9 Best Puzzles for Toddlers in 2021
Best Puzzles for Babies and Toddlers
November 5, 2021

Best Puzzles for Babies and Toddlers

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Best Puzzles for Babies and Toddlers.
Cheerful and perfect for little fingers, it’s no wonder these first puzzles are kids’ absolute favorites.Best Puzzles for Babies and 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:

Baby's First Puzzle

Many babies can start grasping objects at around three or four months old, and while you certainly don’t want to hand them a complex jigsaw puzzle right away, a simple, single-shape puzzle like this one is a great way to kick off those problem-solving skills. The thick, round knob on this puzzle is the perfect size for a tiny grip, and once kiddo figures out how to lift the piece away, there’s a fun surprise waiting underneath—their own reflection!

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 months+
Dimensions 6.5” x 6.5” (circle is 4” diameter)

Shape Master

Once your little one has just about mastered their grasping and is ready to move on from a single-shape puzzle, this five-piece version is a natural level-up for their puzzle skills as well as for learning more basic shapes. (And we love that this puzzles makes the shapes correspond to common sights like a door and a tree.) Each piece has a matching picture underneath its correct slot, so kids can quickly learn to identify which shape 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 Guideliens Ages 1 year+
Dimensions 12” x 12” x 1.5”

Beautiful & Eco-Friendly

If you’re into the minimalist, blend-in-with-your-home-decor look, 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 how it was made, 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. And once your toddler is ready to learn numbers and letters, there are similar self-correcting jigsaw puzzles to teach counting and spelling.

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

Alphabet Fun

ABC, 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. And the back of the puzzle board doubles as a chalkboard so your little one can put their newfound letter knowledge to the test and practice their writing when they’re ready.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 2 years+
Dimensions 9.36” x 10.53”

Two in One

If your toddler has mastered the puzzle basics, take things up a notch with this two-in-one set from Hape. The large 4-piece puzzle acts as the base, and the real challenge is the four groups of shapes that fit uniquely on the pegs (it may take a little twisting and turning to figure out). The two-stage nature of this puzzle means the challenges grow with your toddler.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 18 months+
Dimensions 5.6” x 7.8” x 9.5”

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)

A Combo Puzzle

Puzzles and stacking toys are both staples in a toddler’s toy collection, so why not combine the two? Kiddo can practice their balancing by stacking the gears up to make a tower, or hone their puzzle-solving skills by fitting the pieces together inside each other so the whole thing lays flat. Each gear piece has the color in English on one side and in Spanish, French and German on the other, so this toy not only doubles as a stacker and puzzle, it triples as a language learning tool!

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 2 years+
Dimensions 7.5” x 7.5” x 1”

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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