In addition to reading books to your preschooler, it seems that you can improve his or her chances of doing well in math if you make sure that your young one plays with puzzles.  A study by University of Chicago researchers has found that “puzzle play was found to be a significant predictor of spatial skill after controlling for differences in parents’ income, education and the overall amount of parent language input.”

The study found that if children play with puzzles between 26 and 46 months old, they have better spatial skills than those who do not.  The participants in this study were all assessed when they were 54 months (4 ½ years old).  Spatial skills, according to psychologist Susan Levine, include being able to rotate and translate shapes.  Researchers found that boys performed better on these assessments, but both sexes who had played with puzzles as preschoolers did better than others.