Puzzles are the Perfect Family Bonding Activity

Last week my family lost my grandmother to lung cancer. She passed in her home with her family around her, eating, laughing, and sharing stories for days straight. Although it was emotionally difficult for all of us, we kept her spirits up with our smiles and offered her the comfort of being surrounded by those that loved her the most.

For several of those days, we had 10 or more people in her home spending the night to be with her. To keep us all occupied, I pulled out some puzzles. Everyone, the young, the old, and the middle-aged, stopped for some moments to help put the puzzles together.

During this stressful and challenging time, a puzzle was the perfect activity. It kept the children busy (and quiet, so my grandmother could rest) and gave all of our minds a calming distraction. Instead of being consumed with anxiety, stress, and sadness the puzzle allowed a few moments to lose ourselves in sorting and helping each other—whether it was helping find a piece for someone else, or confirming whether a piece really fit in a spot. We each had our own methods for putting the puzzle together (my cousin Randy and I had a preference for sorting by shape, my cousin Zach insisting on color) but together we were able to recreate 2 Ceaco sea-themed puzzles.

Puzzle Warehouse is first and foremost a family company, owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Brian and Susan Way (and the help their 7 children!)

As a company, all of us working at PW are all committed to providing our customers with a great activity for all ages, a way for the littlest of kids and oldest of adults in a family to connect in a common interest and project. But Puzzle Warehouse is also a family company in that it allowed me the flexibility to go and spend that time with my grandmother when she needed me most, of which I am extremely grateful.

It has been a pleasure to work here. Multiple family members told me that a puzzle was the perfect choice for an activity and thanked me for suggesting it during that time. It wouldn’t have happened if my job at Puzzle Warehouse hadn’t cultivated my interest in this great hobby that brings people together and unifies them, making them work as a team. I am thankful for the peace and serenity a puzzle provided in that time.

Here are some pictures of the puzzles we did.

A sea of blue! After the border we had a lot of sorting to do!

My mother, Dawn, my Great Uncle Jerry and Uncle Jeff working on the first puzzle.

Finished product!

Finished product!

The second puzzle we worked on a lot more color.

A missing edge piece drove us crazy for the beginning of the experience.

Further along, but still no edge piece!

Nearly there! By this point, I had won my battle of sorting the pieces by shape, making the last section whiz by.

Finished product. The edge piece was found in the box by my cousin Randy—the only one of us to have enough sense to look there!

Special thanks and credit goes to to Jerry, Jeff, Dawn, Bella, Randy, Grant, Addie, Max, Zach, and all of my other family members that worked on these puzzles.

Also, thank you to all of our Puzzle Warehouse fans—we left you without any new blog updates or Facebook posts for quite a while—but we’re back to keep talking about the thing we all love so much: puzzles!

Tomorrow we will feature our fairy puzzles as a special post dedicated to my grandmother and her love of sprites and magical creatures.

How to Pick the Best Puzzle Brands

So, we’ve posted before on how to select a high-quality puzzle based on the brand and the quality of the puzzle pieces and printing. But I wanted to give you a little more insight into what makes each of our most popular brands unique. We’ll also take a look at quality and prices.

This is to give you all some insight into each brand we carry, starting with the most popular puzzle brands. I have tested many of the jigsaw puzzles myself and have also talked with many people who love these puzzles! More will be posted later.

_________________________________

Sunsout:

This brand carries thousands of different images, in piece counts ranging from 100 piece mini puzzles to 6000 piece giants. They are made from eco-friendly material in the USA. Sunsout puzzles are also on the cheaper side – with 1000 piece puzzles only $15. Pieces are both ribbon and random cut, depending on the image.

_________________________________


Ravensburger:

Often touted as one of the best puzzle brands, it is probably true. These puzzles have true interlocking ribbon cut pieces – they really snap together well and don’t move around. They also use grained paper which makes the image glare-free with a nice, durable finish and great color. These puzzles are perfect for framing. Their 1000 piece puzzles are $17, and they also have great 500 piece puzzles for only $13.

___________________________

Springbok:

These puzzles are known for the fact that no two pieces are ever the same. They use random cut dies to cut their puzzle, a unique look and interesting challenge. They use 100% recycled materials and are made in the USA. They also limit the number of new puzzles each year in an effort to focus more on quality than quantity. 500 piece puzzles from Springbok are just $12.

Heye:

Heye puzzles have some of the most unique images – from gothic art to highly detailed cartoon puzzles. The pieces are ribbon cut and slide together nicely – but be careful – often times with ribbon cut puzzles pieces of similar shape and color can make it to the wrong spot. Make sure it really fits before moving on! These are top-notch quality – with 1000 piece puzzles upwards of $25 – but they are well worth it if you plan to keep and frame the puzzle. (I myself have 3 mounted on my wall from Heye!)

Aquarius:

If you’re into pop-culture, this is the brand for you. They have everything from vintage Beatles puzzles to I Love Lucy, John Wayne and Rush. Their puzzles are also printed with high-quality ink so the images are bright and crystal clear. These are the perfect puzzles for teenagers or fanatics with 1000 piece puzzles around $15.

Ceaco:

This brand is known for its low prices. You’ll find a smaller box and slightly thinner pieces than a higher-end puzzle, but the fun is still the same! These are great party puzzles or for keeping and doing over and over with the kids or family. 1000 piece puzzles are only $12 and they have great painters like Thomas Kinkade!

Love a particular puzzle brand and want to submit your review of it? Talk to us and tell us what you think and I’ll post it next week!

Question for the comments: What puzzle brand are you loyal to and why?

15 Best Autumn Themed Puzzle

Autumn is back and it’s the best time of the year for puzzles! The days are shorter, colder, and prettier, and it’s the perfect setting for curling up by the window and putting together your fall-themed puzzles with your families. Things feel timeless in the fall, and here are some puzzles that will help evoke the nostalgic feelings that come with this time of year, featuring those bright leaves you love, pumpkins and even Halloween scenes.

Autumn Market – Cobble Hill

1000 pieces. Finished size: 19.25” x 26.625”. $15.99.

 Blue Jay and Friends – Cobble Hill

1000 pieces. Finished size: 26.625" x 19.25". $15.99.

 Pumpkin Patch – Buffalo Games by Artists Persis Clayton Weirs & Lesley Harrison

1000 pieces . Finished size: 20" x 27". $14.99.

 Little Farmers Market – Sunsout by artist David Rottinghaus

1000 pieces . Finished size: 27" x 20". $14.99.

 A Bridge to Unity – Sunsout by artist Dave Barnhouse

1000 pieces . Finished size: 16" x 34". $14.99.

Continue reading this post