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a puzzle party! beating the winter blues... 2024 edition!

Tuesday, January 23, 2024


Welcome Back, Friends!

We know that much of the country has recently had LOTS of snow and cold temps!

While we’ve seen days of bitter weather here in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, 

 (-10 degrees and -40 wind chill)

the snow has barely materialized!


Last year in mid-January we had 15 inches of brand new snow on the ground!

This year we can still see the grass in our yards 

and we have yet to fire up the snowblower!

Last year, the Twin Cities had almost 90” of snow by the end of the season…

What a difference!

And… later this week they are predicting a “heat wave” with temps in the 30’s or more!


Hopefully, wherever you are, you are staying warm and cozy!

Do you ever have days like this?

Especially during these long frigid days of January?


If so, Laurie has a wonderful idea to share

to add some excitement

to this sometimes dreary month! 

She’s sharing her remedy with you today!

I have always been a person who feels a huge let down 

after the holidays are over.  

To give me something to look forward to each year,

 I would plan a mid-January party - a Winter Blues Party

for a group of friends or family!  


These families had children of varying ages 

so the party focus changed from year to year.  

Some examples of parties we’ve hosted include

a Color Party

a Bingo Party

a Scavenger Hunt

a Minute to Win It Party

a Casino Party 

and a Game Night.!  


There was always special themed food, prizes and sometimes even costumes involved for each party. Those children, our Middles, are all grown up now and living their own lives in the world, and even though the parents (now some who are Grands) are still getting together, I will always cherish those evenings spent with all those Littles and the laughter and fun we shared.


These parties definitely helped brighten up those cold winter nights!

Last year we featured our Winter Minute to Win It Party.  

AND

this year we are sharing 

A PUZZLE PARTY!


If you and your friends and family 

LOVE doing jigsaw puzzles together,

then this is your party! 

 It will get those sluggish winter brains working hard!




It’s always fun to have an easy dinner/lunch before your get-together! 

For this party we chose a waffle bar.  

Do you see how the waffles fit together like a delicious puzzle?


The add-ons are so yummy!

Invite your guests to bring a favorite waffle topping.  

Keeps things easy!


Here was what we had available as waffle toppings…:

Butter, syrup, peanut butter, jam/jelly, whipped cream, strawberries, 

chocolate chips, sprinkles and honey!


A Grand Tip!

We had two waffle makers of our own, 

but borrowed one more 

so we could have lots of waffles cooking at once!


We also provided bacon/sausage, fresh fruit, beverages and dessert! 

For dessert, we made a simple chocolate cake, 

that I decorated to resemble a jigsaw puzzle! 

A perfectly fitting end to our Puzzle Party menu!!

Here’s a fun alternative!

I saw these cute puzzle cookie cutters on Amazon 

that would be fun to use to make cookies or cut out brownies!



The highlight of the party will definitely be the games you plan

and we’ve got a few favorites for you to consider!


#1 - Jigsaw Puzzle Building Race!

Of course the number one activity you want to include is a jigsaw puzzle building race!  I bought some puzzles at Dollar Tree and decided that the party guests would be divided into teams of two and each team would work on their own jigsaw puzzle!

With adults and older children, we had a different 100 piece puzzle for each team.  If you have younger children who will be participating,  you would want to group them together and let them work separately on 24 piece puzzles.


We had all different puzzles and teams would take turns choosing the puzzle they'd work on. Prior to choosing, the pairs had to spend some time strategizing which puzzle they wanted.  (This process was fun to listen to!)


To begin, each pair drew a number and then chose their puzzle starting with the team that drew the number 1.


Be sure each pair has plenty of space available to put their puzzle together.  We spread out on counters, at tables and one team even used the center kitchen island .  

A Grand Tip!

I had opened each box prior to the party 

so that it wouldn’t slow anyone down.


Once all the teams had chosen their puzzle

it was time to begin the race!

 On "GO!" the jigsaw race began!  

The team who finished putting their puzzle together first won! 

I found these “puzzle” lottery tickets that were a great prize!


A Fun Alternative for Littles!

Younger Littles can work together on a puzzle by adding this fun twist! 

Take the 24 pieces of a puzzle and hide them around the room.

The Littles then run and find one piece at a time, 

bring it back to the “building area” and build the puzzle. 

 It is fun to see how the Littles organize themselves!  

Are some Littles the builders?  

Others the finders?  

Or do they all work on their own?

The best part is your Littles will all win together!


#2 - Craft Stick Puzzle Race! 

This game will require a little prep before the party:  Print (on paper) photos of your guests or families.  You could use family pics, couple photos or individual ones.  


Place popsicle sticks or larger crafts sticks side by side on a flat surface.  For older Littles and adults, I used 11 popsicle sticks and 4x4 inch photos.  For younger Littles, I used the larger craft sticks and 4x6 inch photos,


(If you want to make the game harder, make sure the craft sticks are all the same color.  If you want to make it easier, use a different colore of craft sticks for each larger photo (as shown below in red). That way your young Littles will be looking for the same colored sticks when building their puzzle.  Make sure the photo covers all the sticks.


Glue the photos onto the sticks as shown below. Spread the glue on the entire back and up to the edges of the photo.  Let dry.

Next, flip each photo over. An adult should use a utility knife to cut the sticks apart.  (We placed a board under the sticks while completing this step.)

Prior to the race, be sure you know what groupings your players will be in. The easiest is  for each person to build a picture of themselves.  Couples could work together to build a couple’s photo, a family could put together their family photo.  (You might want to create a larger photo and base if choosing to do the family photos.)  Littles could build a sibling's photo, or a parent's photo...  Parents could build one of their Littles.  There are so many possibilities!  It is really fun to use people as your subjects.  The comments during the game are hilarious.  “Mom, I found your ear!”  “I can’t find Laurie’s arm!”

