The 8 Best Puzzles for Kids of 2021

Challenge them with these brain teasers

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Best Puzzles for Kids

Verywell Family

As we spend more time at home, puzzles are an amazing tool to build hand-eye coordination, grow logic and spatial skills, and enjoy some screen-free time. No matter your child’s age, skill level, or interest, there’s a puzzle out there that they will enjoy.

Here are the best puzzles for kids.  

Our Top Picks
Younger kids will have fun putting it together and older kids can practice learning the location of all 50 states.
Made from extra thick wood, the pieces have easy-to-grasp jumbo wooden knobs, making it ideal for first-time puzzle players.
Just challenging enough without being too advanced, it features 48 wooden pieces and comes in a storage tray for easy clean-up.
It helps develop hand-eye coordination and concentration, and will build confidence once your kiddo shows off the completed piece.
Kids will love seeing their very own name in puzzle form, which will help build self-esteem and name recognition.
Designed to be completed in under 20 minutes, this realistic-looking food puzzle offers tweens the perfect screen-free break.
Ideal for avid puzzle players or older kids who want a challenge, this double-sided choice features a matte and a glossy side.
The 26-piece puzzle is made of animal-shaped wooden blocks that all fit together into a fun animal parade.

Best Overall: Melissa & Doug USA 51-Piece Floor Puzzle

Melissa & Doug USA 51-Piece Floor Puzzle

Made of high-quality cardboard, this 51-piece puzzle is fun for kids of all ages. Measuring 3 feet x 2 feet when complete, this oversize puzzle is colorful and informative. Younger kids will have fun putting it together and older kids will learn the location of all 50 states, along with the capitals and a primary industry or feature of each state. 

Age Recommendation: 6 years old and up | Pieces: 51 | Material: Cardboard

Best for Toddlers: Melissa & Doug Safari Jumbo Knob Puzzle

Melissa & Doug Safari Jumbo Knob Puzzle

Young toddlers will love this jungle friends puzzle. Made from extra-thick wood, the three safari animals puzzle pieces have easy-to-grasp jumbo wooden knobs. Safe for kids from 1-year-old and up, this is a perfect introduction to puzzles. Little kids will love playing with the pieces, getting them into the correct places, and can even mimic animal sounds or use the puzzle pieces like cymbals to explore sounds and coordination. 

Age Recommendation: 1 year old and up | Pieces: Three | Material: Wood

Best for Kids: Melissa & Doug Construction Vehicles Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle With Storage Tray

Melissa & Doug Construction Vehicles Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle With Storage Tray

A great gift for kids from 3 to 5 years old, this puzzle offers an age-appropriate challenge. Made of 48 wooden pieces, parent reviewers love that this puzzle comes in its very own storage tray, so it can easily be stowed away once complete. The original artwork showcases a busy construction site featuring lots of favorite vehicles hard at work. To help younger kids, the wooden base has an outline of all the puzzle pieces, guiding kids to finding the right piece for each spot. 

Age Recommendation: 3 to 5 years old | Pieces: 48 | Material: Wood

Best 3D: Rolife 3D Wooden Puzzle

Rolife 3D Wooden Puzzle

Best for older kids, this 3D wooden puzzle helps develop hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, focus, concentration, and will build confidence once your kiddo can show off their completed puzzle. No glue or other materials are needed as the easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions guide your child through the assembly. If your kids aren't into the elephant design, the company makes lots of other challenging shapes.

Age Recommendation: 8 years old and up | Pieces: Not Listed | Material: Wood

Best Personalized: KIDZCO PUZZLES Wooden Personalized Name Puzzle

KIDZCO PUZZLES Wooden Personalized Name Puzzle

Build self-esteem, letter and name recognition, and hand-eye coordination with a personalized name puzzle. Kids will love seeing their very own name in puzzle form, especially those with unique names or spellings. Made in the U.S., this all wooden puzzle has room for up to 12 characters, all painted with colorful non-toxic paint.

Reviewers praise this puzzle as a great gift and an excellent tool in helping kids learn to spell their name. Custom options include a choice of letter color, engraving on the back, pegs on the letters, and more. 

