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Level: Primary, Junior
Grades: K- 5 | Age: 5- 11yrs | Written by: Anitra Redlefsen
[Anitra is a teaching artist from Medina Ohio.]
[Visit her website at]

Teach your students how to make puzzles.

From Anitra:

For younger students, helpers might be needed for some of the drawing and/or cutting. For older students, the project can be made more complex by using larger pieces of paper, increasing the number of puzzle pieces, and/or not giving them an image of the work to use as a reference when putting the puzzle together. Enjoy!


Symmetry: correspondence of size or shape on opposite sides
Adjacent: next to

What You Need:
What You Do:
  1. Fold an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of white card stock paper into fourths, using the 11" side.
  2. Go to the crease to the left, and beginning at the top, go down the crease and draw (with a sharpie) four "puzzle notches." Begin with one that goes out to the left, the next notch goes in to the right, left and then right.
  3. Move to the next, second crease and mirror the pattern you have just drawn. Explain the concept of symmetry to your students.
  4. At the third crease, mirror the pattern from crease two.
  5. Using the 8 1/2" side, fold the paper this time in thirds.
  6. Repeat the pattern steps above.
  7. Explain warm and cool colors to the students. They are to color in (using markers) the puzzle pieces using both warm and cool colors. Do not paint adjacent (next to) puzzle pieces the same color.
  8. Make a color copy of the colored in puzzle. This will be used as a reference when students put their puzzles together.
  9. Cut out the puzzle pieces.
  10. Cut a white surface about 9" x 12" to use to put the puzzle pieces on when putting together the puzzle.

Another Puzzle:

Using a color copy of a master art work, divide up the space as described above and repeat the symmetrical lines. Cut out the puzzle. Talk about the artist who painted it, when, the title, etc.

Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch painter, 1853-1890)
Van Gogh's Chair
Oil on jute, 1888

Yet Another Puzzle:

Follow the same steps as above only use a color copy of a work of art completed by a student.

"The Smart Giraffe in the Tall Grass"
18" x 24"
Oil on canvas board
Miranda, 2009

Below: to scale copy of the folded paper and puzzle lines (click on image for PDF template!).

click for pdf

Recommended Books/Products:

Decorate-Your-Own Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles
by Melissa and Doug
Something to make that they'll play with long afterward! This solid wood, colorful craft set comes with a generous supply of decorating materials. Everything a child needs to complete a project that they can proudly call their own! Makes a great individual project, family activity, holiday craft, party activity, or party favor. Let children "decorate-their-own" and watch their unique creative side shine. A fun way to foster creativity and allow children to be proud of something they've made themselves! An excellent way to practice fine motor skills. A Wooden Puzzle to Design and Put Together! Wooden jigsaw puzzle, accent stickers, paints, brush, markers included.


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