Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Finding The Fun in Homeschooling: Adding a Puzzle into your Chemistry Course

logos for A Mom's Quest to Teach and Timberdoodle; box of Periodic Table of the Elements puzzle

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this puzzle from Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

Our family had the opportunity to review a new item from Timberdoodle – 1000-Piece Periodic Table Puzzle. This year, our teen studied chemistry in our homeschool so I thought this puzzle would be a great way to spend time together as a family and review what our son had learned in his course.

The Periodic Table of the Elements Puzzle is made in the United States from recycled materials. When you are finished, it will measure 24" by 30". The pieces are die-cut. So, they do fit together smoothly. When you open the box, you will find a poster that shows you exactly what the puzzle will look like when completed and a plastic bag containing the 1,000 puzzle pieces.

bag of puzzle pieces
All the pieces were in the bag! I know sometimes pieces can be missing with puzzles but not in this case.

poster of the Periodic Table of the Elements
We took turns passing around the poster as we were putting together the puzzle.

It took our family of five about two to three hours to put the puzzle together. For most of the time it was myself and our teen working on the puzzle with our six-year-old and four-year-old helping (they were trying to organize puzzle pieces by color). By the mid-way point, my husband joined in to help us and he took over putting together the title (Periodic Table of the Elements) which I was struggling with due to the fact that I could not figure out which way was up on the letters. I then progressed to working on the left side of the puzzle, while our teen continued putting together the entire bottom of the puzzle.

How Could One Use the Puzzle in Their Homeschool? 

Why include a puzzle in your homeschool day? I think there are a number of ways in which you could use this great puzzle that is part of the curriculum offered by Timberdoodle.
Logo of A Mom's Quest to Teach & Timberdoodle blog team; Text: Finding The Fun in Homeschooling: Adding a Puzzle into your Chemistry Course; Review of the Periodic Table of Elements with your children; puzzle pieces; puzzle box
I can easily see students who are studying chemistry using the puzzle at the beginning of the semester as an overview to the periodic table. As they complete the puzzle, they will be able to get an introduction to all the new things they will be learning.

What happens when something you had planned as part of your chemistry curriculum goes wrong? When a chemistry experiment does not go as planned, this might be a nice way to regroup and have fun. You can even ask your child to work on the puzzle while you try to 'fix' the experiment or get together the supplies you need to try again.

Sometimes you think you have all the supplies at hand but you don't. If you can't find the materials you need for an experiment, working on the puzzle together would be a fun way to spend the time you allotted to science that homeschool day.

At the end of the course, the puzzle is a perfect review. This is really how we used the puzzle with our homeschooling teen. He had already completed his requirements for chemistry this year. So, this puzzle was a really nice way for me to see that he had learned a lot more than was seen through notes, quizzes, and tests.
completed puzzle
All three kids putting in the last piece to the puzzle.

What Do We Think? 

I would recommend the Periodic Table of the Elements Puzzle to homeschooling families whether or not your children are studying chemistry. It is an interesting puzzle and I admit to wanting to learn more about the elements after having completed the puzzle with my family. Even our younger children, who have never completed a puzzle of this size, enjoyed the experience.

I think it is a well-manufactured puzzle. I think it will last through many adventures of putting it together and then taking it apart for the next time. My only problem with trying to put it together was with the spaces where there was a lot of white space (like the text: Periodic Table of Elements) but my husband easily took that part over for me. Once I started working on the elements I found it a challenge but not an overly difficult one.

putting together a puzzle
This was the part of the puzzle I was struggling with so I was very happy when my husband took it over.
putting together Periodic Table of the Elements puzzle
I love how each piece had a picture example with a small explanation.

Our teen's thoughts: "I enjoyed putting it together. One should probably be at least 10 to complete it, as it is quite large. The different colors made it easy to figure out which pieces went where and the symbols for each element also made it easier."

Timberdoodle includes great products as part of their curriculum kits and this puzzle is just one of the many awesome resources available to homeschooling families. I highly recommend checking out Timberdoodle and the 1000-Piece Periodic Table Puzzle.

completed Periodic Table of the Elements puzzle


  1. Everytime you put the puzzle together, it reinforces the concept and helps you memorize the elements. What a fantastic idea!

    1. I completely agree - I think it might even be easier to put together on future sittings because we will be able to match up the elements with the examples more easily.

  2. My boys would love this!! Keeping this in mind for when we study elements. Great review!