The Benefits of Hidden Picture Books

The Benefits of Hidden Picture Books

My four-year-old’s latest obsession is one that many children love: the hidden picture book. We receive a monthly hidden picture puzzle in our Highlights Hi Five magazine, but that absolutely wasn’t enough for her! We ordered her a set of books that were nothing but hidden pictures, and she has a blast going through them and finding the items. She won’t circle or color them, either, wanting to find them again as soon as she’s finished finding all of the items.

I love that she’s really into these books. I never was a fan of them myself, but my mathematically-inclined younger sister always was. And as much as I’m happy to buy the books for her enjoyment, she’s getting a very enriching activity out of the process as well. Here are just a few benefits that kids can receive from doing these activities:

Attention to Detail: When seeking all of the small pictures in the larger one, children develop a keen sense of detail. This can help them in future fields, such as math and science, when trying to solve problems or observe experiments. It can also help them become more creative when creating works of art.

Pre-reading Skills: Many puzzles come with spelled out words, rhymes, and other letter and word identification opportunities. They also help children realize that each item has a name, and that name can be spelled using words.

Attention Span: Staying focused on these puzzles requires a lot of concentration—even from us adults! When kids can actually stay tuned into a puzzle for a long time—solving much, most, or all of it—they are helping their minds stay engaged and focused while still enjoying a fun activity.

Artistic Capabilities and Creativity: As kids see how, say, a banana is hidden, they may find other ways to use an item like a banana in their art. They may discover how to see things differently, from new perspectives, which is key in critical thinking and creativity.

Confidence: As kids solve each puzzle, they can gain a sense of confidence knowing that they were able to do so on their own. Different levels of puzzles are also available so children can “graduate” to the next level when they get tired of the puzzles they’ve already completed. (Don’t force them to do this, however; having to do the harder puzzles too quickly may not only make kids frustrated, but also can take the fun out of the whole experience. If needed, help your child find items; make it a game between the two of you.)

You can find free hidden picture puzzles at the Highlights website.