Best Wooden Puzzles for Kids and Toddlers in 2017

No matter how advanced our technology gets, wooden toys will still be among the best playthings for children. They’ve been the choice of toys for our ancestors and they will still be the toys of future generations to come. It’s just a fact that they will never go out of style. They may look different now, what with their minimalist styling and understated elegance, but they’re still the same basic toys little kids can spend hours playing with.

If you’re thinking of getting a few wooden puzzles for kids, listed below are some of our picks.

1. Melissa & Doug Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles in a Box – Vehicles

Ideal for: Ages 3 to 5

If your little one can’t get enough of the different vehicles they see on a daily basis, being able to play with them will usher in hours of fun and enjoyment. Melissa & Doug’s Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles in a Box in the Vehicles edition is a good choice for puzzle playtime as it offers four different sets to work with. Your kid can complete photos of a fire engine, a school bus, a race car, and a steam engine with this pack.

What We Like about This Product: Jigsaw puzzles with colorful designs are some of the best offerings for kids. They can engage your child through their vivid colors and get their minds working while trying to complete the illustrations. We love that the designs are very nice so you can also have it framed to hang in your little one’s room!

2. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Mix ‘n Match Peg Puzzle 3 Pack Bundle

Ideal for: Ages 2 to 4

Peg puzzles are great for smaller kids who may still have a hard time putting a jigsaw puzzle together. With these, they only have to match the shape of the cut out with a puzzle piece, helping refine their problem-solving skills spatial intelligence. The pegs help with handling, promoting fine motor skills and dexterity.

What We Like about This Product: Composed of three boards that depict photos of animals and vehicles, your child will need to match the shape and design of each cutout with a pegged piece. It is designed to teach them about different animals and vehicles while training their different developmental skills. I also love that they can mix and match the pieces to encourage some imagination.

3. Melissa & Doug Shapes Peg Puzzle

Ideal for: Ages 2 to 4

Teaching kids basic shapes and colors are best done through simple toys that they can play with over and over again. This is exactly what Melissa & Doug’s Shapes Peg Puzzle is. It’s a board with cutouts that match the different shapes of the pegged pieces. Your child will find shape-matching thrilling and challenging while learning different colors and even the spelling of the shapes’ names.

What We Like about This Product: Each pegged puzzle piece is in a different color so it boosts the learning your little one can enjoy. Working with the pegged pieces are also great for refining their fine motor skills.

​4. Hape Alphabet Wooden Stand Up Puzzle

Ideal for: Ages 3 to 5

You’ll find a wide array of alphabet toys for toddlers nowadays but nothing beats a tactile set that will not only let them see the actual letters, but feel them as well. This is what the Hape Alphabet Wooden Stand Up Puzzle offers as it is a set of individual wooden letters with a cutout board wherein your little one can match the letters with the blank slots.

What We Like about Its Product: Combining puzzle and sensory play, this toy offers a very tactile approach to learning the alphabet. With 26 different wooden pieces shaped after each letter of the alphabet in different colors, it will help your child learn about letters, their shapes, and colors. Small kids will also have a blast trying to figure out which letter goes to which slot, which is great for their problem-solving and motor skills as well as spatial intelligence.

What I love the most about these products is that they’re nicely sized and won’t have a hard time standing up. They can also double duty as the cutest props for your little one’s social media entries.

​5. BeginAgain Animal Parade A-Z Puzzle

Ideal for: Ages 4 to 10

This is another alphabet puzzle toy set that will really help you target your child’s different competences in one product. At first glance, they’re just a set of small wooden animal figures, but once you really look at it, this 26-piece set is actually so much more than just that.

What We Like about This Product: I love the very concept behind this product, not only because it can entertain your kids with a barrage of cute animal figures but also because each piece has a letter of the alphabet to it. They also fit together in a very creative puzzle, making the set perfect for some challenging puzzle play as well. The best part about it is you can turn it into an amusing decorative piece as well once your child outgrows it.

