The Best Jigsaw Puzzles for Kids – Our Choices for 2017
The best thing about jigsaw puzzles is their entertainment and educational values, as well as the fact that both kids and adults can enjoy them. The colorful theme in each jigsaw puzzle is also part of the attraction, the themes of which can range from popular cartoon characters to landscapes. The fact that jigsaw puzzles come in a wide range of difficulty, from a few pieces for toddlers to a thousand pieces for adults, is a selling point, too.
Our Handpicked List of Jigsaw Puzzles for Kids
Here are 15 of the best jigsaw puzzles according to our research. Keep in mind that your final choices will be determined by your children’s ages, interests and preferences. You may, for example, get the 1,000-piece Candy Wrappers since you have older kids while your friend will choose the 12-piece wooden puzzle.
- Our Handpicked List of Jigsaw Puzzles for Kids
- 1. White Mountain 1000-Piece Candy Wrappers Jigsaw Puzzle
- 2. Melissa & Doug 12-Piece Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles in a Box – Vehicles
- 3. White Mountain 1000-Piece The Games We Played Jigsaw Puzzle
- 4. Ceaco 500-Piece Thomas Kinkade Disney Dreams Collection 4-in-1 Jigsaw Puzzle Set
- 5. The Learning Journey 30-Piece Match It! Mathematics
- 6. Ravensburger 1000-Piece Kitchen Cupboard Jigsaw Puzzle
- 7. A Broader View 55-Piece Kids’ Puzzle of the USA
- 8. Melissa & Doug 24-Piece Under the Sea Jigsaw Puzzle
- 9. Cardinal 60-Piece Disney Frozen 4-Puzzle Pack
- 10. Melissa & Doug 45-Piece Deluxe Wooden USA Map Puzzle
- 11. EuroGraphics 100-Piece The Solar System Jigsaw Puzzle
- 12. SainSmart Jr. 40-Piece CB-23 Wooden Tangram Jigsaw Tetris Puzzle Toy
- 13. Melissa & Doug 24-Piece Construction Jigsaw
- 14. Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Shark Jigsaw Puzzle
- 15. Ravensburger 24-Piece Thomas & Friends Floor Puzzle
- The Criteria We Followed in Choosing the Best Jigsaw Puzzles
- Child Development in Relation to Jigsaw Puzzles
1. White Mountain 1000-Piece Candy Wrappers Jigsaw Puzzle
Suitable for: 12 years old and up
Pre-teens, teenagers and parents alike will find the Candy Wrappers puzzle a very challenging one, mainly because there are a thousand pieces. Just imagine the task of finding the border pieces first in the 24×30-inch puzzle before proceeding to the middle pieces.
Designed by Charlie Gerard, an artist known for his contemporary pieces, the puzzle depicts the popular candies of your childhood in their full glory. You should be able to tell your kids about your enjoyment of the candies depicted – what they tasted like, how much they cost, and what you did just to be able to buy them. You can also just let the kids have a go at the puzzle without giving them a history lesson.
What's Great About It: We like that there’s a certain sense of nostalgia involved in its theme. Kids like to hear about their parents’ childhood years, too, especially when it involves their food adventures. Parents will do well to tell them about these things, too, without the preachy attitude – just exchanging of stories as a way to spend time together.
2. Melissa & Doug 12-Piece Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles in a Box – Vehicles
Suitable for: 3 to 6 years old
Preschoolers will appreciate the colorful images of the 4-panel puzzle set, namely, a school bus, a race car, a fire engine, and a steam engine. These are also familiar vehicles, thanks to educational television shows, so their interest will be piqued.
There are actually four basic puzzles in the set while each puzzle has its own compartment in the wooden box. Each of the puzzle has 12 pieces so there are 48 pieces in total for the set. This is a manageable number for children aged 3 to 6 years old, thus, encouraging them to actually complete the set.
What's Great About It: We like it that the puzzle depicts familiar things that toddlers and preschoolers will immediately recognize. The 12-piece puzzle is also easy for them to complete, thus, giving them a sense of accomplishment in their capacities. When played with others, your kid will also develop his language skills and fine motor skills.
3. White Mountain 1000-Piece The Games We Played Jigsaw Puzzle
Suitable for: 12 years old and up
With teens engrossed in videogames, the opportunity to become engaged in a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle will be welcome. This puzzle isn’t just any puzzle, however, as it depicts the games that our generation played, such as hopscotch, which kids today may be unfamiliar with. The 24×30-inch masterpiece is then a great way to spend quality time together, aside from providing a storytelling opportunity.
