Are you a parent stuck at home with your child and in dire need for some quiet time? Well, parents and soon-to-be parents, puzzles are your answer. Puzzles are great for all ages, and they help kids develop different skills like concentration, problem-solving, and even fine motor skills. They will keep your kids busy for hours giving you a much-deserved R&R.
Finding the right one for your child to play with depends on their age bracket and puzzle experience. Thankfully, we have explored the child-friendly puzzles available online, mainly on Amazon, and come up with this top 10 list. Coming in first place is an educational dinosaur wooden jigsaw puzzle by Melissa & Doug that garnered over 6,000+ reviews on Amazon! Read on to see the rest of our top picks as well as a buying guide to help you find the best puzzle for your child.
Here are our top 10 picks for puzzles for kids. When deciding on what kind of puzzle to get your child, consider their age, number of puzzle pieces, and material.
|Number of pieces||12 per puzzle|
|Type||Inset jigsaw puzzle|
|Number of pieces||9|
|Type||Inset jigsaw puzzle|
|Number of pieces||Up to 9|
|Number of pieces||24|
|Type||Educational jigsaw puzzle|
|Number of pieces||70|
|Number of pieces||100 per puzzle|
|Type||Inset jigsaw puzzle|
|Number of pieces||40|
|Type||Peg/knob jigsaw puzzle|
|Number of pieces||82 total|
|Type||3D jigsaw puzzle|
|Number of pieces||180|
|Number of pieces||28|
Melissa & Doug
Fat Brain Toys
Melissa & Doug
The Learning Journey Store
The Learning Journey Store
Asher and Olivia
Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles
Wooden Preschool Colorful Shape Puzzles
Wooden Personalized Name Puzzle
ABC Learn the Alphabet Floor Puzzle
Match it! Spelling
Multi Pack Jigsaw Puzzle, Farm & Country
Lift & Learn Puzzle - USA Map
Wooden Toddler Puzzles and Rack Set
Children's World Globe
Blank Jigsaw Puzzle
4-in-1 Durable Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle Great for Trips
The Inset Puzzle Every Little One Should Have
Teach Kids to Spell Their Name With This Puzzle
An Alphabet Floor Puzzle Perfect for Preschoolers
A Self-Correcting Spelling Jigsaw Puzzle
A Glow-in-the-Dark Animal Jigsaw Puzzle
An Interactive USA Map Puzzle Great for Many Ages
A Peg Puzzle Bundle That Comes With a Storage Rack
A 3D World Globe Puzzle That Spins
When in Doubt, Create Your Own Puzzle
|Type||Jigsaw puzzle||Inset jigsaw puzzle||Inset jigsaw puzzle||Floor puzzle||Educational jigsaw puzzle||Jigsaw puzzle||Inset jigsaw puzzle||Peg/knob jigsaw puzzle||3D jigsaw puzzle||Jigsaw puzzle|
|Number of pieces||12 per puzzle||9||Up to 9||24||70||100 per puzzle||40||82 total||180||28|
Getting a new puzzle for your child can be a bit of a risk because you don't want it to end up lying around the room as soon as they get bored. Finding a fun yet educational puzzle is not that hard as long as you keep in mind a couple of factors, like the child's age, the type of puzzle, and even the puzzle material.
Not all kids will find any type of puzzle enjoyable. When picking out a puzzle for a child, pick an age-appropriate one that will keep them on their toes.
When a baby passes the 6-month mark and can sit up on their own, they can start playing with puzzles. At this young age, inset style puzzles are the best kind to introduce to your child.
These puzzles come in very few pieces and are large and chunky - making it easy for your baby to hold. At 10-12 months old, your baby starts to develop problem-solving and motor skills, and playing with puzzles will help enhance these skill sets. Be careful when picking out puzzles for your babies, however: some products could be a choking hazard.
From 1- 3 years of age, toddlers undergo a crucial period of significant cognitive, emotional, and social development. They can now graduate from playing with inset puzzles and move on to jigsaw puzzles of around ten pieces or more.
We recommend beginning with jigsaw puzzles that can be easily grabbed and rotated. Knob or peg puzzles are what you should consider purchasing. At this age, you can introduce shapes, colors, the alphabet, or numbers. It's also important to consider your toddler's interest when picking out a puzzle.
Kids at this age like to put anything they see in their mouths, so it is advised to use wooden puzzles that are large and not a choking hazard.
With prior experience, your kids can now move on to larger puzzles and more complex illustrations. During this time, your child is like a sponge and absorbs information at a rapid pace. Try introducing puzzles that are educational and enjoyable at the same time.
With the help of a floor puzzle, you can brush up on your child's alphabet knowledge while introducing three to four-letter words simultaneously. There are floor puzzles fit for precisely that. Floor puzzles are great for this age since kids 3-5 enjoy playing on the floor.
The majority of floor puzzles take up quite a lot of space when completed, so it's good to check beforehand if you have space.
At this stage, children can differentiate the puzzle pieces according to their location in the puzzle. Elementary-aged kids can even develop strategies and methods - color or shape sorting- to complete the jigsaw puzzles.
