The definition of a puzzle can vary between anything that consists of three pieces and takes two minutes or more to a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that takes months to complete. Regardless of puzzle type, one thing remains the same with each one: They are all an excellent tool for learning and educating. The act of piecing together a puzzle is not only fun, but gives kids a feeling of satisfaction, pride, and accomplishment. When they’ve successfully completed a puzzle it means they’ve also expanded their muscle memory, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. From the age of two up, these skills are an important part of growing up and should always be encouraged and worked on given the right tools. Puzzles can be a great way to motivate kids to improve all of those skills while also having fun and feeling like they’ve truly accomplished and finished something.
Listed below are the Top 22 best puzzles that will help with the necessary skills your child needs to advance through his or her toddler ages all the way up to high school. Each puzzle presents a unique challenge to an individual age range and caters to a specific area and theme, giving you as many options as possible to find the right puzzle fit for your child. Whether you’re looking for something requiring great skill, something fun and entertaining, or a puzzle with a personal and sentimental touch, we’ve got your gift-giving covered!
Our Top 3 Picks
- Green Start Chunky Wooden Puzzles
- Developmentally-focused Puzzles
- Melissa & Doug Animals Puzzles Set
- Easy To Grasp Pieces
- Melissa & Doug Vehicles Puzzles
- 12 Piece Puzzles
Criteria Used to Evaluate The Best Wooden Puzzles for Kids
Puzzles are the type of toy that never goes out of style. One of the great things about them is that they don’t require batteries and can occupy a child for hours. When we put together this list, we took into consideration certain elements that a parent would no doubt be looking for when choosing wooden puzzles for toddlers and younger children. We also wanted the wooden puzzles to range from beginning stages of life to older kids who are ready to start learning academically. Puzzles benefit a child and their development perhaps in more ways than we stop to consider, but when taking a closer look we discovered that these are the benefits of puzzle building for a child.
At a young age, it’s important to encourage a kids developmental skills. The children’s wooden puzzles we chose to place on this list cover important key developmental components. This includes the following:
Cognitive Development: Puzzles can be key to helping a child exercise their minds, Kids will learn about being able to follow directions and memorizing something such as where a piece will go or fit. Puzzles also help kids to identify various shapes and colors, which also helps to sharpen the mind
Vision: While working a puzzle a child will have to study the puzzle carefully. This will sharpen their abilities to identify certain things with their eyes, such as shapes, colors, and sizes.
Communication: Yes, kids can even learn more about communicating while building puzzles. This would include being able to ask for a specific piece by name.
Creativity: Building a puzzle will help heightens a child creativity and their imagination. While working a puzzle the kid feels as if they are creating something themselves. This will also have a child feel a certain amount of accomplishment and help build their self-esteem.
Motor Skills Development
While working a puzzle, kids use their hands to put each piece together. This helps a child learn to grab hold of something and to even help build the child’s muscles in their fingers. Also learning how to control their hands by taking hold of the piece of the puzzle.
This is another crucial element that is found in puzzle building at an early age. Through building puzzles, kids will not only learn things such as letters of the alphabet or simple words but there are other educational elements that can also be sharpened such as, language, mathematics and geography.
Problem Solving Skills
A kid even at an early age can learn about solving problems and this is where a puzzle can come into play. Puzzles give kids many pieces and it’s up to them to figure out how to take these pieces and make them into a completed image. An early lesson about how to see a problem at hand and figure out how to fix it.
Social and Bonding Skills
It’s essential for a parent to build a bond with their child at any age. Building puzzles together is a great way to have a bonding moment. First while teaching the child how to put a puzzle together than as the child grows older and the puzzles become more of a challenge trying to figure out how to put it together in one on one time. Building puzzles is also a great way for kids to learn how to socialize with other kids and spend quality time with their parents. This will include friends or their siblings which helped them put their puzzle together. So, puzzles can be a fun challenging and interactive experience for more than one individual.
Puzzle toys are great for stimulating your child’s cognitive development while at the same time enhancing both his physical and emotional skills. We are optimistic that you were able to choose several from our list of the 15 best wooden puzzles to give to your kid.
What Determined The Best Toys in Our List
It is clear that wooden puzzle toys are one of the most beneficial learning tools you can ever provide your kid. It is, therefore, crucial to choose one that is not so complicated for your child’s developmental age but is challenging enough to make him or her want to strive.
We know how difficult it can be to choose an age- and developmentally- appropriate kids wooden puzzle so we have come up with our list of the 15 best. Our researchers have to consider the developmental appropriateness of a few hundred wooden puzzles and chose only those that are safe, of high-quality construction, manufactured by a credible toy company, and passed the discriminating tastes of parents.
Puzzles and the Young Brain
Puzzles help with the development and enhancement of your kids’ physical skills. Specifically, they learn to develop and master their hand-eye coordination as they try to pick up the puzzle pieces and slot them into their place. These kinds of toys also help develop and refine your child’s gross and fine motor skills. Younger kids will be able to develop their gross motor skills as a necessary foundation for more precise fine motor skills. As they grow older, they will be able to pick up and slot puzzle pieces with absolute precision which can help them master their fine motor skills. This becomes the foundation for better handwriting skills later in childhood.