Designed by Lois B. Sutton, you will like the attention to detail in the puzzle, especially since it evokes feelings of nostalgia. You and your kids should have a great time assembling the pieces and, once completed, in admiring your work.
What's Great About It: We like that the puzzle depicts a wide range of games popular from the 19th century to the 20th century, such as board games. You can treat it as a learning experience for your kids in the sense that you can give a little historical background about the games. You can even tell them about your own experiences with the game.
4. Ceaco 500-Piece Thomas Kinkade Disney Dreams Collection 4-in-1 Jigsaw Puzzle Set
Suitable for: 5 to 15 years old
Disney characters are among the most popular themes in jigsaw puzzles because kids and adults love them. This 2,000-piece 4-in-1 puzzle set is then a great gift for kids and teens because it depicts four popular Disney characters/scenes. These are Winnie the Pooh, Fantasia, Tangled, and Lady and the Tramp. The mix of classic (e.g., Fantasia) and contemporary cartoon (e.g., Tangled starring Rapunzel) characters is a selling point.
Designed by Thomas Kincade, the images in the four panels appear to come alive, thanks to their vibrant colors, fine details, and realistic expressions. Each puzzle panel measures 14×18 inches and consists of 500 pieces, the perfect size for displaying and the perfect number for older kids. When assembled, you can have the panels framed and displayed as wall décor in their bedroom.
What's Great About It: We like that it depicts many of the most beloved Disney characters including Winnie the Pooh, Rapunzel, and Lady, each one of which has adventures of their own. You and your kids can tell stories about their own adventures while completing the panels, too.
5. The Learning Journey 30-Piece Match It! Mathematics
Suitable for: 3 years old and up
Learning basic math starting with counting the numbers can be fun for toddlers. The trick is in letting them learn through fun ways – and this 30-piece puzzle can do the trick. As your child completes the puzzle, he is also learning his numbers including counting, addition and subtraction.
The puzzle has 30 card pieces in total – 10 pieces for counting numbers, 10 for addition, and 10 for subtraction. There are also two interlocking units. Each piece can only be connected with a specific piece, which adds to the challenge of completing the puzzle.
What's Great About It: We like that the puzzle addresses several developmental needs particularly learning the numbers and their operations, as well as fine motor skills and cognitive function. The colorful theme is icing on the cake.
6. Ravensburger 1000-Piece Kitchen Cupboard Jigsaw Puzzle
Suitable for: 12 to 15 years old
Yet another 1,000-piece puzzle is the Kitchen Cupboard set, which depicts the contents of a kitchen cupboard in a slight disarray. This is a more challenging puzzle than the other 1,000-piece puzzles here because of the smaller pieces, even if the panel is smaller (i.e., 27×20 inches). Plus, the non-organized way that the kitchen cupboard items is presented demands a keener eye for detail from the teens and adults.
We suggest older kids getting their hands on this puzzle instead of the younger ones. The level of concentration needed will likely be beyond the latter’s capacity.
What's Great About It: We like the fact that it has a thousand pieces, a challenging task to complete even for experienced adults. You will like that the image depicts everyday objects, too.
7. A Broader View 55-Piece Kids’ Puzzle of the USA
Suitable for: 4 years old and up
Americans take great pride in their country but not everybody can actually name the states when presented with a blank map of the United States and its territories. This 55-piece puzzle of the country can contribute to addressing the educational deficiency, as well as let the kids enjoy completing it.
Instead of the map being made up of a hundred or so pieces, each state comprise the pieces. But there’s a twist – each piece already contains the state’s landmarks, state capital, and state symbols (e.g., flower, bird, and tree). Your child will then be able to learn the country’s geography at a glance.
What's Great About It: We like that it can actually be used in a classroom setting for teaching students from preschoolers to middle-grade school pupils. The kids learn their lessons including the things that separate each state from the rest. The completed puzzle can itself be a handy reference point when placed on the wall.
8. Melissa & Doug 24-Piece Under the Sea Jigsaw Puzzle
Suitable for: 3 to 5 years old
The undersea world appeals to the younger kids because it has fascinating creatures, not to mention that their fascination has been reinforced by movies. Finding Nemo and Finding Dory comes to mind here.