​6. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden 48-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Ideal for: Ages 4 to 5

For a more challenging jigsaw puzzle, this Melissa & Doug set can be a good choice. Composed of 48 puzzle pieces, it will get a school aged child engaged and entertained. If they love pirates, this will even be a more exciting toy for them to play with.

What We Like about This Product: Jigsaw puzzles are most fun when they pose a challenge. This is why by the time your child turns four, they’ll already be bored with peg puzzles. This set is a nice introduction to more serious ones as its design is more complicated and detailed than ones meant for younger users.

7. Melissa & Doug See & Spell

Ideal for: Ages 4 and Above

Teaching a young child to read and spell can be one of the biggest challenges for parents, so why not use play to make it easier? Melissa & Doug’s See & Spell can be of help as it’s shape-matching puzzles will teach your child about letters, spelling, and names of different animals objects.

What We Like about This Product: Composed of a set of 50 wooden letters and 8 two-sided cutout boards, the challenge here is for your little one to complete the tree and four-letter words that are the names of the illustrated objects on each board. It will easily stimulate your child’s mind, especially if they’re just starting out to read and spell.

​8. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube

Ideal for: Ages 2 to 4

Shape sorting cubes are some of the most common and traditional toys available. Almost every child has used one and many have learned their shapes with its help. Melissa & Doug’s cube, however, is made of wood, making it an even more nostalgic pick for most parents.

What We Like about This Product: The first thing I like about this product is that the shape pieces are three-dimensional. This adds some sensory play to the toy aside from just offering a shape-matching challenge. Each shape comes in a different color, so they can be able to learn to recognize different colors as well.

​9. Melissa & Doug Tools Wooden Chunky Puzzle

Ideal for: Ages 2 to 4

Any parent who’s quite handy will love this Melissa & Doug product as it offers cute and safe representations of everyday work tools. It comes with a cutout board with identical drawings of what’s on the puzzle pieces, so kids can easily match them and complete the puzzle.

What We Like about This Product: Aside from fun shape-matching games, this set will also teach a few real-life skills to your little one. By creating kiddie versions of construction tools, you can introduce your child to how your house was built and the various practical uses of the puzzle’s pieces. They can also utilize the different pieces for their pretend play, making the very basic concept of wooden toys more versatile.

​10. Melissa & Doug Vehicles Chunky Wooden Puzzle

Ideal for: Ages 2 to 4

Toddlers may already be able to differentiate land vehicles from cars to buses and trucks, but wouldn’t it be nice to further expand their knowledge? This Melissa & Doug set can help out in this aspect as it features different water and air vehicles as well. Even if your child hasn’t seen one in person just yet, you’ll be amazed at how they’ll recognize it the moment that they do.

What We Like about This Product: Like other wooden puzzles in this list, this product also comes with a cutout board where each piece should go. This will give your child a nice feel and understanding of its shape and the basic concept behind each vehicle.

What’s even better is that each puzzle piece is chunky so they can also be used for pretend play. So with this product, you don’t just get a nice puzzle, but you can also help diversify your child’s toy figures collection.

​11. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden USA Map Puzzle

Ideal for: Ages 5 and Above

Geography can be pretty tricky to learn, so incorporating them into a puzzle game can be a nice way for your child to get to know the different states of the US. This Melissa & Doug USA Map Puzzle is a nice choice as each puzzle piece represents the different states (except for small New England ones). It may not exactly be a jigsaw puzzle, but it will still be very fun to piece together.

What We Like about This Product: This puzzle is really loaded with information. Each piece is shaped like each state and is labeled with their names. The cutout board that it comes with also indicates the different state shapes so your child won’t have to struggle putting the picture together. It also notes the state’s nicknames and other important information, so your little one can get to know more about their country.

