigsaw puzzle is relaxation. Taking a few minutes to forget about everything but the colorful image in front of you, alongside a friend or in blissful solitude, is a great way to relieve stress.
When you can’t make it to the library, try a virtual jigsaw puzzle! If you have access to a web browser, you can try JigZone.com, a free site that offers a great assortment of puzzles, with a new one added daily. Apply any of the 35 different sizes/styles (e.g. “87 piece crazy” and “48 piece USA”) to pictures like Shell Spiral, Island Sunset, and Horse in Stable.
There are also dozens of jigsaw puzzle apps for mobile devices. Jigsaw Puzzles Epic from Kristanix Games offers over 2,000 puzzles; while some require payment, a new free puzzle is added every day. Choose your level of difficulty by setting the number of pieces (up to 400) and showing or hiding the preview of the finished puzzle image.
Real Jigsaw from Rottz sorts its 1,400 puzzles into 25 themes, including Airplanes, Flowers, and Holidays. Adjustable settings in this app include number of pieces (9 to 1000), background color, piece rotation, and a pinch-to-zoom tool. Both apps are free to download for either Android or iOS platforms, and both allow you to create your own custom puzzles from photos!
Do you have a favorite virtual puzzle website or app? We’d love to hear about it the next time you stop by to relax with our communal puzzle.