When your kids outgrow inset puzzles, try these...

Playing with puzzles has many benefits for young kids. They help develop cognitive skills (matching, problem-solving), social-emotional skills (patience, persistence), and motor skills (manipulating the pieces to fit into the correct space). Inset puzzles (on the right/top) are an incredibly popular toy, available at almost every children’s store and pharmacy, and come in many varieties from shapes to farm animals, to vehicles, you name it. But what happens when children outgrow these puzzles but are not yet ready for interlocking jigsaw ones, that typically start at a minimum of 12 pieces? From my experience finding the right puzzles for that in-between time can be tricky, so I’ve put together a list of puzzles that might save you the search. Hope you enjoy it!

This wooden puzzle playset is an excellent way to introduce the concept of using shapes to create pictures. Use it to work on problem-solving, color and shape recognition, and encourage kids to develop their own designs.

Learning to connect interlocking pieces is easier and more motivating when the pictures are simple and clear. These 2-piece puzzle sets come in many different themes, so choose the one that would be most engaging for your child.

This puzzle set comes with four 3-piece interlocking puzzles with different textures on each picture. The textures add an engaging sensory component to the challenging task.

This set comes with a 3, 4, 5, and 6 piece puzzle, which allows kids to gain confidence in the task before attempting the more challenging pictures.

In addition to matching the pieces by animal and color, you can use this to spark curiosity and teach new cognitive concepts. Ask your child “what is different about the dogs? and “where is the cat sitting in this picture?”

Match the Baby Puzzle by Banana Panda introduces the concept of matching colors and similar patterns, a skill needed for more mature interlocking puzzles. It’s also good way for kids to learn about size comparisons “big” and “small.”

These chunky wooden pieces can help kids get acquainted with the concept of jigsaw puzzles as they work to recognize different parts of a picture.

This set comes with a 2, 4, 6, and 8 piece interlocking puzzle so that kids can progress as they build confidence in each one.