12. Rolimate Wooden Educational Preschool Geometric Sorter

Ideal for: Ages 2 and Above

If you want your child to learn about shapes and colors in a unique manner, you should check out this Rolimate product. This shape sorter toy is unlike the others in the list as it doesn’t employ a cutout board to familiarize your child with different shapes. It uses pegs and holes on each piece instead to secure and differentiate each shape.

What We Like about This Product: This toy’s design is not just for puzzle play but involves some building play as well. This makes it an even more engaging and exciting toy for growing children.

​13. Melissa & Doug Dinosaur Chunky Puzzle

Ideal for: Ages 2 to 4

Further hone your child’s shape-matching abilities with this Melissa & Doug product. Featuring seven different chunky dinosaur pieces with a matching cutout board, this versatile toy will let your child play with dinosaurs in more ways than one.

What We Like about This Product: Aside from shape-sorting, the chunky dinosaur figures this set has can be played with separately. So if your little one doesn’t find the puzzle challenging, they can still use the pieces for some pretend play, extending the value and usability of the product.

​14. Hape Choo Choo Tracks

Ideal for: Ages 2 and Above

Want a mess-free puzzle toy that will really engage your child in play? Hape’s Choo Choo Tracks is an excellent choice. It makes use of magnets to move the balls around a maze, engaging children to concentrate on a single task of controlling the direction of the balls to get them to different areas of the puzzle.

What We Like about This Product: This magnetic track-tracing toy will challenge your little one in moving the balls from one spot to another without any pressure. It doesn’t really have an end goal so your child can explore the maze and call it a day. This toy will be great for their motor and problem motor skills, however.

​15. Melissa & Doug Self-Correcting Letter Puzzles

Ideal for: Ages 4 to 6

The name may be a bit confusing, but the only thing you need to know about this Melissa & Doug product is that it will teach your kid the alphabet with the help of wooden jigsaw pieces with the letters on them that they will need to attach to other jigsaw pieces with corresponding illustrations of objects or animals that start with the letter they match with. It’s called self-correcting because of the unique cuts on each piece, so your child won’t incorrectly match illustrations with non-corresponding letters.

What We Like about This Product: This toy can easily double as a teaching tool as it doesn’t just teach kids about the alphabet but it also challenges them to find the right object that has the same starting letter as the featured letter. We love the unique cuts on each piece, so there will only be one match for each letter. This can be great in helping your child learn about letters and their sounds as it adds a small challenge in every word association.

How We Chose the Best Wooden Puzzles for Your Children

With so many wooden puzzle toys in the market today, choosing the best ones is definitely a challenge. However, we made sure to look thoroughly at the available options so we can offer the finest products to you. To do this, we first made sure of their safety. Wooden toys are generally safe as they won’t break and expose your child to shards and sharp edges, but wood requires treatment before they can be handled by kids and their size is another issue, especially for really young children. We made sure each product won’t pose a risk to kids before anything else.

Quality, of course, is another important factor. We made sure each product is made of the best materials and finishes. We also considered how challenging each one is and how age-appropriate they all are.

Affordable price is also something we considered. A lot of wooden toys are very expensive due to the high material and creation costs. The ones in this list aren’t the cheapest toys in the market, but we can guarantee that they’re all reasonably priced.

We only want the best for our children, so we made sure to be very thorough in picking our best toys lists. This is why you can rest assured that you can rely on us to help you find the best toys for your little one.

Wooden Toys: Timeless Entertainment for Children

Despite the advent of robotic and digital toys, there’s no denying that wooden toys are also having a major comeback nowadays. You can find a set of wooden building blocks in every major toy store in the country and might even have a few specialty stores carrying different kinds of wooden toys in some areas. Some of them are even handmade by artisans and independent toymakers, adding nostalgia and a quaint charm to old-school toys that even our grandparents will be familiar with.

While there are now tons of different toys to choose from, there’s no denying that wooden toys will always be a wonderful option for parents to get for their children. These toys are timeless. They will charm the parents and lure them in with their simplicity and elegance.

