A Parent's Guide To Buying Kids Puzzles

  • 01 of 15

    A Parent's Guide To Puzzles

    Little boy completing jigsaw puzzle
    Blend Images / Kidstock / Getty Images

    While every child is different, generally speaking, children are often ready to attempt their first puzzles at one-year-old. There are so many reasons why puzzles are great educational toys. Puzzles teach children how to think and solve problems while using their hand-eye coordination. For those who enjoy puzzles, it is an activity they can do throughout their entire lifetime. Puzzles can be completed by children on their own, or they can work cooperatively with others. While classic jigsaw puzzles are still fun, puzzles can be made into 4D designs and puzzles are now very interactive. 


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  • 02 of 15

    Best First Puzzles Are Wooden Puzzles

    Melissa and Doug Jumbo Knob Wooden Peg Puzzle
    Melissa and Doug / Amazon

    Babies are not able to complete interlocking puzzles, so look for sturdy wooden puzzles where children can place 1 piece into 1 defined opening. These best first puzzles for babies should definitely have the picture reference underneath, so the child can use it to match their piece to the opening.  First puzzles generally do not have any more than 3 pieces. Each piece will have a large wooden knob, which makes it easier to fit inside the child's palm, so they can hold and maneuver the piece into place.

    There many themed puzzles at this age that appear to younger children such as farm animals, vehicles, shapes, and pets.

    Buy wooden jumbo knob puzzles for babies on Amazon.com.

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  • 03 of 15

    Peg Puzzles

    Melissa and Doug Sound Puzzle
    Amazon / Melissa and Doug

    Children, ages 2 and up, have more fine motor control, so they will not need large knobs for very long. After large knobs, children transition to completing puzzles that have smaller pegs form them to hold. At this age level, continue to look for puzzles with picture references to match underneath. However, children should be able to complete puzzles with more pieces. There are even puzzles, like the one pictured above, that make the corresponding animal sounds when the puzzle pieces are correctly placed. This not only helps children learn about different animal sounds but for some children, this is a very rewarding experience.

    Shop for farm animal, construction vehicle, zoo animal, shape, letter and alphabet themes for this age group.

    Buy Peg Puzzles on Amazon.com.

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  • 04 of 15

    Nesting Puzzles

    Haba On the Farm Wooden Puzzle

    Just like nesting blocks, there are also nesting puzzles, where children stack the puzzle pieces one on top of another inside a wooden frame, as they learn about how to order pieces by size from smallest to biggest. The best part about nesting puzzles is that if a child does not understand the concept, they can still feel success because some of the pieces will always fit.

    Buy HABA Nesting Puzzle on Amazon.com.


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  • 05 of 15

    Frame Puzzles

    Ravensburger Frame Zoo Puzzle
    Ravensburger / Amazon

    Frame puzzles begin to teach children the concept of interlocking jigsaw puzzles, but in a more successful way. These frame puzzles have an outer, defined border and are great for preschool-aged children. Children place the puzzle pieces inside the frame, using the borders to help guide their plan. With frame puzzles, the number of pieces can vary, from 13 larger pieces for younger children to nearing 100 small pieces for more skilled puzzlers. 

    Buy frame puzzles on Amazon.com.

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  • 06 of 15

    Magnetic Puzzles

    Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Magnetic Puzzle
    Amazon / Melissa and Doug

    For preschool-aged children looking for a more interactive puzzle, they will love magnetic puzzles. After they match the puzzle pieces in the correct location, they can remove the pieces with a magnetic wand. Aside from popular Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse friends puzzles, there are also fish, bug, and vehicle themed magnetic puzzles as well. 

    Buy magnetic puzzles on Amazon.com.

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  • 07 of 15

    Jigsaw Puzzles

    Ravens burger Space Jigsaw Puzzle
    Ravensburger / Amazon

    When most people think of puzzles, they first think of jigsaw puzzles. These are puzzles with interlocking pieces that, depending on the child's skills, can take minutes or hours to complete. Some children are amazing puzzlers, and they will dazzle you with their ability to take pieces and put them together. Definitely make sure to keep the front of the box nearby when putting together jigsaw puzzles. Without the picture as a guide, it can take a long time to attach and place jigsaw pieces together.