Once the puzzles have been made, you are ready to play the game and the race may begin! Mix up all the sticks in one BIG pile!   Have everyone sit around the pile (a flat surface like a table, works the best).  On "GO!" everyone starts grabbing sticks - each person can only grab one stick at a time.  If you can use it, keep it, if not, the rule is you have to put it nicely back in the BIG middle pile.

If you want to be nice, you can show everyone the picture they will be working on before they all begin.  Want to make things more challenging?  Tell each player WHO they are working on, but do not show what the actual picture looks like!!

The first one who puts their puzzle together, revealing their subject, is the winner!  

Their prize?  

Quick slip a copy of the photo into a frame!  

(Make copies of each photo beforehand)


#3 - Puzzle Messages!

This is a fun activity for Littles and adults alike.  Go to the internet and google “jigsaw puzzle template printable”.  You will find something similar to this:


Size and print.  I have found thicker cardstock works the best.  Give each person a copy of the template with markers, scissors and an envelope.

NOTE:  Another option would be to purchase blank jigsaw puzzles from Amazon.  Search the number of pieces you are looking for (i.e. 12 pieces, 24, 36 or even 96) and you’ll find ones sold as multiple sets for a reasonable price!  Here’s an example of one.

Provide markers for your guests to use.  Each person creates his/her own picture or message. (Guests can work on this away from others, when possible.)

Once the puzzle drawings have been completed, cut the puzzle apart (youngest Littles will need help with this) and put the pieces in your envelope.  (If you decide to purchase cardboard puzzles, be sure to break the pieces apart once you've drawn your and then put them in an envelope.)

Exchange puzzles with others and put them together.  

What fun to see what everyone else has created!


You could also give each person a partner to create a fun message for. 

My kindergartners LOVED to make these cards for their parents for Valentine's Day! 

It’s a fun project for Littles to create, but adults will love it, too!  


One year I had adults over for a couples’ Valentine’s party

and we all made a puzzle valentine for our spouse. 

Everyone loved it! 

No one had to go buy a card! 



Even if you are not going to throw a Puzzle Party, please buy or borrow puzzles for your Littles to work on.  As kindergarten teachers we have seen puzzles become a dying art for Littles.  They really help our Littles grow in so many ways - improving hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills while increasing problem-solving abilities and memory

And, above all,

nothing beats that pride and satisfaction found

as you add that last piece to the puzzle!

Have YOU ever held or been to a Puzzle Party?

What do YOU do to beat the winter blues?

We’d love to know what ideas you might have!

Please consider commenting at the bottom of this post!

THANK YOU!


We know that many of our readers are Grands just like us

and we know that you all love it when we share

simple, easy and cost effective activities to do with our Littles!


Our next post - A Flurry of Fun - is what you’ve been waiting for

if you are looking for winter fun to enjoy with your Littles!

 looking for winter fun to enjoy with your Littles!

Be sure to subscribe to our blog,

if you don’t want to miss a thing!

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In the meantime, we’d love to have you follow us on 

We’ve got lots of fun tidbits waiting there for you!





SPECIAL THANKS TO

Senior Salon Pit Stop #295 from Krafty Planner

Inspire Me Monday #453 from Mama of Many Blessings

Inspire Me Monday #453 from Mostly Blogging

Thank you for featuring this post on your site!

❤ We love our blogging community! ❤


❤️ We are delighted to join these link up parties and blog hops this week:







20 komentarų


paula
02-08

You guys are great! I always enjoy seeing what the two of you are up to. I enjoyed seeing these puzzle party ideas.

Thanks bunches and bunches for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month ladies.

{{Hugs}}

Patinka
Our Grand Lives
02-09
Atsakymas:

We appreciate YOU and the many ways you support us! Have a lovely weekend!

Patinka

Svečias
02-01

I love the idea of a puzzle party! You always have some great ideas and we love when you share it with us at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party. I also love the idea of using craft sticks and a picture to create puzzle pieces. Thank you for sharing with us.


Stephanie

Patinka
Our Grand Lives
02-03
Atsakymas:

Happy February, Stephanie! Thanks so much for stopping by! We appreciate you and the Crazy Little Lovebirds link up each week. See you soon!

Patinka

Svečias
01-30

These are such fun ideas! Puzzles can be so much fun, but I love the "create your own" puzzle ideas you have shared. The picture puzzles are so fun. Thanks for visiting Happy Hearts & Homes, I hope to see you again this week.

Patinka
Our Grand Lives
02-03
Atsakymas:

Thank YOU for stopping by! We will stop by Happy Hearts & Homes soon!

Patinka

Svečias
01-25

Our family loves puzzles, this is such a cool idea! I especially like the race with the photos on the popsicle sticks, how clever! Thank you so much for sharing at SSPS

xx, Maria


Patinka
Our Grand Lives
01-27
Atsakymas:

So happy you stopped by, Maria! Laurie has the best ideas, doesn't she? The popsicle stick puzzles are so versatile! We will stop by soon! -Laura

Patinka

Svečias
01-25

What an awesome idea. Love those puzzle shape cookie cutters. Thanks so much for participating and sharing at SSPS 294. See you again next week!

Patinka
Our Grand Lives
01-27
Atsakymas:

Who knew that they made puzzle shaped cookie cutters? Amazon seems to have (almost) everything we need! Thanks for stopping by! See you next week at SSPS! -Laura

Patinka
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