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

 
 

Puzzles for toddlers that are fun and educational….

 

Playing with puzzles has many benefits for young kids. It helps develop cognitive skills (matching, problem-solving), social-emotional skills (patience, persistence), and motor skills (manipulating pieces to fit together). Inset puzzles (below) are a super popular toy, available at almost every children’s store and pharmacy. They come in endless categories from shapes to farm animals, to vehicles, etc. 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!

 
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It’s rare to find two-piece puzzles, especially ones that are good quality. That’s why I was super happy to discover this set by BigJigs below. It comes with four super clear and engaging wooden puzzles that are not visually over stimulating or confusing for little kids. Clear pictures allow children to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted. Love these for introducing the concept of interlocking puzzles.

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Another great two piece puzzle is this set by Mudpuppy called My First Puzzle Pairs.It also comes in a variety of themes and is not overly busy (which makes it easier to see). This set is excellent for introducing the concepts of front and back. To play, choose a puzzle piece then ask a child to either find the animal’s face or tail. It has animal names written in English and Spanish.

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Below is a two piece puzzle set by Djeco Toys that teaches children new vocabulary while introducing the concept of opposites. It challenges visual perceptual skills and attention as well, as children problem-solve to determine what each picture is trying to express.

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Watch This Face by Eeboo focuses on understanding emotional reactions. To play, choose a puzzle piece, analyze the situation, then determine how someone might feel in that position. This is great for learning to recognize, speak about, and understand emotions.

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Crazy Animal Magnetics are super cool 3 piece magnet puzzles that are fun to manipulate on a fridge. Working on a fridge (or any vertical surface) helps develop shoulder strength and stability, needed for good fine motor control as kids get older.

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When your kids are ready to move on to more challenging puzzles, Puzzle Cubes is a great option. Here kids have the option of completing 1 out of 6 pictures designs. This requires problem-solving, visual spatial abilities, and attention.

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In the Jungle, Primo Puzzles by Janod includes four puzzles 3, 4, 5, and 6 pieces. It creates an excellent progression for children as they can move on to a greater challenge once they succeed with the first.

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Once children have mastered the puzzles above and are ready for more pieces, this 4 in a Box Puzzle Set by Mudpuppy is a great option. It includes a 4, 6, 9, and 12 piece puzzle and also comes in a few different themes.

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Congrats on moving to big kid puzzles!!