Cian (19 months old) loves jigsaws and farmyard animals. When he was younger, we used to do jigsaws on the floor, or a low coffee table. Recently, he’s taken to doing jigsaws on the shelves of the bookcase, where we now store his toys. He’s always enjoyed climbing and playing at height, so this is just a natural preference for him.



I left his farmyard puzzles in a bowl on the bottom shelf. He started putting the puzzles together on the second shelf. Once he’d completed the jigsaws, he tidied them away in to the bowl.

Next, he brought over his farm animals and started matching the animals to the jigsaws. This was the first time he’s matched the two together.

5 months later

Cian, now two, is not a big talker. But he is starting to use a few words to communicate now. He still loves these jigsaws, and reaching up to the other shelves. So sometimes I hide some of his jigsaw pieces on the fourth shelf up.

I love his stretching sound as he reaches up.

Then, Cian crouched down to find the farm animals, which all jumped (or swam) along the jigsaws to congregate at the back of the shelf.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS (2013)


Shape, space and measures – 16 to 26 months

  • Attempts, sometimes successfully, to fit shapes into spaces on inset boards or jigsaw puzzles.

Communication and language

Listening and attention (16 to 26 months)

  • Selects familiar objects by name and will go and find objects when asked, or identify objects from a group.
  • Understands simple sentences (e.g. ‘Throw the ball’.)

Speaking (8 to 20 months)

  • Uses sounds in play, e.g. ‘brmmm’ for toy car.
  • Uses single words.
  • Frequently imitates words and sounds.
  • Enjoys babbling and increasingly experiments with using sounds and words to communicate for a range of purposes (e.g. teddy, more, no, bye-bye.)
  • Uses pointing with eye gaze to make requests, and to share an interest.
  • Creates personal words as they begin to develop language.

Physical Development

Moving and handling (8 to 20 months)

  • Passes toys from one hand to the other.

Moving and handling (22 to 36 months)

  • Squats with steadiness to rest or play with object on the ground, and rises to feet without using hands.
  • Climbs confidently and is beginning to pull themselves up on nursery play climbing equipment.

Personal, social and emotional development

Self-confidence and self-awareness (16 to 26 months)

  • Gradually able to engage in pretend play with toys (supports children to understand their own thinking may be different from others).
  • Demonstrates sense of self as an individual, e.g. wants to do things independently, says “No” to adult.