Age Recommendation: Not Listed | Pieces: Up to 12 | Material: Wood

Best for Tweens: Burke Decor Little Puzzle Thing Chocolate Scoop

Little Puzzle Thing - Chocolate Scoop

Designed to be completed in under 20 minutes, these realistic-looking food puzzles provide tweens with a perfect screen-free break from their busy lives. The mini puzzles have just 70 pieces but the challenge lies with the odd shapes of these small treats. Each series is a timed edition with limited quantities, so if there is tasty food or treat that they love, scoop up these puzzles for a favorite tween in your life. 

Age Recommendation: 6 years old and up | Pieces: More than 70 | Material: Paper and chipboard

Best Challenging: Mudpuppy Animal Kingdom 100-Piece, Double-Sided Puzzle

Mudpuppy Animal Kingdom 100-Piece, Double-Sided Puzzle

Two puzzles in one, this double-sided choice is just challenging enough, so it’s recommended for kids ages 6 and up. One side showcases illustrations of the world’s most colorful animals while the other side features black and white animals. For easier sorting, one side is glossy and the flip side is matte.

Parents praise this puzzle with the only drawback being that the puzzle image doesn’t include labels identifying the animals. 

Age Recommendation: 6 years old and up | Pieces: 100 | Material: Cardboard

Best Wooden: BeginAgain Animal Parade A to Z Puzzle

BeginAgain Animal Parade A to Z Puzzle

This creative wooden toy is a puzzle and so much more. Introduce your kiddo to colors, animals, and the alphabet in a fun, interactive way. The 26-piece puzzle is made of animal-shaped wooden blocks that all fit together into an animal parade.

Each piece has an uppercase letter on one side and a lowercase letter on the flip side. Younger kids will enjoy playing with all the animals and older children can be challenged to complete the parade puzzle. The beechwood storage box holds all the animals and looks bright and colorful in a playroom or displayed on a bookshelf. 

Age Recommendation: 2 years old and up | Pieces: 26 | Material: Rubberwood

Final Verdict

For an educational puzzle that blends geography with playtime, the Melissa and Doug USA Puzzle (view on Amazon) is a good option. If you have older kids that are open to a challenge, the Rolife 3D Wooden Puzzle (view on Amazon) is perfect.

What to Look for When Buying Puzzles for Kids

Age-Appropriate

If a puzzle is too advanced for your kiddo, they can easily become discouraged because of the difficulty. On the flip side, if the puzzle is too easy, your older or more experienced puzzlers may get bored and disinterested. To get them started, choose a puzzle that fits their age and experience level.

Under 2: Most puzzles are designed for children above the age of 2 as puzzle pieces can be choking hazards for smaller children. Puzzles that are safe for children under 2 are often large, featuring one large piece instead of 70 small ones. They encourage problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Toddler: Puzzles with large knob pieces work best for children around the ages of 2 to 3. This encourages fine motor skills and they can slowly work their way to more pieces.

Big Kids: By now, children around the age of 7 and up can handle puzzles with more pieces and can even solve them independently. Depending on your child's age, they may be able to solve up to a 500-piece puzzle.

Tweens +: With guidance and patience, tweens and older can solve just about any puzzle they're given. They've worked on their fine motor skills and strategic thinking skills to put together a puzzle.

Durability

For little kids that like to gnaw on their toys, a durable and non-toxic puzzle is essential in order to keep the pieces in working order. This is important for children typically under the age of 3. As children get older, you won't have to focus so much on the material of the puzzle.

As you're shopping for a puzzle, you'll notice they are usually made from materials like cardboard and wood. Wood can be used for large puzzles designed for smaller children, like toddlers, who still put items into their mouth. It's a durable material that many company's cover with a non-toxic finish should a child put a piece into their mouth.

Puzzles made with cardboard are highly popular and designed more for older children. The pieces are small, making them unsafe for toddlers, but perfect for big kids and tweens who are well beyond that phase.

Storage

There is nothing worse than losing a piece to a puzzle. Going for a puzzle that comes with its own storage box can help you corral all of the tiny pieces.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 7-year-old son, and 3-year old daughter. Her husband is a “puzzle person” and loves to complete puzzles with (or more realistically without) help from the rest of the family. "When we do puzzles together, everyone has an age-appropriate task that’ll help us complete the puzzle." 

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  1. Swinson T. Puzzle power: how puzzles help your child’s development.