Puzzles offer a lot of benefits for kids and adults: they boost pattern recognition and cognitive function, help with memory and are great for developing motor skills. They’re a relatively inexpensive toy that can be taken apart and put back together time and time again, and they’re an activity that kids can either do on their own or that the entire family can enjoy together. Even better: puzzles themselves can teach lessons — from the 50 states to muscles of the body to the solar system — and also encourage your little people to keep at it when things get challenging. (Where does this piece fit?!)
But don’t tell your kids all of that — for all they know (and care), puzzles are just plain fun. They’re also just as likely to be delighted by some more educational content, like dinosaurs or sea creatures, as you are. It’s a rare win/win that you’ll be glad you have on hand for rainy days, family nights or just regular playtime. Ready to start finding those corner pieces? We are too. Here are five great options for the budding puzzle fan in your life.
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1. Melissa & Doug USA Map Floor Puzzle
Big and bright, this oversized puzzle comes with 51 jumbo pieces for kids to assemble. They’ll learn about states, capitals and more as they fit the thick, durable pieces together. It’s also easy to wipe clean and will stand up to repeated use. Melissa & Doug also makes an oversized ocean floor puzzle as well as one of the solar system. Designed for kids 6 and older, they’re 2 feet by 3 feet when fully assembled.
2. Melissa & Doug Under the Sea Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle
With wooden pieces that won’t bend or tear, this is a great starter puzzle for preschool and early elementary school-aged children. The wooden tray helps guide young puzzle-doers and also makes the puzzle easy to store and display. The bright undersea scene also helps kids gain familiarity with friendly creatures like the whale, jellyfish and swordfish. Other puzzles in the wooden jigsaw collection include African plains, dinosaurs, and construction.
3. Mudpuppy Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle
Mudpuppy’s Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle is great for early to middle elementary school-aged kids, and offers more fun than just putting it together. Once the 64-piece puzzle is assembled, kids can also try to find all of the 40 objects listed as part of the search and find. The vibrant colors and complex, layered jungle picture will keep kids captivated and busy. The optional game of “I Spy” will also help them better learn the jungle animals.
4. Ravensburger Realm of The Giants
If you have a real puzzle fan who is tired of easier puzzles, Ravensburg makes great intermediate options. The bright colors and themes will appeal to kids while still giving them the same craftsmanship of an adult puzzles. This 200-piece puzzle is recommended for kids ages 8 and up. Because it offers more challenges, Ravensburg’s 150-200 piece puzzles can also be a great option for parents and kids to do together.
5. Quokka Toddler Wooden Puzzle Set
For the smallest hands, go with simple puzzles that enforce matching and pattern recognition. Quokka’s brightly-colored animal puzzles will entertain toddlers and open up imaginative play. Parents or caregivers can also use the puzzles as a chance to teach about the animals depicted, talk about animal sounds and more. The wooden pieces resist tearing and fading and can be easily manipulated by toddlers and adults alike.