Unlike toddlers and babies that are satisfied with playing with the same toys over and over again, elementary kids are prone to boredom. That's why it's best to give them challenging puzzles of more than 100 pieces to keep them interested over time. It also helps to let them decide what kind of puzzle they want!
The older kids get, the harder it will be to get them to play with puzzles, so it is vital to introduce a variety of puzzles. If they're bored with cardboard 2D puzzles, try 3D puzzles for a change. Being able to see a three-dimensional output of their hard work will be satisfying for any child.
After taking into account what puzzle would best cater to your child’s age and interests, the next thing to consider is the different types of puzzles you can choose from.
The most common and widely produced type of puzzle is the jigsaw or 2D puzzles. Modern jigsaw puzzles are made out of paperboard, but these can also be made from wood, plastic, or even foam.
This type of puzzle is popular with children and adults because of the endless variety of themes you can choose from. The variations in the number of puzzle pieces also change the skill bracket significantly.
As long as it's not a choking hazard, jigsaw puzzles are great for kids above three years old. With proper supervision, even a two-year-old can already work on a chunky jigsaw puzzle. If you're at a loss on what type of puzzle to get, your safe bet is a jigsaw puzzle.
Next, we have three dimensional or 3D puzzles, usually made of cardboard, wood, or plastic. Three-dimensional puzzles do not lay flat on the floor but will stand upright on their own. Many 3D puzzles come with stands for placing the finished product.
With this kind of puzzle, kids can bring to “life” their favorite monument, tourist attraction, animal, vehicle, etc. Young and old kids alike enjoy 3D puzzles for its challenge and beautiful output. Even a lot of adults enjoy working on 3D puzzles.
Last on our list is the floor puzzles, which tend to be educational puzzles. This type of puzzle is your regular jigsaw puzzle turned big. The average size of one floor puzzle piece is about the size of multiple regular jigsaw puzzles stuck together.
If you’re looking for a jigsaw puzzle for your baby or toddlers, floor puzzles are what you should buy. Because of its size, floor puzzles are usually done on the floor. Hence, its name.
Topics can be about animals, the alphabet, colors, and the list goes on. Many preschools have a floor puzzle or two in their play area. This is a must-have because floor puzzles turn learning into playtime!
When it comes to puzzle sizes, generally, the larger the puzzle piece, the better suited it is for a younger audience. What will a baby or toddler do with a 100- piece regular-sized jigsaw puzzle? Probably chew the pieces, that's what.
Large, chunky pieces that they can easily grab and turn is your goal. After that, they can move on to floor jigsaw puzzle pieces that are still large but more complex.
A regular-sized jigsaw puzzle, the ones we see the most, is great for older children and adults. This type comes in 100 to 400-plus pieces, so it will keep anyone busy. To be safe, always read the safety tags of your puzzle. Watch out for any choking hazards and pay heed to the recommended age mentioned before purchasing.
Puzzles usually come in either wood, cardboard, plastic, or foam. Picking a material that works for your child is essential because no one wants a half-eaten, soggy puzzle piece.
A general rule of thumb is that wood puzzles, usually inset with a peg or knob style, are best for babies and toddlers. Cardboard tears easily and is not suited for toddlers who bite and chew anything they get their hands on.
Wood is durable and will not soak up your child's dribble. However, wood products are prone to splinters if not properly sanded. Better inspect your wooden puzzles before letting your child play with them.
A foam puzzle is easy to put together and doesn't come apart as fast as cardboard does. Large foam puzzles can also be playmats and replacements to a small rug or carpet. On the other hand, plastic puzzle pieces are very durable and can last a long time. Three-dimensional plastic puzzles are great decor to have around the house.
Be sure to choose safe and non-toxic puzzles for your kid. The three things you want to be aware of it lead paint, fire retardants (PBDE), and Bisphenol A (BPA).
Lead in paint is typically banned in the US, but a loophole allows lead-painted toys from China to be imported and sold here, so you might want to double-check the origin of the puzzle, especially if it's made of wood, before you commit to buy.
PBDEs are used to slow the rate of which a fire grows but has raised concerns over its affect on overall human health as well as on the environment. Lastly, BPA is found in plastic and can pose a risk to your baby's health. That's why many manufacturers now make BPA-free products.
If none of the puzzles caught your attention, letting your child make their own puzzle is always an option. Websites like Amazon sells blank jigsaw puzzle templates that you can turn into a masterpiece with crayons, markers, and paint! Let your child's imagination run wild as they explore the world of arts and crafts.
Once completed, you can even frame the puzzle and hang it up as a decoration. It will surely age as a fond memory.
Check out these other activities - educational and fun - that your kids might be interested in!
All you need is a good puzzle to keep a child busy for hours. Playing with one is sometimes better than having a child glued to the television, phone, or gaming consoles. It can be challenging to find the perfect puzzle because no one wants to waste money on one that ends up in storage.
Remember to buy age-appropriate puzzles that have the right size piece and materials. As long as you keep these things in mind, no penny is wasted! A happy child means a happy parent.
Author: Kazuko Otsuka
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