Puzzles and brainteasers are great for helping young brains develop and grow. They teach problem solving skills, hand-eye coordination, sorting, pattern recognition and more! The best part? There are so many different types of puzzles and images on puzzles that they are certain to entertain as much as they educate. While puzzles will help develop reading, math and logic skills – they also provide a feeling of accomplishment and achievement when the puzzle is solved – which is why kid’s love to do them over and over – and might just give them a confidence boost too!
Putting together jigsaw puzzles and other types of puzzle brainteasers can also be a great family or group play activity, along with individual play. But how do you pick a good puzzle for your youngster? Here are few tips from an article in a Young Children periodical.
1. Small knobs for toddlers. Knobs or chunky puzzles help small fingers with coordination and strengthen the grips used for writing. These are the first puzzle children 2-3 year’s old will enjoy putting together over and over.
2. Children like puzzles of things they know, animals, shapes, story scenes and bright colors.
3. Well designed, sturdy pieces that will withstand some wear and tear are a must. Wooden puzzles from Melissa and Doug, for example, make great starter puzzles for younger puzzlers.
4. When they get bored – it just means they need a step up in challenge – find a puzzle with more pieces, without frames, knobs or trays, or with new topics like letters, numbers or anatomy.
Here are 11 Great Kid’s Puzzles and Games for Brain Development
Five progressive puzzles from 2 to 5 pieces. The pieces are larger, thicker and easier to handle, stimulating attention, curiosity and imagination in children 12 months and older.
Getting dressed won't be such a puzzle once zipping, buckling, snapping, lacing and tying, and other dressing skills are mastered. Each skill is contained on a separate, wooden puzzle piece for easy practice. Develop fine motor and life skills with this great activity. For ages 3+.
Hear the sounds of six favorite vehicles when the two wooden cubes are properly placed in the wooden tray! Find the halves that match and hear six different, realistic sounds. Develops visual perception and fine motor skills. For ages 2+
Easy to grasp, thick chunky pieces fit perfectly into a background tray and help teach kids as young as two about life under the sea! For ages 2 and up.
From Acrobatic Alligator all the way to Zigzag Zebra, this colorful wooden alphabet puzzle has beautifully detailed pictures. When the piece is removed, a full color illustration with a matching image helps children find every letter its home. For ages 3 and up.
Ideal for travel, this wooden magnetic board includes three interchangeable animal habitat cards, farm, sea and savanna, and 26 magnetic, wooden play pieces for educational and creative play. For ages 3 and up.
Designed for hours of play and ideal for travel, this wooden magnetic board includes 120 colorful geometric magnets. Younger children (3+) will enjoy using the shapes to replicate the 12 geometric pictures included, while older children will enjoy creating mosaic patterns and pictures directly on the magnetic board.
Fun and fact filled card games for kids of all ages! Features great topics like Lost Civilizations, The Human Body, Earth Science, Sports and more! For ages 8 and up.
PlaySmart Digits in a Box Puzzle Game. First, spill the ten digits (0-9) from the box and give them a scramble. Then, place the pieces back in the box so that the lid closes flat. There are over 4000 possible solutions. For ages 6-8.
The incredible inner workings of the human body are beautifully portrayed in this double - sided educational floor puzzle. One side of this 100 - piece cardboard puzzle features the skeletal structure, and the other side shows internal organs and the circulatory system. For ages 8+.