Puzzle toys also help develop your kid’s cognitive skills especially his or her recognition of shapes and colors as well as help enhance his or her memory, spatial intelligence, problem-solving skills, and a general understanding of the world. This helps them get a better understanding of how the world really works. Puzzle toys that come in different shapes and colors can develop and reinforce your kid’s recognition of these characteristics which can pave the way for more complex cognitive processing of more abstract puzzles. Your kid also will develop his or her memory as he or she attempts to remember or recall the specific shape of puzzle pieces that may not fit a particular slot now but will be at a later time. This also helps enhance their spatial intelligence where they try to make sense of the puzzle slot and attempt to correlate that with the various shapes of puzzle pieces that they see. Overall, their problem-solving skills are enhanced through constant trial and error methods as well as the use of rudimentary logic and critical thinking skills.
Children who grow up with puzzles tend to be more patient as they will have to take their time to sort things out before putting the pieces together. They learn that they cannot reach the end without first having to spend some time working on the puzzle itself. Additionally, they learn how to set goals. They know that solving the puzzle is their ultimate goal and that this can be achieved by coming up with a strategy to achieve the goal. Later in life, they will use this skill to make clearer life goals for themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I keep track of puzzle pieces?
A: One of the main cons of the puzzles on this list is the fact that pieces can get lost over time. This is one of the main drawbacks of puzzles in general no matter the age level. So, when a child is done playing with the puzzle try to account for all the pieces. Best way to do this is to put the puzzle together to store it away.
Q: Are these wooden puzzles built to last?
A: Wooden puzzles are quite durable and are built to last with quality construction. A wooden puzzle can take much wear and tear. That’s not to say that some care isn’t involved. For example not a good idea to get a wooden puzzle wet such as a child accidentally spilling a beverage on it or leaving a puzzle out in the rain or throwing it in a pool. Water can do damage to wood, cause it to warp and wear down. so always make sure that if a puzzle is exposed to water or dampness of any kind that it is dried off immediately by pat drying excess moisture off the puzzle than letting it air dry overnight.
Q: Are all these wooden puzzles safe and non-toxic?
A: This has been a major concern for parents since 2007 when the major plastic toy recall occurred that involved many popular baby toys. However, this recall involved plastic toys only, not wooden ones. A wooden puzzle is made from something that is completely natural and that is wood. Yes, there are other things that are involved such paint, finishes and even a certain amount of plastic. As stated above several of the wooden puzzles listed here ensure consumers that these puzzles were made with the non-toxic material. The companies featured on this list have taken the time to understand these concerns and to try to put their consumer’s fears to rest by creating puzzles for younger kids that are safe and non-toxic.
Q: Can a Wooden Puzzle be clean and sterilized?
A: Like any young child’s toy it will be important to sterilize wooden puzzles periodically. However, there are certain parameters to keep in mind, such as using a safe nontoxic cleaner such diluted vinegar placed in an empty spray bottle that will actually disinfect the pieces without being harmful to the child. Another thing to always remember don’t soak any of these pieces in water, again water is any enemy of wood. The best course of action get a spray bottle of the nontoxic cleaner of choice, spray the toy with the cleaner, then using a damp washcloth go over the toy once more. Afterward gently pat down the toy with a dry sterile towel then place the pieces in a dry spot for them to naturally continue to air dry, usually overnight. There are several steps by step tutorials that can be found online that will be able to give step by step guideline of sterilizing wooden puzzles and other wooden toys that will also be helpful to a concerned parent.
Q: What is the ideal age for a kid to start building puzzles?
A: On average the ideal age for a child to start being introduced to simple puzzles such as the ones listed here are ideal for a child who is age 2 years of age. However, a child who is around 12 months old will start to learn about placing things such as block into containers. A few of the puzzles listed here are ideal for this stage of development and are perfect for kids who are one year of age.
Q: How do I know which Puzzle is ideal for my child?
A: First it’s important to take into consideration the age of your child. As stated above not all wooden puzzles are ideal for all age levels. It’s always important when choosing a puzzle to look at the box, is there a warning about the age level on it. If your child falls below recommended age level, this isn’t the ideal puzzle for them. Also, as a child grows they start to develop interest, and this is also a hint as to which puzzle will interest them. Yes, always a good idea to buy some educational puzzles such as examples above, these are ideal for kids who are around four or five years old and prepare them for what they will be or are learning in school.
Q: How do I get my child to interact with puzzle building?
A: This can be a challenge for parents who are trying to get their toddlers to understand what a puzzle is. Sometimes the child will just watch the parent build the puzzle, and not interact at first themselves. The best course of action is patience no doubt with a parent showing the child step by step what needs to be done to complete the puzzle eventually the child will catch on that they themselves can do this.
Q: Will puzzles continue to interest my child the older they become?
A: This is a good question with no easy answer. The older a child gets the more they will no doubt be interested in technology and video games. However, introducing them to puzzles at an early age could very well lead to them wanting to continue building puzzles and perhaps even give them a fun-filled hobby as they get older. In any case, a kid will still learn some great developmental skills building puzzles at a young age, no doubt about that.
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