    If you have children who love puzzles, or a child who you think would like puzzles, but might not be as willing to try, look for the Disney themed jigsaw puzzles from Ravensburger.  These puzzles feature both classic and newly released Disney characters.

    Buy jigsaw puzzles on Amazon.com.

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  • 08 of 15

    Floor Puzzles

    Ravens burger Finding Nemo Floor Puzzle
    Ravensburger / Amazon

    If you are looking for a different type of puzzle experience, or maybe do not have the space to dedicate a large table to puzzling, kids love floor puzzles. These huge pieces fit together, just like smaller puzzles, but are put together on the floor instead. Definitely choose harder, flat surfaces, such as a very low pile rug on a flat, hard floor for floor puzzles. Higher pile carpet can be a huge source of frustration because the pieces may not stay together. 

    Buy floor puzzles on Amazon.com.

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  • 09 of 15

    Puzzle Games

    Meli Melo Circus Puzzle Game
    Lilliputiens / HABA USA

    Sometimes puzzles can also be games! There are puzzle games, like Meli Melo where kids learn to take turns. One player rolls a dice, indicating which puzzle piece to pick up, whoever puts their puzzle together first, wins. Even without the game, the set includes 4 beautiful puzzles children will enjoy putting together.

    Buy Meli Melo on Amazon.com.

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  • 10 of 15

    Bathtub Puzzles

    ALEX Map in the Tub

    Maps of the United States are popular for children, so they can learn geography. So why not put together the map of the United States on your bathtub wall?

    Buy the ALEX Map in the Tub on Amazon.com.

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  • 11 of 15

    City Puzzles

    Cardboarders New York City

    Not only are puzzles a fun way to learn skills, but they can teach kids and families about new places, landmarks, and geography. Puzzles, like these Cardborders floor puzzles, serve as a great way to plan for and remember family trips. Taking a visit to New York City? Learn all about the different boroughs, point out historical landmarks and discover new places to visit.

    Buy Cardborders puzzles on Amazon.com.

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  • 12 of 15

    3D Puzzles of Globes and Landmarks

    Ravensburger 3D globe puzzle
    Ravensburger / Amazon

    What better way to teach your children about geography and history or helping then create a great presentation piece for their school project, than encouraging them to put together a  3D puzzle of their favorite landmark. Due to the unique design of the pieces, puzzle pieces can be used to make circular shapes, like globes. 3D puzzles are definitely more challenging and are recommended for kids ages 10 and up.

    Buy 3D puzzles on Amazon.com.

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  • 13 of 15

    Foam Puzzle Floor Mats

    Foam Alphabet Mat
    Martney / Amazon

    Do you have hardwood or tile floor surfaces? Not only do these foam puzzle floor mats make hard surfaces soft, but they can also teach children about letter and numbers while using their motor skills. Because of the design of the squares, they can also be attached together to make cubes and other 3 dimensional designs. These puzzles are a great investment that can meet the needs and interests of children as they grow and develop. The surface allows them to be easily wiped clean.

    Buy alphabet and number foam floor mats on Amazon.com.

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  • 14 of 15

    Virtual Puzzles

    child on iPad
    Getty Images / Hero Images. Getty Images / Hero Images

    If your children like puzzles, but you are looking for a way for them to do puzzles on-the-go, depending upon which tablet or device your family owns, there are hundreds of children's apps that offer children the ability to complete puzzles at varying levels, based upon their interests.

    Visit the Google Play or Apple iTunes stores to search for great educational apps that have puzzles.

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  • 15 of 15

    Design Your Own Puzzles

    My Ravensburger Puzzle

    Depending upon how many pieces your child enjoys putting together, there are design-your-own puzzles from Ravensburger that can be ordered online. Upload an image, then depending on the skill level of the recipient, there are 100, 200 or 300 piece puzzles. Your own image will appear in a special puzzle that arrives in a tin, making it a great, personalized gift.

    These unique my Ravensburger Puzzles can be bought at Ravensburger.com. Many other Ravensburger puzzles can be bought on Amazon.com.