A large majority of children’s toys and activities are, well, made for child’s play. And unless you have a vivid imagination, it’s understandable why some parents struggle with tapping into their own fantastical side in order to connect with their little ones. Luckily there are classic toys, such as toy cars and floor puzzles, that offer a hands-on bonding experience for parents and their kids.
The main difference between your average jigsaw puzzle and floor puzzles is their size. While jigsaw puzzles can be put together at the dining room table, floor puzzles are significantly larger, so it’s most convenient to lay out the pieces on the family room or playroom rug and have at it. But despite a disparity in size, floor puzzles, like jigsaw puzzles, are great for enhancing developmental skills. They teach your child shape recognition, problem solving, how to concentrate on one task at a time and strengthen hand-eye coordination. Floor puzzles also enhance your child’s fine motor skills by having them use their hands and fingers to move pieces around.
Floor puzzles are also mighty time consuming, so if you need a few minutes or more to get tasks done around your house, setting your little one up with a puzzle is sure to keep them preoccupied. Here are some of our absolute favorites.
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1. Melissa & Doug Underwater Floor Puzzle
Turn off the TV and hide your electronics: Melissa & Doug’s floor puzzle requires your child’s full concentration. The underwater image is laid out over extra-thick cardboard cut into 48 shapes that, when assembled, captures stingrays, sharks, colorful fish, dolphins and orcas in their natural habitat. The finished product measures 2’ x 3’, and the floor puzzle is made for children between 3 to 6 years old.
2. Galt Giant Floor Puzzle
The cartoonish charm of Galt’s floor puzzles are what makes them so attractive to toddlers. Choose from five themes — construction site, dinosaurs, jungle, farm and theme park — and help your child literally piece together these incredible worlds one by one. When fully assembled, the floor puzzle will measure 24” x 36”, but once your little one sees the finished product (vibrantly colored art pieces that feature friendly-faced characters), its size won’t feel so intimidating because they’ll want to revisit these scenes again and again.
3. The Learning Journey Puzzle Doubles
Double the puzzles, double the fun! The Learning Journey two-in-one box is designed to entertain your child while sneaking in some teachable moments. The Puzzle Doubles come in two variations: the Giant ABC & 123 Train Floor Puzzles and the Giant Colors and Shapes Train Floor Puzzles. You really can’t go wrong investing in either one: They help hone your little one’s fine motor skills, teach them mathematical skills and the alphabet, promote conversational skills, all while encouraging them to focus and stay on task. Each puzzle measures 5” long, and offers kids a ton of information to review as they go.