This is a no-brainer, really. As the French literary theorist, philosopher, critic, linguist, and semiotician Roland Barthes eloquently puts it in one of his essays, plastic toys are made of “a graceless material.” They tend to get rid of “all the pleasure, the sweetness, the humanity of touch.” Wood, on the other hand, is a “familiar and poetic substance,” and doesn’t prevent the child from being in close contact with nature and his realities. He also goes on to explain that wooden toys do not easily break and they live with the child. As wood make essential objects, wooden toys can also be considered as such. And as every parent and development expert will know, they actually are some of the most important types of toys for a child to play with.

Why? For one, they’re excellent investments. As they won’t easily break, your child can actually play with them for a long time. As wooden toys are also often designed to be very simple, they will always be enjoyable for your child as they grow because how they play with these things actually depend on your little one’s imagination instead of the capabilities of the actual pieces. This will help foster their creativity, which is an important skill to develop in children nowadays.

While your child can outgrow some wooden toys, puzzle toys made of this natural material will always be brain stimulating and exciting. And if they don’t find them challenging anymore, they can always be saved for future generations to come. You can pass these toys down as heirlooms or put them up on display in one of your shelves at home.

Wooden toys are also excellent for your child’s development. They aren’t too distracting, so your child can focus on establishing a new world for their pretend play. Most of these products are also designed to represent real-life objects so playing with them can help your child manage their own miniature version of the world wherein they have better control of things. This allows them to handle their emotions better, release stress, practice some real-life skills, and even enhance their problem-solving abilities.

Your child’s motor, reasoning, and sensory skills will also be developed by wooden toys. These playthings demand to be felt, handled, and used in a plethora of ways so your little one will be encouraged to make use of their different faculties to make the most out of their playtime.

Aside from being traditional playthings that most parents will want their children to experience, you’ll also fall in love with so many of these wooden puzzle toys because of their vintage vibe and antiquated whimsy. There’s this quiet allure to these toys that both parents and children will enjoy. Shopping for these products can be as exciting to parents as its use will be for kids. It can even be a good foundation for developing your child’s style and preference in aesthetics.

Why Puzzles are Beneficial for Your Child’s Development

Wooden toys are great playthings for kids and there’s no doubt about that now. But with the element of puzzle play, their benefits are further boosted. This kind of play targets a child’s cognitive, physical, and emotional skills, helping create a well-rounded child.

Puzzles, especially those made with wood, are great for your little one’s physical development as it promotes hand-eye coordination as well as gross and fine motor skills. As playing with these toys will require their relocation from one spot to another, it will train their eyes and hands to work together to complete simple tasks. The handling of the pieces will also require precise and big movements, which can refine their dexterity and overall motor skills.

Playing with puzzles can also do wonders for your child’s cognitive skills. Understanding the challenge can help them become more aware of their surroundings. Putting the pieces together will train them to recognize and memorize different shapes. It will also train their spatial intelligence and problem-solving skills as they’ll need to project the shapes and angles in their mind to know if things will fit together or not.

As wooden puzzle pieces are also tactile, these toys will also demand them to focus and pay attention to what they’re doing. This will help teach your child to concentrate on the task at hand, which can definitely help them complete more tasks as they get older.

Emotionally, puzzles help in teaching your child a lot of patience. These games won’t solve themselves in a flash. They require a lot of thought as well as trial and error to be complete and those things take time. It will also teach your child to set goals, as completing a puzzle can be their primary aim when playing with such toys. And when they do get to answer the puzzle, their confidence will be boosted and make them more determined to face more challenges later on.

Conclusion

So don’t dismiss wooden puzzle toys as old-fashioned toys just yet. They offer a wide range of benefits for children, most of which are even difficult to replicate with other toys. Our picks for 15 of the best wooden puzzles for kids and toddlers should help make a case for these exciting and beneficial playthings, so make sure to check them out today.

    Sandra Cobain
     

    Mum of two. Child psychologist. Ardent admirer of art, crafts and cooking. She is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she's not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

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