If your child is a fan of these movies, then he will love this Under the Sea puzzle. When completed, the 24-piece puzzle depicts a gray shark, a red crab, an orange octopus, a blue whale, a violet sea anemone, a brown starfish, a pink jellyfish, and a yellow seahorse, among other marine creatures. The pieces are also relatively large so that even the younger kids will find it easy to know which pieces go together.
What's Great About It: We like that the pieces are made from durable wood, as against the cardboard pieces in most puzzles here. Even the wooden tray for the pieces has a double purpose – you can make it into a mounting board for framing the completed puzzle.
9. Cardinal 60-Piece Disney Frozen 4-Puzzle Pack
Suitable for: 4 to 15 years old
Frozen is certainly still a hot commodity among children from toddlers to pre-teens! With this 240-piece puzzle set, you can let your daughter relive her days as a Frozen fan, as well as develop her attention to detail.
There are actually four panels in the puzzle set. Each panel depicts a different scene in the Frozen milieu, such as a panel with all four major characters, Princess Elsa, Princess Anna, Olaf, and Kristof. Each panel also has 60 pieces and measures 11×15 inches.
What's Great About It: We like the Frozen theme as presented in four different scenes. Your child will like that each panel has a manageable number of pieces but once all four panels are completed, the scenes blend well. You may even want to frame the completed puzzle to display in her bedroom.
10. Melissa & Doug 45-Piece Deluxe Wooden USA Map Puzzle
Suitable for: 5 to 10 years old
Yet another map-and-puzzle combo is the 45-piece wooden puzzle from Melissa & Doug, a known maker of educational materials. Think of it as more enjoyable approach in teaching elementary school students about the states in the United States.
Each piece in the 45-piece puzzle is made from durable wood, as is the case for the game board. Every piece also represents a state and comes with interesting trivia about it, such as its state bird, flag, and motto, among others. This is a great way to introduce the states to young kids without the pressure of memorizing the information.
What's Great About It: We commend the makers for actually making it fun for kids to learn U.S. geography while also developing their cognitive skills. You can also use it for other non-educational purposes, such as letting your kids know about your planned destination for a road trip or for relocation. Besides, you can use it to reinforce their sense of pride about the nation.
11. EuroGraphics 100-Piece The Solar System Jigsaw Puzzle
Suitable for: 6 to 15 years old
The solar system is just as fascinating for kids as the underwater world and make-believe world of Disney. This 100-piece puzzle depicting the sun and the planets around it is then a great gift, especially for kids with interest in outer space.
You, as the parent, will love the fine workmanship that was obviously poured into the puzzle. The pieces, which are made of high-quality blueboard, fit perfectly into each other while the ink used are kid-friendly (i.e., 100% vegetable-based dyes). The 13×19-inch puzzle is as colorful as the solar system, too.
What's Great About It: We recommend this solar system-inspired puzzle as a teaching tool for students. Your child will be able to learn the planets and their order around the sun, even about their distinctive characteristics. You will be surprised that he has learned many things about the solar system on his own, perhaps by adding Google to the mix.
12. SainSmart Jr. 40-Piece CB-23 Wooden Tangram Jigsaw Tetris Puzzle Toy
Suitable for: 3 to 10 years old
The Tetris game was among the most popular games in the handheld game consoles in the 1990s. But since it isn’t widely available now, if at all, it feels good to know that you can introduce it to your kids via this 40-piece puzzle.
This is a unique puzzle in the sense that the player has more control over where the different “blocks” can be positioned inside the frame. Just be sure that there are neither extra blocks nor empty spaces on the frame and you’re successful with it. Once assembled, the puzzle really evokes the look and feel of the Tetris game, even the screen.
What's Great About It: We like that it actually encourages kids to exercise their problem-solving skills and creativity since there’s no template. Plus, the blocks and the frame are made from 100% natural maple while the paints and dyes are definitely kid-friendly.
13. Melissa & Doug 24-Piece Construction Jigsaw
Suitable for: 3 to 5 years old
Puzzles are also about building albeit not with wood and nail but with pieces and frame. This 24-piece construction jigsaw puzzle is a great way to build your child’s fine motor skills, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills, too.
Due to the popularity of construction-oriented kids’ shows, such as Bob the Builder, even toddlers are familiar with the heavy equipment depicted on it. These are an excavator, dump truck and pay loader, among others. Each of the pieces fit well into the others so there are no misaligned pieces and fraying edges from regular use. Every piece is also made from premium-grade wood, as is the wooden tray.
