7 Best Puzzles for Toddlers

Best Puzzles for Toddlers

September 25, 2019

Best Puzzles for Toddlers

Best Puzzles for Toddlers
Best Puzzles for Toddlers

Every parent thinks their child is a genius (even though they eat old Cheerios off the floor). Give your little one a puzzle, watch their mind work some magic and you’ll be certain a Nobel Prize is next.

Kids of all ages can gain benefits from playing with puzzles. These brain-building activities help develop cognitive and fine-motor skills, foster cooperative play and spur problem-solving prowess. Not only are puzzles a perfect way to spend some quality time together, but kids feel proud of themselves for completing one. Better yet, they’re an interactive way to teach colors, letters, numbers, shapes, animals and beyond.

There are different types of puzzles for different ages. One-year-olds have a blast with large, simple wooden puzzles where shapes easily fit into each cutout. As they grow, move onto more advanced setups with pieces of varying sizes and configurations.

Your tot may put more pieces in their mouth than in their designated places at first, but a little practice goes a long way in boosting hand-eye coordination. Be patient and resist the urge to help too much. Part of the fun is letting little ones figure things out for themselves. In the baby and toddler years, it’s all about tactile and sensory experiences as well as understanding size differentiation and object recognition.

To help your little genius master those skills, here are some of our favorite puzzles:

Great Starter Puzzle

Your toddler is probably a pro at mooing, baaing and quacking. Now they can take their animal expertise up a notch with this fun jumbo-knob puzzle. The barn-shaped board includes eight extra-thick pieces with large wooden knobs to help with grasping. Each puzzle has a matching picture underneath its correct slot, so kids can learn to identify which animal (or farmer) goes where. A heads up to parents: We’re not sure what’s worse, stepping on a Lego or one of these knobs. Make sure you clean up the puzzle pieces after you’re done playing.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 12 months+
Dimensions 11.65” x 15” x 1.3”

Eco-Friendly Shapes

If your kiddo is ready to master basic shapes, we highly recommend this aesthetically pleasing option from Plan Toys and Pottery Barn Kids. With no bright colors to steal the show, your toddler can focus on the shapes of the pieces and how they fit together. And it’s made from sustainable rubberwood and reclaimed wood particles, so you can feel good about it too.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 2 years+
Dimensions 7” x 7.5” x 1.25”

Introduction to Jigsaws

“Whose tail is that?” We can’t count how many times you’ll ask your toddler that question as they hunt for each piece’s match. Since this puzzle is self-correcting, each piece only has one match. And when they don’t match, it’s obvious—the pieces simply don’t connect. It’s a great introduction to jigsaw puzzles, and it’s sure to get your little one’s mind working hard.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 2 years+
Dimensions 5” x 5”

For Little Creators

Ten designs, 30 shapes, one sturdy storage box. These pattern blocks give tots endless possibilities to piece together pictures within templates or create their own designs. Five boards (with recessed cut-out designs on each side) are ready to fill with colorful shapes. Kiddos can work on their concentration, sorting skills, color and shape recognition, even a little math. Pieces are easy to grab and position into the templates. When playtime is done, everything packs up nice and neat inside the wooden box.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 2 years+
Dimensions 11” x 11” x 3”

Alphabet Fun

A.B.C. It’s easy as…doing this adorable wooden puzzle. Kids can put all of their alphabet singing to good use by arranging the colorful, sturdy letters (both inside and outside the board). It’s a great way for them to recognize letters, practice sounds, even spell out words. Made with safe materials and lead-free paint, parents rave about the high quality (without the high price tag).

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+
Dimensions 11.2” x 10.8” x 0.7”

A Personalized Touch

Speaking of letters and spelling, what better way for your toddler to practice spelling their name than with their own personalized puzzle? And with a rainbow of colors used for the letters, it’ll look great propped up on a shelf once kiddo outgrows it. Keep in mind: the manufacturer can only accommodate up to nine letters on the board, so kids with longer names may need a nickname puzzle.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 years+
Dimensions 4.5” x 0.5” (length depends on name)

The Storage Solution

Not sure where you’re going to store all of your toddler’s awesome new puzzles? Thankfully, Melissa & Doug (in their infinite puzzle manufacturer wisdom) have created a sturdy rack that most puzzles (even most non-Melissa & Doug ones) can easily slide in and out of. This rack fits six larger puzzles on bottom and six smaller puzzles on top, but there’s also a rack just for larger puzzles. But be aware: if you’ve got any of the large knob puzzles, they’ll take up two slots in this rack.

Additional Specs
Dimensions 16.5” x 13.2” x 8.2”
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