Why do your kids always say they have nothing to do, even though your house is so full of toys that it’s almost a hoarder’s dream? Sorry, we can’t help with that one. But we do know a way to keep your kids from getting bored that won’t involve too much screen time and make them smarter: puzzles.
To finish a classic jigsaw puzzle, you need to have good hand-eye coordination, recognise shapes, think abstractly, and be able to solve problems.
And research shows that this brain-boosting activity can have a long-lasting effect on how well you do on spatial tasks. Check out our list of the best puzzles for kids if you want to give them a gift that keeps on giving. They’ll have hours of fun while improving their ability to think critically.
Melissa & Doug 100 Piece Ballet Recital Puzzle
A jigsaw for kids ready to move on from big floor puzzles but aren’t quite ready for a 1000-piece puzzle (the manufacturer recommends this guy for ages 6 to 9). Regular-sized pieces require fine motor skills, and the ballet theme is great for keeping little dancers interested on a rainy day when they might otherwise be bored
Melissa & Doug USA Map Floor Puzzle
With this 51-piece jigsaw, teaching geography can be like a game. Puzzles need a strategy, and the best way to put together this map of the United States is to learn how each state is shaped and where it is located. After a few tries (and some scratching of the head), kids can solve this puzzle and get a feel for the area..
Mudpuppy Search & Find 64-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
This clever jigsaw puzzle is done in the usual way, but there is a surprise twist. Sit your dino-lover down and give them the task of putting together this 64-piece picture. Tell your baby that there will be more fun after the job is done.
This extra incentive should help your child get the focus and hand-eye coordination they need to complete the task. Don’t worry; you weren’t trying to trick me. Inside the box, there is a list of more than 40 different dinosaurs to find in the picture. Kids will have a great time looking for the different types hidden in bright colours.
Wood City Tangram Tetris Puzzle For Kids
A puzzle that combines the fun of Tetris (without the screen time) with the skill-building power of a regular puzzle. This toy can be played with differently, so you don’t have to do much to keep your child interested.
Your mini can put the colourful wooden shapes in different ways to make different pictures or try to find a way to fit them all on the wooden playing board, which is the ultimate challenge. In either case, your critical thinking and visual reasoning skills will get a boost.
Ravensburger Thomas & Friends Night Work Glow-In-The-Dark 60-Piece Puzzle
Please don’t get your child jigsaws with landscapes on them. Instead, get them puzzles that are about things they like. Your family’s Thomas the Train fan will enjoy putting the pieces together to make the characters from their favourite show.
Unlike screen time, this job requires focus and critical thinking, so it’s time well spent. Plus, this puzzle glows in the dark, so your child can see how hard he worked on it both during the day and at night.
Galison Vintage Motel Signs 500-Piece Puzzle
The cute retro design will attract your tween so they can use their fingers for something other than texting. This 500-piece puzzle helps kids get better at solving problems and staying on task. How so? Because the project is so big, it requires commitment and follow-through. (Luckily, it’s more fun than cleaning one’s bedroom.)
Like Pattern Blocks Animal Montessori Puzzle
This guy is just as good for your brain as a regular jigsaw, and it gives you even more chances to be creative. The cute animal activity cards and brightly coloured tiles make it hard to say no. But don’t let the cuteness fool you kids have to use their visual reasoning and fine motor skills to recreate pictures by sliding and stacking pieces in the right way. If kids start to get too worked up, they can take a break and make an abstract picture of their design.
Infantino Soft Foam Puzzle Mats
A jigsaw challenge is a great way for little kids to start exercising their minds. When you give your little one a soft foam puzzle mat, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they learn to solve problems. The outside pieces of the mat fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, and the middle pieces can be taken out and put back in.
This helps young children learn about shapes and how to put things in order. Your baby can get a workout, too, because when they are done playing with the puzzle, it can be used as a quiet place for tummy time.
Cat Stax, The Purrfect Puzzle
This funny logic game has 48 three-dimensional pieces shaped like cats but doesn’t have any dander. It also has 48 different brain-teasing tests that encourage reasoning and persistence. The suggested activities range in how hard they are, so kids of all ages can figure out how to solve problems independently or with the help of an adult.
Melissa & Doug 4-In-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles With Storage Box
The backs of these sturdy wooden pieces have different shapes printed on them, so kids can practise their perception skills by sorting them before or after the main event. The box comes with four 12-piece puzzles with brightly coloured pictures of well-known dinosaurs. This fun activity is great for travelling because it comes with a handy storage box. Suitable for children ages 3 to 6.