What's Great About It: We recommend this puzzle for toddlers, even preschoolers, since it helps in their language development, cognitive function, and social interaction. The colorful images are a definite plus, too.
14. Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Shark Jigsaw Puzzle
Suitable for: 6 to 12 years
Fearsome and fearless. These are the words most often used to describe the great white shark, the alpha predator of the seas. While people should avoid swimming in shark-infested waters, kids can still be exposed to them in a safe way – and a puzzle is a great way to do so.
The great white shark is the star of the show in this puzzle. You can use it for teaching kids about the marine animal’s appearance, habits, and habitat, as well as point out the animals that live with it. On the puzzle, these include small reef fishes in various colors.
What's Great About It: We like the bright colors and vivid details on the puzzle such that the underwater scene feel so real. You can frame the completed puzzle, too, as part of a nautical-inspired bedroom.
15. Ravensburger 24-Piece Thomas & Friends Floor Puzzle
Suitable for: 3 to 6 years old
Thomas the Tank Engine is such a popular character that it has dozens of toys with its image. This large 36×24-inch puzzle is one of the best because of its durable construction and engaging theme.
Since the puzzle pieces are large, your toddler should have an easy time completing the puzzle. The super-thick cardboard coupled with the glossy finish make it a striking puzzle, too.
What's Great About It: We read that parents loved the large and thick puzzle pieces that allowed their toddlers to put the pieces together. Still, the image provides toddlers with a certain level of difficulty to complete.
The Criteria We Followed in Choosing the Best Jigsaw Puzzles
Choosing the best jigsaw puzzles can be puzzling activity, pun intended, as well. We encountered hundreds of thousands of choices in online shops! We must then make a shortlist of the jigsaw puzzles that we considered as the best for kids according to their age, possible interests, and popular choices. We also considered the consumer reviews from parents since these provide a clue into the pulse of target consumers, so to speak.
We used the following criteria in choosing the best jigsaw puzzles.
These puzzles were chosen because of their appeal for a wide age range, such as from 5 to 15 years. Even the adults in the family will have a fun time completing the puzzles alongside their children. We chose themes that kids can actually relate to, such as Disney characters.
Size and number of the pieces
These puzzles must have a manageable number of pieces depending on the age range. The simplest has 30 pieces while the most complex has 2,000 pieces! We chose puzzles that can appeal to as many children as possible, such as the 100-piece great white shark puzzle.
Type of material
These puzzles are made of durable materials, such as thick cardboard, blueboard, and wood, for the pieces, tray and frame. We wanted to ensure that the pieces can withstand repeated handling by kids and adults alike.
Of course, we chose only the family-friendly puzzles since we anticipate that these will be enjoyed by kids and adults.
Child Development in Relation to Jigsaw Puzzles
Did you know that assembling jigsaw puzzles engages both hemispheres of the brain? The right lobe is the emotional side and, thus, it’s more intuitive and creative. The left lobe is the logical side so it works in a linear manner.
When your child is working on a jigsaw puzzle, he’s actually harnessing the capacity of both lobes of the brain for many reasons. First, he must exercise his virtues of patience and perseverance in putting the pieces together lest he becomes frustrated with it. He learns that, indeed, there are several ways to deal with a problem and the trick is in finding the best way – and it’s a valuable life lesson, too.
Second, he has to use logic in deciding which puzzle piece fit in what part of the entire puzzle. He learns that logical reasoning is often the best way to deal with problems, even in solving a puzzle. His capacity for logical reasoning can be honed each time he completes yet another puzzle.
In general, the psychological benefits of completing jig saw puzzles include:
- Enhance problem-solving skills. A player must recognize the patterns, colors and shapes of the pieces followed by making decisions about their position on the board.
- Improve the capacity for self-evaluation. A child learns to assess and reassess his choices in picking up and placing the pieces on the board. By constant reassessment of choices made, a child learns patience and perseverance, too.
- Increase overall perspective of situations. A child learns that, oftentimes, the bigger picture is the more important thing in looking at the pieces, a valuable lesson about life itself.
Of course, jigsaw puzzles enhances learning capability on the physical, mental and emotional sides. No wonder then that these are still popular even in the age of videogames.
The best jigsaw puzzles appeal to both the kids and the kids-at-heart. You are making a wise investment in the education and entertainment of the entire family when you buy these products.